Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV Tires | Gear Review

The Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV sport-touring motorcycle tire. Front shown.

“Twisty roads are life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.” Steve McQueen mighta said that, so I just went ahead and wrote it down for him. Kidding aside, my personal preferences run heavily toward sport riding, which begs this key question: Why spend thousands on your bike only to hamstring its performance by scrimping pennies on tires? Dumb, no?

Fortunately, dedicated sport-touring tires now abound and manufacturers keep expanding the performance envelope. Witness Dunlop’s all-new Sportmax Roadsmart (RS) IV, a tire it claims delivers best-in-class handling, grip and mileage with its MT Multi-Tread construction. Sounds too good to be true, but a leap forward from the RS III results from a completely new tread pattern, construction, compounds, profile and other improvements. Specifically, Dunlop claims the RS IV achieves 23% more mileage in the front and 26% more in the rear compared to the already-excellent RS III, which remains on sale to offer more choices to riders. That’s a huge jump.

The Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV sport-touring motorcycle tire. Rear shown.

Dunlop used in-house and independent testing on multiple bikes under controlled track conditions plus public road usage, and also charted out resulting improvements in dry pavement performance and wet-weather performance, which it shows in detail at Dunlop Motorcycle Tires. In the Gear section, we published a first-hand account with photos by avid motorcyclist Darrell Penning, who logged more than 10,000 miles on a set of RS IVs on his 2016 BMW R 1200 RS — after he got an average of nearly 7,800 miles out of nine consecutive sets of RS IIIs. (His odometer was up to 107,000 by the time he tried out the IVs.)

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A fresh set of RS IVs were mounted on my personal bike/test mule, a Honda 919. I like the sporting bent of this 100-horsepower standard and its tire history has proved quite instructive. Prior to the RS IVs, I ran a set of Dunlop Q3s, dedicated sport rubber suitable for track days. The Q3s helped my 919 really come alive, especially on corner entry. RS IIIs have the same profile as Q3s, so imagine how shocked I was to learn Dunlop claims the RS IVs deliver 15% lighter steering upon turn-in and more linear response. I’m not sure how they came up with that 15% figure, but to my happy surprise RS IVs did indeed bestow even lighter and more nimble turn-in than the Q3s they replaced! That’s a big benefit I’ll enjoy, and certainly over more miles. At $181.08 for a 120-17 front and $240.69 for a 180-17 rear, MSRP for the RS IVs is $124 over the cost for matching RS IIIs. That’s maybe a penny or two per mile for handling enhancements I’ll enjoy every time I fire up my bike. And that’s a screamin’ deal. 

Visit Dunlop Motorcycle Tires for more information.

Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV Tire Review Photo Gallery:

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