Dunlop introduced the new...
Dunlop introduced the new Roadsmart sport-touring tire with a morning ride in the wet Santa Monica Mountains.
Of All The Various Types Of tires covering the two-wheel market, sport-touring tires have perhaps the hardest job of all. While pure sport tires can trade mileage for traction, and touring riders are willing to accept less grip in return for more mileage, sport-touring riders are willing to sacrifice neither: the longevity of a touring tire. The Roadsmart is Dunlop's latest offering that strives to reach that goal, and we recently sampled the new sport-touring tire for a day in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The Roadsmart was designed to replace the D220, with the goal of offering a tire that delivers three qualities in equal measure: handling, wet-weather performance and mileage. To that end developments in the construction and tread compound were incorporated. Both front and rear tires have Flex Steel Joint Less Belt construction, which consists of a steel belt continuously wound around the tires' circumference. Previously only the rear tire had a steel JLB, while the front tire was made with a conventional cut-breaker construction.
The rear tire has multicompound...
The rear tire has multicompound tread,, with the harder center portion extending underneath the softer edges to better dissipate heat generated under high loads and speeds.
New rubber compounds have two distinct types of silica to improve wet-weather grip, and the rear Roadsmart has a Multi- Tread compound with a harder rubber used on the center section of the tire and a softer compound on the edges-surprisingly, a first for a production Dunlop street tire. Both tires' profiles have also been updated, with the rear having a notably shorter sidewall and higher "tread drop" at the edges. The new tread pattern, which eliminates the center groove of the front D220, has more and deeper sipes in the center area for improved wet-weather grip when the bike is upright and better cornering traction in the dry.
Fittingly, the tire was introduced with a ride in weather that ranged from damp to moderate rain. And while those conditions prohibited fully exploring the dry-traction capabilities of the new Roadsmart, the tires offered excellent grip on wet pavement. Steering was light on the three bikes we tried-the honda Interceptor, Kawasaki Concours 14 and Suzuki GSX650F-but not overly neutral or linear. The Interceptor and Concours were both a bit awkward at low speeds, which may or may not have been due to the tires.
The Roadsmart's new tread...
The Roadsmart's new tread pattern has more and deeper grooves in the center of the tread than at the edges, which helps wet-weather traction when the bike is vertical without sacrificing dry grip when the bike is leaned over.
Traditional sport-touring tires offer less-than-optimum compliance over rough pavement due to their weight and stiffness, and this is one area in which the Roadsmart is definitely improved compared with the D220. Though performance over bumpy sections is still not on par with a sport tire such as the company's qualifier, grip, stability and bump absorption are all noticeably better than we experienced with the D220.
The new tire will be available this spring in three front and six rear sizes to fit most popular sportbikes and sport-touring models. -A.T.