RoadSmart IV tyre review: Dunlop's ever-improving all-rounder

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More than ever sports touring tyres have become all the rubber you’ll ever need for your road bike – from small nakeds to tall-roaders, adventure bikes, big tourers, sportsbikes and everything in between.

Unsurprisingly it’s the most hotly contested tyre category. As a result, the major tyre companies fall over themselves to produce rubber that’s not only durable and grippy in the wet, but compliment the sporty character of your bike, too.

Dunlop’s RoadSmart are right up there in the top tier of the breed and now there’s a new version: the RoadSmart IV. Available in a staggering 24 sizes (the biggest fitment range of all the manufacturers) it replaces the RoadSmart III. That was a fine tyre, not only on the road, but on the track, too.

They used to fit them to the Honda Ron Haslam Race School bikes and as a Honda Fireblade-riding instructor, I did thousands of laps in the rain and shine before they sadly closed at the end of 2020. Their grip in all weather conditions never failed to impress even on a superbike.

Dunlop RoadSmart IV on a Yamaha MT-07

A new tyre from the ground-up the RoadSmart IV isn’t just a tweak of the old version. Without sending you to sleep explaining the minutia of the technical upgrades, all you need to know it has a new tread pattern, construction and profiles. The rear is dual compound – soft on the edges for grip and hard in the middle for stability and durability. The front is a single compound.

Dunlop says it’s every bit as durable as the previous version and consistent through its life, which is something we’ll put to the test when we fit a set to one of MCN’s 2022 long term test fleet bikes. Crucially, they also claim more dry and wet grip, which is always what we riders can never get enough of.  

Fitted to an MT-07 test bike, the biggest compliment you can give is the RoadSmart IVs feel just like a sports tyre. The naked’s steering is light and there’s none of the stodgy resistance through the bars you’d get from old-school sports touring rubber as you peel into a corner. They’re stable, happy at full lean and have more grip than the Yamaha can dish out on the road in the dry. We weren’t able to try them in the wet – it never rains when you want it to. Ride quality is slightly firmer than something like a Michelin or Metzeler, but still plush and comfortable. 

Dunlop RoadSmart IV tyres in wet weather

They also warm up fast, which is something you’ve probably read a thousand times in tyre reviews. That might not mean much but put it this way: if you use a very sporty tyre in the cold (sub-10°C temperatures) it’s more likely you’ll lose the front or highside on a cold tyre than you ever would on sports touring rubber like this. The Dunlops grip from the first roll of the tyre and take that worry away.

There are two versions: the GT for heavy bikes, like tourers and the SP for everything else, including our Yamaha MT-07 test bike.

  • Price: Approx £292/set (mail order)
  • Available: Now
  • Tester: Michael Neeves
  • Where: Peterborough: country roads, motorway and town
  • When: Friday 8 April 2022
  • Bike: Yamaha MT-07
  • Sizes: Front: All major sizes for 17, 18 and 19in wheels. Rear: All major sizes for 17 and 18in wheels, from 140/70 x 17 to 190/60 x 17.
  • Weather watch: Sunny. Temp: 8°C

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Michael Neeves

By Michael Neeves

MCN Chief Road Tester, club racer, airmiles millionaire.