Adventure-ready: Dunlop Trailmax Raid 50/50 tyre review


In-line with the exponential growth of the adventure bike class, motorbike tyre manufacturers (including Dunlop) are working overtime to develop their products to meet the ever increasing demands of riders. It’s a competitive class with a plethora of options from each and every tyre manufacturer to suit anything from a BMW R1250 GS owner who never intends to go off-road through to a Yamaha Ténéré 700 owner who wants to spend every mile of their ride on the dirt.

Price: From £126 (front) £147 (rear)

But there’s also an ever growing middle ground of riders who want a mix of strong on and off-road performance – not forgetting the rugged look of a more knobbly tyre on their pride and joy adventure bike.

True 50/50 tyres remain one of the biggest challenges for a tyre manufacturer, but with the demand of riders, comes an appetite to make a true do it all adventure bike tyre.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid tyres fitted to a Ducati Multistrada V4

Despite having a range of tyres suitable for adventure bikes, Dunlop were missing a true 50/50 tyre from their range – until now.

Launched in Tuscany Italy last week the new Trailmax Raid is Dunlop’s answer to building a true 50/50 tyres capable of essentially doing it all.

What are Dunlop Trailmax Raid tyres like on the road?

Kicking off with a road ride, and having recently returned from the launch of the new Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally, we opted for the Ducati Multistrada V4 S so that the first impressions of the new tyre where on a very familiar bike.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid front and rear tyres

Running on the 120/70 x 19 front wheel with air temperature of 10 degrees, the grip was impressive from the start with a high level of support under load and on the brakes. Dunlop are well known for building ‘strong’ tyres with high levels of support – one of the reasons they remain the benchmark at events like the TT where the demands for support and stability are incredibly high.

But despite their carcass strength there is still an impressive amount of feel and confidence inspiring grip. From fast changes of direction, tightening your line through radiance decreasing corners through to driving hard on the exit it was hard to fluster Dunlop’s new offering.

Switching to the Aprilia Tuareg and then a Honda Africa Twin – both which have a 21” 90/90 front tyre and a narrower 150/70 profile rear the road performance was once again impressive.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid fitted to a Honda Africa Twin

An area of particular focus in development was to improve the feeling of ‘folding’ on the front with the bigger diameter front wheel – the sensation of the front tyre unnervingly dropping into the corner after initial turn in. Onboard the Aprilia this was barely noticeable, but on the Honda when asking a lot of the tyre – accelerating through fast changes of direction you could feel it happening. However by being less aggressive and running smoother lines it was easy to ride around the issue.

By the end of some spirited riding it’s hard not to be seriously impressed by the on road performance – so much so that when you got off the bike it was hard to comprehend that such a blocky tread pattern could deliver so much outright grip and feel.

What are Dunlop Trailmax Raid tyres like off-road?

The off-road riding was a mixture of reasonably fast hard pack tracks, but with compromised grip due to a loose, dry sandy and gravelly top layer. It always takes time to re-calibrate to the reduced level of grip, but both the front and rear felt stable and predictable on both the 19” front wheel Ducati and the 21” front Aprilia and Honda.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid tyres

There was some pushing from the front during off camber cornering, but it felt in-line with what you would expect from a 210KG+ adventure bike in the conditions.

The penultimate part of the ride was a faster wooded section which featured bigger rocks, some small steps and extended areas of rock – like a cobble stoned street. Onboard the Africa twin and with good visibility of the trail ahead it was a chance to push harder and get the rear spinning to help finish off the turn and also load the front more into corners.

The final part of the test day was a ride on private land, which included a 6km loop that had been set-up for the Italian Enduro team in preparation for special tests held at world rounds, ISDE etc.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid wheelie

Although not an extreme loop in terms of jumps or climbs it was a series of never ending off camber corners on an undulating grass covered hill side. The course necessitated good throttle control and although it wasn’t particularly enjoyable on an adventure bike it was a good test of edge and side grip on the 80bhp Aprilia Tuareg 660.

The verdict

It’s hard not to be impressed by the Trailmax Raid. Off-road it’s on par with some of the more aggressive off-road adventure tyres such as the Michelin Anakee Wild or Continental, TKC80. But it is it’s on-road performance where it really excels delivering very impressive levels of grip – inline with the excellent Pirelli Scorpion Trail STR.

Due to the tread pattern and high silica content Dunlop claim that even their own expectations of wet weather performance were greatly exceeded during testing at their Mireval testing facilities in the South of France. They also claim impressive longevity, but we’ll have to wait to get these tyres in the UK to vindicate or rebuke these claims.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid rear tread pattern

By its very definition a 50/50 tyres have to deliver a lot, but the new Trailmax Raid could be the closest offering yet to the holy grail of a do it all adventure bike tyre.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid stats and details

  • Price rear: £172 (170/60 x 17) £166 (150/70 x 18)
  • Price front: £148 (120/70 x 19) £133 (120/70 x 19)
  • Where did we test them? Italy
  • What bikes were we riding? Ducati Multistrada V4 S, Aprilia Toureg 660, Honda Africa Twin
  • Available sizes front: 110/80 x 19 R, 120/70 x 19 R, 90/90 x 21
  • Available sizies rear: 130/80 x 17 R, 150/70 x 17 R, 170/60 x 17 R ,140/80 x 17 R, 140/80 x 18 R, 150/70 x 18 R

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