Manufacturers have bolstered their adventure and scrambler lineups with more offerings than ever. The high-performance of modern large displacement adventure bikes rivals that of sport bikes, yet they are also capable of offering impressive performance in the dirt—an amazing breadth of abilities that results in an unprecedented challenge to tire designers.
With the proliferation of new ADV bikes, it was time for Dunlop to reinvent the 50/50 tire. Enter the all-new Trailmax Mission.
“This is a very difficult segment to tackle because of the wide variety of uses and fitments, but I believe customers will be surprised that the Mission delivers such a high level of grip no matter the surface and will also exceed their mileage expectations,” said Mike Buckley, senior VP, sales and marketing.
Re-Inventing the 50/50 Tire
Engineers and researchers attended consumer shows, rallies and various events for years gathering data, and more than ten rider surveys were conducted among a vast audience.
The result of the research showed Dunlop that the existing offerings in the 50/50 tire category presented riders with the ultimate compromise. You can have “this,” but you will give up “that.”
The Falken Connection
For the first time in its history, Dunlop tapped into newly available resources. Dunlop Motorcycle Tires’ re-acquisition by Sumitomo in 2015 gave the design team access to the engineers at Falken tires. Falken, a Sumitomo brand, has had tremendous success with the Wildpeak A/T3W, an off-road oriented light truck tire that puts a premium on ruggedness without sacrificing street performance. The Dunlop team was ultimately able to incorporate several Wildpeak elements into the all-new Mission.
Two years in development, the Mission delivers knobby-like performance off-road, has impressive grip on the street, plus great ride quality and stability everywhere it goes.
One of the primary goals was durability. Several months were spent piling on the miles—on the street, at the Huntsville Proving Grounds in wet and dry conditions, on gravel roads, trails, tire-shredding rocky terrain, and every condition Dunlop test riders could find. Dunlop also utilized a high-speed testing oval in Texas to put the Mission through durability torture.
The result: Consumers can expect to get double the miles of some of the competitive rear tires, and more than that from the front. The production version of the Mission rear tire delivered 8,000 miles in testing.*
A Mash-Up of Dunlop’s Best Street and Dirt Technology
Combining the best of Dunlop’s dirt and street tire technology, the Mission is one of the most versatile tires Dunlop has ever made.
One of the things that make the Mission unique is that Dunlop did not create a one-design-fits-all tire. Different bikes impose different demands on tires, so Dunlop engineers tuned popular fitments of front and rear tires for a diverse application of ADV bikes so that the tires consistently achieved Dunlop’s objective of performance and longevity. These differences apply to both the tread pattern and construction.
Dunlop incorporated Staggered Step technology in both the front and rear tires. These steps give the side knobs more rigidity and lug stability to prevent flex, and create more biting edges so as the tread wears, the next biting edge “steps up” to grab hold of the substrate. In the rear, there are three different sizes and shapes of lateral blocks depending on tire fitment, a direct result of extensive testing.
Common Tread Elements
Front and rear tire patterns have more in common than differences. One visual distinction for both front and rear is the prominent wrap-around side lug inspired by the Falken Wildpeak. These lugs have several advantages; they add rigidity and durability in rocky terrain; allow lower pressures to be run off-road with less risk of pinch-flatting; they help provide steering stability in sand, mud and gravel surfaces; and they have an uncanny ability to allow riders to steer out of ruts off-road, even on the really big and heavy ADV bikes. Additionally, the sidewall rubber is thicker to add higher durability and puncture resistance.
Both front and rear tires feature a distinctly higher land/sea ratio with about 60% land for greater street performance compared to the dirt-oriented D606 at 30% land ratio. Increased tread depth over the Trailsmart adds to Mission’s superior off-road performance. These comparisons illustrate how different the Mission is compared to other Dunlop adventure and off-road tires.
To meet the performance and mileage goals, bias construction was used, with the line featuring a mix of bias and bias-belted tires as needs dictated. Bias construction is generally better for off-road since tread and sidewall elements are designed as one component. Engineers used heavy-duty ply material such as nylon, polyester and/or fiberglass belts that are similar to those used in tough touring tires such as the American Elite and Elite 4. The result is a tire with excellent off-road performance that delivers the desired stability at higher speeds.
Designed and Manufactured In Buffalo
The Dunlop tire factory in Buffalo, New York enjoys a long track record of building everything from high-performance racing tires to premium touring tires. The Mission is the first off-road capable tire designed and manufactured in Buffalo. The Mission tires incorporate a tread depth twice as deep as any other motorcycle tire made in Buffalo before, a huge manufacturing challenge.
Dunlop tested many competitor tires and while there are a lot of good products on the market, no one tire can do all the things Mission does, as well as it does, on such a variety of machines. With the Mission, Dunlop stayed focused on delivering a higher level of performance, mileage and durability over a wider range of conditions and terrain than any other tire. Today’s ADV bikes, Scramblers and Crossovers make enormous demands on tires, and deserve nothing less than Dunlop’s best technology. The Mission delivers.
Expanding Dunlop’s Adventure Tire Lineup
Within the Adventure/Scrambler/Dual-Sport/realm, Dunlop has targeted specific DOT applications, meeting a wide variety of riding needs with a broad selection of tires from the Dakar-ready D908RR™ to the heavily dirt-oriented D606™, the new Geomax EN91,the road-oriented Trailsmart and Roadsmart III and now the Mission, landing right in the middle, designed to cover it all.
Available in a wider size range than any of Dunlop’s ADV tires, the Mission fills a void in the line for ADV bikes, Scramblers and Crossovers that are ridden aggressively off-road.
MSRP will range from $131.21 to $285.23.