Dunlop Roadsmart II Tires | MC Tested

Having a tough day? Consider the engineers who designed Dunlop’s new Roadsmart II radials. Sure, they get to ride fast motorcycles on fresh rubber all over the world, but after grinding countless knee pucks to dust coming up with the first Roadsmarts in 2008—tires that left little room for improvement as broadband sporting rubber—they had to outsmart themselves for the sequel.

As with the first edition, V2.0 had to blend all of the discriminating sport-tourist's disparate requirements—stability and agility, track-level grip and feel on wet or dry tarmac, and serious longevity—in one set of tires. Okay … but where to start? Customer feedback and testing the loyal opposition told them to focus on longevity and wet-weather grip.

Dunlop’s Flex Steel-Jointless Belt carcass construction is still here, minimizing heat-inducing distortion and maintaining a consistently stable footprint regardless of speed. The Roadsmart II’s rubber blends things like disbursable silica and carbon black to let the tires warm-up quickly and remain reassuringly sticky over a broader temperature range with minimal wear and maximum grip.

The latest cosecant-groove front-tread design squirms less for longer life. Deeper existing grooves get help from new ones, pumping moisture out of the contact patch more efficiently to enhance wet grip. And with that new front tire pushing more water out of its path, the new rear tread gets fewer grooves, putting more rubber on the road for tenacious dry grip.

Dunlop invited moto-journalists to spend a day in the Santa Monica Mountains aboard an array of new sport/touring hardware—from Suzuki’s GSX-R600 to BMW’s K1600GT, with Yamaha’s FZ1 and Honda’s VFR1200 in the middle to keep things interesting. After a bright, relatively balmy day’s riding, we can’t tell you how well the Roadsmart IIs hold on in the rain, or how long a fresh set will last, but they mostly live up to Dunlop’s expectations.

The second-generation Roadsmarts feel noticeably harsher on that 412-lb. GSX-R than they do under 703 lbs. of six-cylinder BMW. Beyond that, they feel noticeably better than their predecessors on everything else—and light-years ahead of the original-equipment version fitted to the big VFR. The Intuitive Response Profile technology lifted from the Sportmax Q2 and D211 GP-A track tires makes turn-in much more linear. Cranked over and carving, the Roadsmart IIs erase all those potentially unnerving little bumps and holes the fork and shock can’t deal with.

The Roadsmart II radials dealt with everything from long, fast straights to tight, dirty apexes without a hitch. Precise feedback from both ends means they never get in the way of a good time. But here’s the best part: They work well enough that you may never think about them again until it’s time for a new pair.

Dunlop Roadsmart Ii Tires

PRICE: $201.59-$213.54 front, $266.62-$292.95 rear
Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars.

Doing a better job of doing it all, again.

A stiffer front tread pattern pumps more water out of the way, allowing fewer grooves in the rear tire and more rubber on the pavement.
A longer-wearing compound in the center of the tire is flanked by stickier stuff on either side to deliver long life and impressive cornering grip.