Sportmax Q3+ and Roadsmart III Editorial Reviews


Cycle News
…a worthy successor to the Q3.

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Ultimate Motorcycling

…for those of you who commute during the week or have some distance to go before reaching your favorite set of twisties, you will see significantly more mileage from the new tire.

The performance improvements with the Q3+ are very apparent.

I found I was dragging my footpegs through COTA’s Turns 3/4/5 combination because I was carrying more speed and lean angle. Coming out of COTA’s first gear corners, the Q3 would spin a little on hard acceleration. In contrast, the Q3+ stayed absolutely planted.

Demanding street riders will be delighted with a 20 percent improvement in wear, and track day enthusiasts will be happy to lower their lap times and feel even more confident in the tire’s stability and handling. 

Overall, Dunlop tires have such amazing feel and such a broad range of performance that their level of forgiveness is unparalleled; that’s incredibly useful to have on both the street and track especially if you get in a little over your head. The new Dunlop Sportmax Q3+ simply adds a large bit of everything to the already amazing Q3.

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The main goal with the Q3+ was extended mileage on the street. That it performs better on the track is a testament to the competitive spirit within Dunlop’s development team.

The Q3+ has the same profile as the Q3, but because the tension of the carcass is different, the footprint at max lean is larger. More rubber on the ground means more grip means quicker lap times.

Most people think higher mileage means less grip. With its Q3+, Dunlop wanted to prove that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

We were given a full hour to run as many laps as we could (yes, that’s as amazing as it sounds), and once I swapped over to the Q3+ tire, I never came in. That worked out to something like 15-20 laps around CoTA. On a street tire. At a pace that wasn’t exactly boring. Through it all, I remained extremely impressed. 

Back-to-back sessions on the Sportmax Q3 and Q3+ confirmed that while the Q3 is still a great tire, the Q3+ has a more planted feel. Also, while the Q3 seemed to heat up after just five laps and begin to squirm around, the Q3+ went at least double that, while remaining sure-footed and confidence-inspiring.

Now, not only do you have a tire that will likely last longer on the road, but you’ll also have one that performs better on the track.

For the rider who wants something that will go a reasonable amount of miles on the street, but still perform well in the canyons or at the track, the Q3+ really is a fantastic option.

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Cycle News

I’ve ridden plenty of miles on the Dunlop RoadSmart IIs (they came standard on my 2015 Super Duke), but the outright grip and feel transmitted by the new RSIIIs is a clear step ahead.

Chasing a few bikes up through Malibu’s canyons that had everything from beautiful dry pavement to slippery as hell dirt from recent mudslides, I never once had to worry about the Dunlop’s performance.

On a big bike like the GT, the side of the tire feel was excellent. At the press briefing I got hold of a rear RSIII and was surprised at how soft the sidewall for what is classified as a Sport Touring tire, more so when I considered how stable it was under braking and acceleration. The road conditions meant speeds were a little down on what they could have been, but I left the test very impressed with the general performance, wet and dry, of the RSIII….

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Dunlop has developed tires for this sport-touring category in the past that follow the changing trends and characteristics of bikes, and their new Sportmax Roadsmart III tire does just that—with the added bonus of providing what Dunlop says is class-leading mileage and consistent handling over the life of the tire.

Twisting through the canyons of Malibu during the latter half of the day proved to be far more exciting than I had initially suspected, and aside from the road closures and dirty conditions of certain corners, the Roadsmart III tires held on well, no matter how far I edged the spindly Honda over on its side. While I can’t accurately access the wet-weather handling of the tires, I can tell you that the tires didn’t wander while riding through the residual puddles left from the recent stormy weather.

Dunlop remains a strong force in the sport-touring category, and the new Roadsmart III tires definitely handle a variance of terrain accordingly. Edge grip feel is good, and I was fairly surprised at just how consistently the tire performed on the twisty roads. If the longevity really is on par with what was discussed, I’d say Dunlop have really hit a homerun in terms of their given “performance touring” category, effectively mixing a tire with good all-around grip across myriad conditions with something that can handle the occasional spirited jaunt through the canyons.

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The Roadsmart III’s grip and stability was particularly appreciated during our test ride, as recent rains had sullied the road surface with frequent hazards like dirt, gravel and occasional water slick. During a couple of blind corners I rounded the bend and braced myself for a brief loss of traction as I passed over a small rivulet or dirty-looking stretch of asphalt, but there were no slips, no squirrelly moments, no drama from the Dunlop-equipped RT.

