By Tim Burke
A Look Back on 11,000 Miles of Abuse!
When I was first asked to test and review a pair of tires, my initial reaction was,
“Oh, God. Tires? Really? No, not tires!”
I just can’t wrangle up the energy to argue with ½ the world’s motorcycle-riding population about tires. Let’s be real…We all know that if there are two things that can swiftly set off World War III in the motorcycle community, it’s which tires to use and which motorcycle oil to feed your engine!
I’ll repeat the same thing I’ve been saying for years about, not just tires and oil, but about helmets, luggage, and motorcycles as a whole: You do you! Find that product that allows you to chase your type of adventure with the most comfort, safety, and reliability.
Now with that said, I have to admit: I write about the Dunlop TrailMax Mission with an ever so slight annoyance. And I’ll tell you why.
I’ve spent 3.5 years traveling across 4 continents and across 76 countries. I have been just about everywhere between Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. I have been from Nordkapp, Norway to Cape Point, South Africa. In 3.5 years, I have been through 11 front tires and 14 rear tires.
I’ve run Heidenau K60s, MotoZ Tractionator GPS, Anakee Wilds, Anakee Adventures, Anakee 3’s, Continental TK80s, TK70s and more. Sometimes, depending where I am, I don’t have the slightest choice in what I’m forced to put on my rims. Variety simply isn’t a luxury that one gets in many parts of the world!
After 150-something thousand miles on the road, I’ve just now, this year, found the tire I wish I had been using for the last 4.
I mounted Dunlop TrailMax Missions back in July with no preconceived notions or expectations. I have absolutely, positively abused these tires and they just will not die. Hell, it seems like they will not even wear a little bit! At the time of this writing, I have 11,345 miles on the original set. At this very moment, I would guess they still have 30-40% tread life remaining!
Now, as you read this, perhaps you are thinking, “Well they probably last so long because the rubber compound is as stiff as reinforced concrete! I bet they’re horrible in the rain.” Fair assumption (especially for those with experience on Heidenau K60s!) but I have to be honest… these tires just don’t seem to show any indications that they’re more slippery on the wet pavement than any other tires. From pannier-scraping twisties to 100-mile straight shots on the highway, the tires remain planted – wet or dry.
Off-Road performance – These tires have brought me from the Canadian border to the bottom of the Baja Peninsula. They’ve climbed up and over some of the highest and gnarliest passes in Colorado - full of sharp and jagged rocks. They plowed through sand on the beaches of Mexico and smashed through mud on a 65-mile off-road trail to a remote location on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I simply “air down” to about 27 PSI and send it. I have zero complaints about their performance off-road.
These tires have experienced 120F (49C) heat in the Mojave Desert and have driven through snow in an Idaho winter. I have literally put these tires through every meteorological condition possible and they just keep going.
As a long distance rider, I am always worrying about “the next tire change” and where in the world I’ll be when I have to do it. These tires have proven to me that, for my needs, they are the most reliable, long-lasting, and well-rounded piece of rubber one can buy for a motorcycle.
Now listen, I 110% recognize that longevity is not the #1 priority for, let’s say, a DAKAR Rally Racer. It’s probably not the tire that Andrew Short is going to use (probably because that maniac has proven that he doesn’t need tires to compete in rallies…No seriously, watch that video on YouTube…)
This tire is for the ADV rider who spends time both on pavement and off. It’s for the rider who prioritizes longevity but also requires acceptable and reasonable performance in all-weather conditions, in every type of landscape, in every corner of the world.
Final thoughts: Yeah, I’m still slightly pissed off that I just discovered the Dunlop TrailMax Mission. It’s exactly what I’ve needed for years. For more information go to www.dunlopmotorcycletires.com