Dunlop Sportsmart2 Max £261
Revised for this year – and replacing the standard Sportsmart2, the Max features a completely new front with a revised and stiffer construction, plus new compounds. The rear tyre’s construction carries on from before, but Dunlop say they’ve taken advantage of new chemical technology, allowing the compound to be more durable in the middle and grippier on the edges. In all, Dunlop claim the tyre lasts 10% longer than the old one, has sweeter steering and is faster around their test track.
What are they like?
We performed a back-to-back test with the old and new tyres on a Suzuki GSX-S1000 on super-challenging French roads and found that the new tyre feels more nimble and playful. It also holds a tighter line out of corners and needs less effort to steer. The new rubber flatters the GSX-S1000 and even makes its badly-controlled rear suspension feel a little better.
The Sportsmart2 Max works well from cool and isn’t upset by camber changes and poor road surfaces – but neither is the tyre it replaces. We rode at everything from sensible, conservative speeds to knee-down craziness on mountain passes and the new tyre never was found lacking in any situation. You can really tramp on.
On the track, there is confidence and lots of feel from the front. We tried the tyres on a BMW S1000R, a Yamaha MT-10, a Suzuki GSX-S1000, a Kawasaki ZX-10R and Yamaha R1 and found the performance to be good.
If you’re at the front of the trackday fast group on a sports 1000, they’re not for you – that’s what Dunlop’s
new D212 GP Racer is for (see page 12). But intermediate-level trackdayers and people on slower road bike-only days will be rewarded by their neutral feeling and front-end grip. The nice transition between upright and full lean gives loads of confidence, too. It’s impressive.
But you realise the Sportsmart2 Max isn’t a full-on track tyre when you ride machines like the Kawasaki ZX-10R, where the bike is prone to overwhelm the rear tyre on corner exits. But it slides with predictability and a margin of error that means losing rear traction is almost enjoyable. If you’ve got traction control, that is…
On bikes with more natural traction, like Yamaha’s R1 and MT-10 it was much happier – and the result was surprisingly fast laps. In fact, there is an argument that on bikes like BMW’S S1000R and the Yamaha MT-10, this is all you need – you run out of groundclearance long before you run out of grip. In the case of both bikes the Sportsmart is a step forward from their tawdry OE rubber, too.
All in all, the Sportsmart2 Max is a good upgrade from Dunlop. If you’re in the market for a sporty, do-anything tyre which also has the potential for strong longevity, then the Sportsmart2 Max is up there with the best.
Front: 110/70 R17, 120/60 R17, 120/70 R17, 130/70 R16 Rear: 150/60 R17, 160/60 R17, 180/55 R17, 190/50 R17, 190/55 R17, 200/55 R17 Q Contact www.dunlop.eu/ motorcycle