Dunlop Roadsmart IV Tires 10,000-Mile Test

2016 BMW R 1200 RS R1200RS Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV tires

Darrell Penning rides a 2016 BMW R 1200 RS. He rides a lot and has tracked the mileage of the tires he’s used from the day the bike was new till now, nearly 120,000 miles later.

After two sets of Metzeler Roadtecs and three sets of Michelin Pilot Road 4s, Penning spooned on a set of Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IIIs when his odometer was at 36,946 miles. He ran seven sets of Roadsmart IIIs over the course of 70,054 miles, averaging 7,784 miles per set.

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2016 BMW R 1200 RS R1200RS Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV tires

With his odometer at 107,000 miles, Penning installed his first set of Roadsmart IV tires. He put 10,245 miles on that one set of tires, and the front still had some life left in it when he mounted a new set of Roadsmart IVs.

Here’s what Penning had to say about his experience:

“As many riders are, I was locked into my favorites. Things like motorcycle brand and style, accessories provider, apparel name and style, or favorite tire brand was planted solidly in my choices.

2016 BMW R 1200 RS R1200RS Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV tires

“In my first 46 years of riding over 700,000 miles on my favorite motorcycle brand wearing my favorite apparel I also had settled in on my favorite tire brand. I based my choice on price, availability, feedback from other riders and my experience with the tires. But I had closed my mind to a couple of brands as I had convinced myself they were only best for American-built bikes and the rubber compound was too hard.

“At a BMW motorcycle rally in 2017, I spent a bit of time with a Dunlop representative talking about tires. His asked if I had ever tried a Dunlop tire on my motorcycle and my immediate response was no, as they really did not have anything I felt would work on my sport-touring model. I was offered an opportunity to try a set of Roadsmart III tires with a discount voucher. I decided at my next tire change to give them a try not expecting much.

2016 BMW R 1200 RS R1200RS Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV tires

“Since 2017 on the same motorcycle I have used nine sets of the Roadsmart III, and I recently installed my second set of the new Roadsmart IV. As most riders experience, the first couple thousand miles on tires are a thrill to ride as the tire performance makes the bike a joy to ride. But after a few thousand miles the fun starts to decrease due to wear characteristics. With the Roadsmart III tires and now on the improved Roadsmart IV tires, I found the same performance lasting through the full life of the tire. The enjoyment of a motorcycle tire producing the same quality of ride at 10,000 miles as it did at 2,000 miles is something I have not experienced with other brands.”

Penning provided feedback during his 10,000-mile test:

2,070 miles

“Compared to the Roadsmart III, the Roadsmart IV tires (especially the front) seem more compliant (softer feel) to road surface imperfections such as expansion joints or cracks in the pavement. I sense the bike has a sharper turn in on corners but will comment on this further after I get some time in the Black Hills this week and the Colorado Rockies a few days from now. With the high temps and sun causing warm road surfaces, my initial reaction on tire wear is surprising considering the heat, speed and flatter roads I’ve been riding on.”

4,049 miles

“The RSIV tires continue to display a round profile with zero cupping on the front tire. Handling remains as it did the first 2,000 miles, so very positive. With the Roadsmart III, I would wear out the front tire before the rear and I am sensing that will not happen with the RSIV. The next 1,500-2,000 miles over eight to nine days will be spent in the Colorado Rockies so I’ll get a good feel of handling and wear on tighter curves.”

Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV Tire front 5200 miles
Condition of Penning’s Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV front tire at 5,200 miles.
Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV Tire rear 5200 miles
Condition of Penning’s Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV rear tire at 5,200 miles.

6,325 miles

“I remain totally surprised at the wear characteristics of the front tire. There is very minimal cupping developing with no effect on handling. The front tire has maintained a very round profile, which has allowed handling to be as it was when new. The rear tire has started to develop a slightly flatter center profile but not to the point it affects handling in the curves. Probably not unusual considering some the flatter roads I rode at speeds of 70-80 mph across the central U.S. plains.”

8,674 miles

“The bike continues to handle well with the tires in their current state of wear. The front tire shows minimal cupping. More on the left side then the right likely due to the crowning of the roads. The back tire has started to show some squaring off on the main traction edges likely due to the straighter roads in the Midwest.”  

10,245 miles

“The Roadsmart IV handles better, wears longer mileage-wise, has a softer road feel and stays in a corner better than the Roadsmart III. The longevity of the front tire is a pleasant feature. There are probably 2,000 miles left on the front tire, but the rear tire will need to be changed soon.”

Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV Tire front 10000 miles
Condition of Penning’s Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV front tire at 10,245 miles.
Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV Tire rear 10000 miles
Condition of Penning’s Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV rear tire at 10,245 miles.

