Dunlop hosted the world launch of these new adventure tyres in the US at the end of last year. Dirt And Trail Mag did not crack the nod, but a few of our international colleagues were very impressed with what they say and felt. The tyres have taken a while to get here, so no local riders have tried them out just yet.
The Tyres are in SA – currently loafing at customs until normal business resumes. Knowing Dunlop, the prices will be sharp. This is a great addition to an already impressive Dunlop lineup.
We have ordered a pair and we’ll fit them on one of our bikes and get you our opinion in a local feature soon! But here is some info on the new rubber.
Dunlop spent time with aadventure people, at adventure rallies and all over the place getting feedback and information. These tyres are a result of direct feedback from adventure enthusiasts.
In collaboration with Falken Tyre, Dunlop has developed what they claim to be a 50/50 tyre that’s capable of tackling a variety of terrain and offering the best tread life in its class.
The positive side of this lockdown crisis is that I get to write this article, for the first time ever, during office hours on a Monday instead of late (too late!) on a Thursday evening, just hours before print deadline, with Rob on my case because he still needs to do the layout while dealing with late advert submissions!
I have never been jealous of full-time journos and the constant pressure they work under – except for when they get to test bikes and new rubber, of course.
Now onto some exciting news…
I am aware there have been riders waiting for feedback on the new Dunlop Trailmax Mission 50/50 Adventure Tyre – the latest offering from the Dunlop stable. I must be honest and point out that this is the first time I’ve ever written about a tyre product that I have not personally put through its paces. Instead, lockdown means that I’m going on the media presentation sent to me from Dunlop, which includes feedback from contracted test riders who test for a living for multiple brands around the globe, so I’m confident we have been
given fair and honest test results from these independent sources.
Let me kick off with a media statement by Mike Buckley, Senior VP, Sales and Marketing:
“This is a very difficult segment to tackle because of the wide variety of uses and fitments, but I believe customers will be surprised that the Mission delivers such a high level of grip no matter the surface and will also exceed their mileage expectations.”
It is safe to say the Mission was one of the most comprehensive tyre projects Dunlop has ever undertaken. Customer input was key. Engineers and researchers attended consumer shows, rallies and other events for years gathering data, while rider surveys were conducted among a vast audience.
The challenge to the Mission team was to create a tyre that did not force customers to compromise between street performance, dirt performance, ruggedness, or longevity.
This presented one of the biggest challenges that the design team in Buffalo, USA has ever faced.
For the first time in its history, Dunlop tapped into newly available resources. Dunlop Motorcycle Tyres’ re-acquisition by Sumitomo in 2015 gave the design team access to the engineers at Falken tyres. Falken, a Sumitomo brand, has had tremendous success with the Wildpeak A/T3W, an off-road oriented light truck tyre that puts a premium on ruggedness without sacrificing street performance.
The Dunlop team was able to learn from the successes of the Wildpeak’s unique design and ultimately incorporated several elements into the all-new Trailmax Mission. Utilizing elements from a light truck tyre design to create a motorcycle tyre—possibly an industry first—was certainly a first for Dunlop.
Two years in development, more than 30 prototypes, and 12 months spent developing the unique tread pattern alone, the Mission delivers knobby-like performance off-road, has impressive grip on the street, plus great ride quality and stability everywhere it goes.
One of the primary goals was durability. Several months were spent piling on the miles – on the street, at the Huntsville Proving Grounds in wet and dry conditions, on gravel roads, trails, tyre-shredding rocky terrain, and every condition Dunlop test riders could find.
Dunlop also utilized a high-speed testing oval in Texas to put the Mission through durability torture. The result: Consumers can expect to get double the miles of some of the competitive rear tyres, and more than that from the front. The production version of the Mission rear tyre delivered 8 000 miles in testing.
One of the things that make the Mission unique is that Dunlop did not create a one-design-fits-all tyre. Different bikes impose different demands on tyres, so Dunlop engineers tuned popular fitments of front and rear tyres for a diverse application of ADV bikes so that the tyres consistently achieved Dunlop’s objective of performance and longevity. These differences apply to both the tread pattern and construction.
