Dunlop Sportmax Q2 - Product Evaluation

Qualifier updated and improved.

Dunlop Sportmax Q2 - Product Review

Dunlop Sportmax Q2 - Product Review

Is it time to upgrade the rubber on your late-model sportbike? Dunlop, the spec-tire supplier for AMA Pro roadracing, has replaced its best-selling DOT-approved radial, the Sportmax Qualifier, with a new, more aggressive design called the Sportmax Q2. We were invited to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, to sample the Q2.

Dunlop Sportmax Q2 Motorcycle Tires

Compared to the original Qualifier, the Q2 is said to offer a 15-percent improvement in drive grip and traction, a 5-percent bump in steering response and a 25-percent leap in cornering stability.

Before**** the Q2's on-track trial by fire, Dunlop schooled us on the Multi-Tread technology now used throughout its street-tire line. This dual compounding speeds warm-up, enhances lateral grip and improves tread life. Engineers also covered Intuitive Response Profile. Currently only used in the Q2 rear, IRP is said to deliver linear steering response regardless of the camber or shape of the corner, or the speed at which the rider negotiates the turn. A larger contact patch and better pressure distribution at deep lean angles is also claimed. The rear tire further features a stiffer version of Dunlop's continuously wound, jointless-band, aramid-belt construction.

For the launch, Dunlop provided Honda CBR1000RRs and Suzuki GSX-R1000s fitted with Q2s. Most track-day sessions are usually 20 minutes in length, so we rode hard for a bit longer--25 minutes at a stretch. Associate Editor Mark Cernicky praised the Q2's braking and cornering stability, particularly when tempting the limits of traction entering the right-hand Turn 3 hairpin.

By mid-afternoon, ambient temperatures had exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Running recommended cold street pressures of 34 psi front and 36 psi rear, the tires, the rear in particular, were beginning to overheat, resulting in a “greasy” feeling toward the end of the sessions. Dunlop lowered the hot pressures to 36 psi front and rear, and rear traction and corner-exit speeds improved noticeably. Even so, given the Open-class power on tap, solid drives out of corners still required smooth application of the throttle.

Compared to the original Qualifier, the Q2 is said to offer a 15-percent improvement in drive grip and traction, a 5-percent bump in steering response and a 25-percent leap in cornering stability. Based on our one-day experience at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, we have no reason to doubt those claims.

DETAILS

**Dunlop Tires

P.O. Box 1109

Buffalo, NY 14240

800/845-8378

Price...$490**

Ups

  • Excellent braking and cornering stability

  • Predictable on-the-limit traction

  • Two front and six rear sizes to fit most late-model sportbikes with 17-inch wheels

Downs

  • Must learn to love your air-pressure gauge

  • Retail prices for rear tires vary by nearly $100

  • Need to order more knee sliders