For more information about Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV tires, visit

2016 BMW R 1200 RS R1200RS Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV tires


  1. At “over” $300 for a set——-!!!!! Although the Shinkos I run don’t last as long, the price and handling can’t be beat. Get your price down Dunlop and “maybe” I’ll try a set. OH and I do average 15,000 miles a year on my Ducati.

    • Which Shinkos do you run? What kind of riding do you do? Speeds? How many tires at each end do you run through in a year?

      I just got about 15,000 miles out of a set of Roadsmart 3s. They were pretty good for most of that.

  2. A nice report but I was also looking for insight into tire traction performance. Riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway, rain is a frequent phenomena in spring and summer. So if one is expected to hit the twisties when there is a little precipitation, then wet traction becomes important.
    ST-1300 rider.

    • I have ridden the roadsmart 4’s in the rain in a torrential downpour on my sportbike very light. Usually light bikes with heavy rain is a recipe for disaster but this time was different. 45 minutes at highway speeds 80 -90 not one issue with handling at all. Had to do 1 aggressive maneuver big suv almost hit me didn’t see me in the conditions I believe. I had to turn quickly and accelerate moving to the edge of the road by the outer line. Not 1 slip. And the entire ride my traction control light neve came on. For reference I was on 23 yamaha R1. I also will be putting a set on my other bikes as well if your want to follow up later. Kawasaki h2 sx se , zx14r, zx10RR and concours 14.

  3. He would like the tires even more if he ever leaned over with them. I ran the Dunlop Roadsmart 3’s on my 1600GT and they were the stickiest tires I ever had on that bike. Wet or dry. Jesse if the Roadsmart 4 is as good as the Roadsmart3 you would be very happy with them on your ST-1300.

  4. A helpful review, Darrell. Thank you for the time and effort to write it.
    I went through 2 sets of Roadsmart 3s, 2 x Pirelli Angel GTs, 2 sets of Michelin Pilot 4’s, 2 sets of Pilot 5s, and I set of Metzeler Roadtechs in the last 20 months.. All were showing threads at 6,000 miles with exception of the Metzler’s which were done at 5,000 miles. I liked the Michelin Pilot 4s best. The biggest disappointment was the Michelin Pilot 5s. I suppose it all comes down to what, how, and where you ride. Happy trails, and stay free.

    • This is Road 5. Try to find “pilot” on new Road 5. Why everyone say pilot 5 while tire like pilot 5 does not exist. There will be no more new pilot. Only Road and power.

  5. Interested in knowing if, and if so, how were tires balanced? : Static of bike, on bike, spun balanced on or off, Beads – if so what brand . etc. Was balanced checked on occasion? Read the article on the Rider Magazine web site. Thanks Jerry Horn Waterford NY

  6. Thanks Darrell, great information.

    I started using Dunlop Roadsmart tires about ten years ago, before the needed a number at the end of the tire model name. And my experience was as mentioned above: 7000 miles and very sticky, great performance. As a matter of fact I switched from Dunlop Q3’s to Roadsmart on a Kawasaki ZX-14 I had because the cornering performance seemed about the same.

    I feel like Darrell’s comments at the beginning of the article: I am stuck on Dunlop Roadsmart’s

  7. I have never seen a motorcycle tire cup. Look up the definition, don’t rely on uneducated folklore. Cupping occurs on one or a few places on the tire irrespective of tread pattern. Caused by loose bearings or suspension, or bad shocks, made worse by poor balance.

    Scalloping is a form of feathering. Repeats with the tread pattern all the way around the tire. Have seen very few street motorcycle tires *not* scallop. A rounded motorcycle tire pretty much has to scallop because it is larger in diameter through the axle in the center than to either side. When the large diameter center and smaller diameter side tread are both in contact with the road at the same time one or both must scrub. Tread blocks flex under such loads resulting in uneven wear on the edges. The 5200 mile front picture clearly shows wear repeating its the tread pattern. Tire design can minimize but not eliminate. A motorcycle tire must scrub when turning.

    Other than noise, I have not experienced any problem I can attribute to scalloping. Have had plenty of front tires which were not a joy to ride their last 25%. Scalloped long before.

    Roadsmart III fronts only lasted 7800 miles for me. Same as Bridgestone T30 Evo GT. PR4GT 8700 miles, T31GT 9500 miles and rode sweet to the end.

    Not a fan of the RS3 for steering way too light as if overinflated 10 PSI. But a tire I can ride if the price is right.

    • How on earth did you get 9500 miles from a Bridgestone T31 front tire? The T31 fronts wear out faster than the rears. I got 4100 miles on my FZ1.

      • Hello I have a 2014 FZ 1 needing new tires… I have Pilot Road 4 GT which have last aprox 8000 miles (front might have another 1000 miles left) I really dont know what to choose and did not like the PR 4 GT that much…

        • Hi Richard, try the “non-GT” versions of these sport touring tires for your next set. Your FZ-1 is pretty light, the GT tires are usually meant for the bigger, heavier bikes with heavier, stiffer casings.