The front Mission tyre features a symmetrical tread pattern that helps reduce uneven wear. If you look closely, you will see that the 17- and 19-inch sizes feature hollowed out knobs to create additional biting edges and knob flex for greater off-road traction.
In 21-inch front sizes, the tyre achieved Dunlop’s performance objectives without this additional detail, as the larger size of the tread blocks provided the desired level of traction without the need for hollowed out knobs. Some rear sizes utilize tie bars between knobs to achieve performance targets, while other sizes and fitments achieve the performance goals without the tie bars.
Dunlop incorporated Staggered Step technology in both the front and rear tyres. These steps give the side knobs more rigidity and lug stability to prevent flex and create more biting edges so, as the tread wears, the next biting edge “steps up” to grab hold of the substrate.
In the rear, there are three different sizes and shapes of lateral blocks depending on tyre fitment, a direct result of testing, testing and more testing on a wide variety of machines.
Front and rear tyre patterns have more in common than differences. One visual distinction for both front and rear is the prominent wraparound side lug inspired by Falken’s Wildpeak truck tyre.
These lugs have several advantages: they add rigidity and durability in rocky terrain; allow lower pressures to be run off-road with less risk of pinch-flatting; they help provide steering stability in sand, mud and gravel surfaces; and they have an uncanny ability to allow riders to steer out of ruts off-road, even on the really big and heavy ADV bikes.
Additionally, the sidewall rubber is thicker to add higher durability and puncture resistance.
Both front and rear tyres feature a distinctly higher land/sea ratio with about 60% land for greater street performance compared to the dirt oriented D606 at 30% land ratio.
Increased tread depth over the Trailsmart adds to Mission’s superior offroad performance. These comparisons serve to illustrate just how different the Mission is compared to other Dunlop adventure and off-road tyres.
To meet the performance and mileage goals, bias construction was used, with the line featuring a mix of bias and bias belted tyres as needs dictated.
Bias construction is generally better for offroad since tread and sidewall elements are designed as one component. Bias tyre construction also allowed designers to use heavy-duty ply material such as nylon, polyester and/or fiberglass belts that are like those used in tough touring tyres such as the American Elite® and Elite® 4.
The result is a tyre with excellent off-road performance that delivers the desired stability at higher speeds.
Just like the tread pattern, construction varies based on fitment application – different sizes of the Mission have their own unique touches to maximize performance on different bikes. For example, belts were removed on some designs during development to help improve compliance of the tyre in off-road terrain. This is tailored to bikes more likely to be the “most” adventurous when it comes to off-road.
The Mission tyres are tubeless but can also be run on tube-type rims.
The Dunlop tyre factory in Buffalo, New York enjoys a long track record of building everything from high performance racing tyres to premium touring tyres.
The Mission is the first off-road capable tyre designed and manufactured in Buffalo, so having the proper equipment on hand was vital. While no new equipment was required for the Mission line, some tyre machines had to be modified to build them – the same machines used to build the bias-ply E4, American Elite and D408F™/D407™ Harley-Davidson® touring tyres.
However, Mission tyres incorporate a tread depth twice as deep as any other motorcycle tyre made in Buffalo before. A huge change and manufacturing challenge.
This is a big statement for any brand putting out a new product on the market and as far as Dunlop is concerned, they have ACCOMPLISHED THEIR MISSION.
They tested many competitor tyres, and while there are a lot of good products on the market, no one tyre can do all the things Mission does, as well as it does, on such a variety of machines. With the Mission, Dunlop has stayed focused on delivering a higher level of performance, mileage and durability over a wider range of conditions and terrain than any other tyre.
Today’s ADV bikes, Scramblers and Crossovers make enormous demands on tyres, and deserve nothing less than the best technology. The Mission delivers.
Now it is your Mission to see for yourself and personally I cannot wait to fit a set to my 1190 and hang it flat.
Bruce de Kock, Bike Tyre Warehouse