Dunlop targets the ADV market’s 50/50 tire category with its new Trailmax Mission tire. They felt that consumers had been presented with a compromise tire for their ADV machines up to this point, so Dunlop set out to develop a tire that offered strong street performance, strong dirt performance and durability. It took them two years to build a tire with knobby-like performance and impressive grip on the road. To meet the standards of a true 50/50 street/dirt tire, Dunlop engineers started with a clean slate and built what they call the most versatile tire they have ever made.
The front Trailmix Mission tire features a symmetrical tread pattern to fight uneven wear. The 17- and 19-inch fronts feature hollowed-out knobs for additional bite and knob flex. The 21-incher has larger tread blocks and did not need this feature.
Dunlop incorporated staggered-step technology in both the front and rear tires. This gives the side knobs increased rigidity and lug stability, preventing flex and creating more biting edges as the tire wears. In the rear, there are three different sizes and shapes of lateral blocks, depending on tire fitment.
In order to meet the mileage goals and performance ambitions of ADV riders, Dunlop used a bias construction. This works better for dirt applications and allowed them to use the tough materials that work in the touring tires. Their goal was strong off-road performance with stability at higher speeds.
The front and rear tire patterns have much in common. The wraparound side lugs add rigidity and durability in rocky terrain. The lugs allow for lower pressures to be run off-road with less risk of pinch-flatting. Whereas sand is always a hardship, they help provide steering stability, and the sidewall rubber is thicker for increased durability and puncture resistance. And finally, deep tread grooves help the Mission deliver strong grip in a wide variety of off-road terrain.
The goal was to bring a higher performance level and durability to the ADV rider who has been forced to choose between good street character and strong abilities when going off-road. The Trailmax Mission is designed to handle both.
We got to spend two days riding in Lake Arrowhead, California, testing the Mission tire on several ADV machines. The loops were about 70/30 pavement to dirt, and the dirt portions were two track roads, unmaintained but not too hideous. Our initial impression was that the tire is very competent on the street, giving strong cornering grip and stability. Honestly, it feels like a street tire. On the dirt roads the Mission offers decent bite, lending considerably more control than a street meat. It’s stronger in braking, grips better in sandier portions—though still not in the same league as a more aggressive knobby—and, more important, it allowed us to air it down so that it would flex and accept dirt-road input. We need to get more time on them, but our initial impression is that the Trailmax Mission tire gives good confidence on the tarmac and mated to enough dirt capabilities to get the job done. And on these heavy beasts, durability, stability and versatility are crucial.