      • Bang on with mine. I ride conservatively due to needing to hang on to my license. Bike is a kawasaki, so little heavier than most but similar to this Beemer.

      • I said T31GT not T31. Since previously posting I only got 4600 miles on T30 Evo not-GT fronts. T30 Evo GT went 8000 miles. So while GT doesn’t seem matter to tire life with Michelin it seems to matter to Bridgestone T3x tires. Have a T32GT mounted now.

    • Front tire cupping with BMW’s that have the telelever front suspension used to be common. Not as much anymore due to tires getting better and many are inflating at the two up with luggage psi rating which helps too.

  8. My rubber of choice are the Michelin Pilot 5’s for my VFR and Michelin Anakee 3’s for my off pavement bike, and both my cars sport Michelin products. Thing is, I have no idea how I gravitated to be a Michelin guy – I have zero product loyalty. That said, my BMW RT used to shred through a lot of tires regardless of manufacturer; cupped front being the most problematic, but lopsided wear in the rear too. And yes, everything was checked for alignment. The bottom line for me is that compared to when I started riding more than 50 years ago, all tires are magic – for me, it’s hard to find a brand that doesn’t have something to offer. Good times!

  9. I have been using Dunlop Roadsmart III for years and already had 3 sets on my Yamaha FZ-1 and Suzuki Bandit 1250. Mileage has been about 8800 on FZ-01 and 10,200 on Bandit 1250.
    I just put a set of Roadsmart IV on the FZ-01. Handles better and maybe longer tread life.
    I lead a Meetupo group and only ride 16000-18,000 miles yearly and club did 188 Accident Free Rides since Sep.2016.

  10. Those cupping issues are usually lots of miles of just not having the pressure correct for your load and the specific tire. And then you have to check it regularly. As the carcass starts to break down it may need more air than when they were new to hold the contact patch, which keeps the feel the same (when I hear “they were great for 2000 miles” that’s a dead giveaway). The triangular shaped cups on the rear are your rebound settings being not quite right. I’m no suspension whisperer like Dave Moss, but I have been able to reduce those types of issues and extend my tire life by better dialing in my settings and then keeping on top of them as the weather changes and as the tire wears.

  11. The tyre pics at 5,200 miles look different to the tyres in 10,245 mile pics based on the chicken strips and the tyre whiskers.
    Definitely not a get it over to the edges type of rider.

  12. Thanks for the detailed review! I used numerous sets on my FJR thru 130k miles then on K1600GT with similar praise. Current Bridgestones ar edge net for the money but RS IV’s will be next! BTW, beautiful bike!

  13. DP,
    Nice to see a ride report on tires that have been ridden in the real world!
    I happen to have the exact bike, (with way less miles). I have just retired last year, burned through a set of Michelin Road-5 in 6K. Not very happy about it!
    On a move to get more mileage without loosing handling I have already installed the RSIV on my bike.
    I have run Dunlop Q3 sport tires that have shown less wear than the Road-5 tire, so I took a leap of faith back in December.
    The question that remains unanswered is concerning tire air pressure. Some people never check, some monthly, weekly, daily. Please share what practice you adhere to.



    • I check tire pressures every single day if the temperatures are fluctuating. Summer with consist temps probably once a week.
      That’s weird, the PR5 should easily outlast a Q3 sport tire.

  14. I run the Dunlap E4’s on my gold wing and love them, I get the max mileage or more out of them. Love the feel and the traction is great even at the max mileage.

  15. I have the same bike as you Darrell.
    I to wear out the front tire 2 to 1 over the rear, never had a bike do that ever.
    Dunlop roadsmart 2’s, front gone in 4k miles and the rear might make it to 6k?
    I check my tire pressures before every ride religiously.

  16. Back again, first commented back in March off this year.
    Well I didn’t get 10K out of the tire, but went over 9K with ease. I wish I could post a picture of the side by side wear of the Mich/Dun.
    The last 2,700 miles of the tires life was 2up. I have to say that the tires looked bad by the end, but if you needed to, you could still ride them!
    My wife and I rode up to Whitefish, MT. from Durango , CO. A lot of mountain corners, 80mph+ stretch going through Utah. Never had a concern with the quality of the ride or control.
    As opposed to the Michelin Road-5’s, the Dunlop’s wore evenly between the front and rear.
    I just mounted up my 2nd set and ready to continue my riding season.

  17. My concern with the RS3 wasn’t mileage, it was grip. Or to be more accurate lack of grip. When gassing out of 2nd or 3rd gear corners at a moderate lean angle, the RS3 would consistently slip, and my traction control light would go on. This didn’t happen with Metzeler Z8, Angel GT, or the Conti Road Attack 3 (all of which I would choose over the RS3).