Fellow journalists on our test ride reported similar impressions aboard various mounts equipped with the new Dunlop rubber, including the sport-oriented KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. Dunlop also pitches its rubber as not just a sport-touring option but as a valid option for any rider looking to get extended mileage out of their sport-oriented street bikes. .

Sport-touring riders, or any street rider looking to get more mileage without losing performance have an enticing new option in the new Dunlop Roadsmart III tires.

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The Roadsmart III was introduced in Europe about a year ago, and at that time Dunlop had commissioned Germany’s Motorrad Test Centre to roll it off against the Bridgestone T30 Evo(single-ply version), Pirelli Angel GT, Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT and Metzeler Z8 Roadtec. That test concluded that the Dunlop rear gave 19% better mileage than its rivals, and that the front Roadsmart III lasted an amazing 82% longer than its rivals on a Yamaha FJR1300.

Well, ahhhh, I can’t ride 12,000 miles in two days, but I can say the RSIIIs feel perfectly at home on the Super Duke GT cruising up Highway 101, strafing fast backroads at superlegal speeds, and navigating tight Malibu canyons.

Well, I’m no Rich Conicelli nor even a Ken Vreeke (former Cycle mag editor and now Dunlop’s ad agency principal, who still leaves me in the Malibu dust when the going gets muy rapido), but judging from those guys, if you need more grip than the Roadsmart III has, you need a full-on sport tire. Good luck finding one that’ll give you upward of 12,000 miles.

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Ultimate Motorcycling

I’m happy to report that the new Roadsmart III is not just incredibly grippy, but the tires also retain that wonderfully predictable Q3 feel. Out of the whole day-long ride and some 160 miles, the tires never once twitched, squirmed, or felt nervous at all, through those wet and/or muddy patches, some of which were several hundred yards long.

Even the FZ-10’s fearsome mid-range power didn’t faze the Dunlops—not once. Accelerating hard out of the corners, the rear stuck completely, and despite being set in TC 2 mode (more intervention), I never once saw the light flickering to show me the tire was slipping. Based on all that, I feel very confident in saying that the wet weather performance of the Roadsmart IIIs is impeccable; very impressive actually.

Dropping down the hill from Lake Casitas the Dunlops transitioned through the twisties very well, even under quite hard braking, from full lean on one side, straight over to the other. The predictability is confidence-inspiring, and the Yamaha didn’t need a lot of input at the handlebar to make it flick side to side; the responsiveness was ideal for my style of riding.

I returned from Carpinteria along Highway 101, and the concrete grooves and imperfections of that freeway were absorbed well by the Dunlops. Considering how firmly the FZ-10 is suspended, I liked that the tires helped minimize the transmission of everything through to me, and the tires didn’t allow the bike to wander or twitch over the longitudinal grooves.

The entrance to the corner was also bumpy, and I was forced to tip-in while still hard on the brakes. I confess I did hold my breath, but the Dunlops gripped the road perfectly with no ABS cut-in that I could feel, and with zero sense of vagueness or twitching at the handlebar either during braking or at the transition. The moment was over quickly and without any drama; the grip and stability of the Roadsmart III is genuinely very impressive.

Dunlop are so confident that the Roadsmart III tire is a generational change in the category, that they’ve named it a “Performance Touring” tire, and having pushed the tires hard in very sketchy conditions, I agree.

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Sport Rider

We spent the day riding a new 2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT outfitted with Dunlop’s Sportmax Roadsmart III during the press launch for Dunlop’s latest sport-touring tire, and while we obviously couldn’t vouch for the company’s claims of increased mileage, we certainly were impressed with the tire’s overall performance in a variety of conditions.

…the new Dunlop’s steering habits are delightfully neutral through every cornering scenario we could put them through, and stability under heavy braking (as well as triple digit speeds) was very solid. All manner of bumps and pavement irregularities were swallowed up with nary a twitch or whimper at all lean angles, yet road feel was excellent throughout.

Dry grip was superb, especially for a tire with high-mileage intentions. The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT can put some serious power to the ground, and during a “spirited” ride through numerous local canyon roads, there was never any point where Roadsmart III felt completely out of its element.

Wet grip was also excellent, with very little squirming and wandering over varying amounts of lean angle and water on the road.

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