Tyre Review: Dunlop TrailSmart tyres £215
Tester Tony Hoare
For which bikes?
Adventure bikes 600cc+
Front: 110/80R19 59V, 120/70R19 60V, 120/70ZR19 60W, 120/90-17 64S, 130/80-17 65S, 100/90-19 57H, 90/90-21 54H, 90/90-21 54V
Rear: 130/80R17 65H, 140/80R17 69H, 150/70R17 69V, 170/60R17 72V, 170/60ZR17 72W, 150/70R18 70V.
Dunlop’s new TrailSmarts are aimed at adventure bike owners who spend most of their time on the road but still want to know they can handle a little light trail work. They take over from Dunlop’s Trailmax TR91, which has been considered one of the grippiest road-biased adventure tyres since its launch in 2011.
Dunlop’s mission was to broaden the range of sizes and increase longevity without losing any of the existing sporting prowess. The company have worked hardest on the tread pattern. The TrailSmart loses some grooves on the shoulder and there is a greater frequency of grooves in the centre, to help bite on loose surfaces and shed water on wet roads.
The compound uses a different type of silica, a substance well known for its ability to grip in the wet, and also reduce heat build-up and wear. The TrailSmart compound is now similar to that used in Dunlop’s Roadsmart II sports touring tyre.
What are they like?
The launch route near Marbella in Spain was the ideal place to put a tyre like this to the test, providing a hard day’s riding that combined sweeping roads, twisty bends and around 40km of unmade roads thrown in to test the tyre’s dirt prowess.
Initial impressions were that Dunlop had maintained the old tyre’s impressive performance in the dry (there was no rain in which to try them). Riding a Yamaha XTZ1200 Super Tenere, we found the TrailSmarts to be confident handling tyres which gave a consistent feel across a variety of lean angles and high levels of grip on the warm roads of Andalucia.
Since the launch I’ve done 4000 road miles on the TrailSmarts and loved the way they made my KTM 1050 Adventure feel more nimble and predictable than the more dirt-orientated Continental TKC70 tyres that were fitted as standard. They grip well in dry or wet, are agile without feeling too aggressive and even lasted well enough for me. After 4000 miles they were squaring off, but I’d have expected another 1000-2000 miles from them if I hadn’t needed to move on and test another of the glut of new-for-2015 adventure tyres.
Quality rating 5/5
Value rating 4/5