    This is a nice review about tire wear, but not grip. The edges of the tires look to be unused in the photos. I suspect the author isn’t the type of rider that carries lots of corner speed, which is the ultimate test for a sport touring tire.

    After a bad experience with RS2, I am not likely to try the RS4 unless it proves to have much more grip at full lean.

    By the way, I have the almost identical bike as the author (minus the fairing). And I get just a little over half the miles out of the same tires.

    • X22 Sounds like you may have the same bike as me or one with just as much torque: Ducati Multistrada 1200.

      On this bike the RS3 rear wears out way quicker as I’m really throttle-happy. I’m not super fast in the corners. I enjoy (almost) scraping pegs, but not pushing too hard when I do, so the front usually has 25% more tread when the rear is done.

      My riding is nearly 100% carving local forest roads and the RS3 have been great but only last about 3000 miles. I went through several sets of Dunlop Q3 and they were fantastic but I could barely get 2000 miles out of them before the rear was in cords (had a slip when I was surprised by water going across the road so switched to RS3 and have been very happy though the traction control kicks in more than with the Q3).

      If you buy the tires and get them changed by Dunlop Pro dealer you get $60 back rebate so I that helps.

      Trying to decide if the RS4 is worth the extra cash, about $170 delta from a set of RS3, just checking on Cycle Gear website.

    • I too did not like the RS2. Out of need, I had to mount an RS3 tire many years later after swearing not to use RS2’s. The RS3 worked WAY better than then the RS2. So if the RS4 is better than the RS3, I may try those. But I will say I did get 10,000 miles out of the RS2 on my Bandit 1250 and so far on my C14 I am about 5000 miles on a RS3 with very little wear. I lean alot and carry heavy loads. The RS3 replaced Shinko Verge II’s on he C14. The Shinko lasted about 4000 miles rear, but man do they grip. I went to Shinko Verge II’s on my Bandit and it was night and day difference on the bike. They don’t last as long, but grip is astounding wet and dry. Lean in is fast and holds steady. On the C14 I had Road 5’s. They worked good. After two sets went to the Shinko’s. For around town they are great. But after a 5000 mile trip, I had to replace them before I made my way home (C14 with Shinko Verge II’s) and thats when I went to a RS3 as a available last minute need. I am happy with them. No where near the grip of the Shinko’s. But if they last twice as long, I can modify my riding to work with them. So you might want to look at the RS4’s.

    • X22. Have A friend with a 20 ducati multistrada and a friend with a 22 bmw s1000RR and we hit 55° lean angle regularly on our rides in the mountains. And we are Very aggressive in our riding on our rides. The tires don’t slip. I run them on my 23 Yamaha R1 and like I said they don’t slip. Max Lean angle according to the bmw info was 58°. We rode in the rain and I followed them I wouldn’t have believed a tire could be that aggressive in the rain if I didn’t see it for myself. Unbelievable braking corner entry speed and lean angles in the rain in the mountains with no guard rail most of the time. I did a lot of praying as I followed behind them. Traction light never came on nor did my abs kick in. I was sold on them after the first weekend that we rode in heavy rains.

  18. Update:
    (btw, typo in my message above, comments were about the RS3 not the RS2)

    I had a chance to put about 400 miles of hard cornering on a RS4 rear tire. The RS4 definitely has more grip than the RS3 along with quicker handling.

    I could easily get the RS3 to spin and slide when gassing out of 2nd and 3rd gear corners. Not the case with the RS4. With same rider/motorcycle/roads…the RS4 puts more grip to the ground and will drive harder out of corners without slipping or TC engaging.

    I was very disappointed with the dry grip on the RS3. The RS4 is much better for aggressive sport riding.

  19. I ride a gen 5 VFR and have run several sets of RoadSmart tires (II and III’s) and have been very pleased. Front always wore out before the rear but I was always pleased with the wear, handling and traction. They were also consistent through their life.
    This last go around I tried a set of Michelin Pilot 2CT’s. I have not been putting on the miles I used to and thought a more sport oriented tire might be nice. The 2CT’s were too twitchy and made my bike fall in never feeling settled. I decreased the tire pressure on the front and dropped the forks as low as I could go which helped but Im taking them off and going back to the Dunlops. Going to try the RSmart IV this time.

  20. You best not ride roads with corners. Oh wait, that’s why we ride. After multiple sets of RoadSmart 3s I bought a set of 4s for my Honda ST1300. The hype about mileage gains is just that, hype. I am very disappointed in how quickly they are wearing, quicker in my mind that the 3s I’ve run. I don’t think my front tire will make it past 5,000 miles. When I pay the price premium for the 4s over the 3s I was really expecting mileage improvement. It looks like the mileage of the 4s will be less. I am disappointed in the lack of improved mileage.


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