Dunlop SportSmart tire test


The sport / hypersport tire that wants to reconcile road, track and longevity

Dunlop made a strong comeback to the top of the road market in 2007 with the Roadsmart, just behind Pilot Road2. Today, the manufacturer is launching the SportSmart in the sport category, as a versatile successor to the Qualifier II (which should live for at least another 2 years) and the Qualifier RR (which disappears from the price list today but should be available in the form of possible promotions. still at some resellers), claiming the same success. Possible ?

Dunlop to Mireval Circuit


Dunlop MultithreadedThe SportSmart benefits from three Dunlop technologies: the MultiTread (MT) compound, the seamless tire (JLB) and the new low pressure NTEC technology from the competition..

MultiTread technology – dual compound – combines a rigid rubber in the center of the tread with a softer, more gripping rubber at the shoulders … all allowing to have the compromise between longevity in the center and better grip on the corner.

Dunlop NTECThe NTEC construction improves grip at low tire pressure in circuit use. MultiTread technology is derived from that of the D211 GP competition tire.

The JLB seamless tire plays on the density of the cables to avoid deformation / ovalization of the carcass at high speed and thus offer more precision and stability in a straight line.

These 3 associated technologies offer a grip worthy of racing tires on dry ground, very good handling on wet ground but also low wear…

The market

The road / touring market is simple: each manufacturer offers a model. On the sports market, each manufacturer offers three models. With the SportSmart, Dunlop offers a tire that can practically replace both the Qualifier II and the Qualifier RR … capable of road and track and claiming a level of excellence in 3 sectors: grip on dry but especially in the wet while offering the best longevity in the category. "We used the Roadsmart, our best tire in the wet, and the Qualifier RR, our best road tire in the dry."

Dunlop SportSmart Sculptures

It is indeed the wet grip that gives a tire confidence, knowing that in the dry, road use often does not allow the tire to be used to its full potential. And then indeed, the biker wants grip in wet, but he also wants a tire that can do more than 5,000 kilometers, even with a sports car..

Testing a motorcycle can already be a difficult exercise to bring out the differences … write 3 articles on 3 different motorcycles, but without the names of the models. It would not always be easy to make the reader guess which motorcycle we are talking about, without a photo or model cited. But at least for the assayer, memory and experience make the differences felt. For a tire, the exercise is impossible … taking into account parameters as numerous as the bike, the terrain, the driving conditions, the driver … everything happens mainly by feeling and you have to transcribe your impressions . How to test it without subjectivity? With … a comparison and on-board measurements…

A comparo

The ideal is to compare mounts of the same “Sport” segment on identical motorcycles. This is what Dunlop offered us … with R1 mounted respectively in SportSmart, Power Pure (the latest from Michelin) and BT016 … and to avoid having impressions linked to a single machine, GSXRs 1000 … in FULL power … also with three mounts.

The R1 will be tested on track – wet – very wet even (flooded would be the right word) and on the road. GEX on dry track only.

And to provide a little more information, not subjective this time, the test is coupled to an electronic box with data acquisition allowing to know: speed in km / h, gear engaged, revolutions / min, angle of inclination of the motorcycle, lateral acceleration … at each position of the circuit, to the nearest ten centimeter (almost thanks to the GPS coupling and prior recognition of the circuit).

Outdoor temperature 8 ° C. Track temperature 2 ° C.

The engines start; I start with the PowerPure. We get on the track, flooded … in cool mode. The Marshall opens slowly in front. You must already discover the circuit, appreciate the big curves but also the hairpin which is only taken first..

Dunlop SportSmart in the rain

The first lap goes barely faster than the slow one … by spotting the places with just a trickle of surface water and the others where the thickness seems to give the impression that a torrent has passed by there (in watering is constant but not uniform in different places). The first round gives you confidence. I relax slightly for the second lap and accelerate slowly. I test the braking on the next turn.

Herve Moineau told us that the wet was in my head last night during the briefing … anyway…

The fully wet R1 picks up speed. It seems to hang on. In the third round, it confirms that we are hanging on well and we relax a little more. The tire definitely gives you confidence. In fact, the sensations come quite quickly and the pace accelerates without putting the tire at fault..

After a few more laps, we come back to the stand and I switch to SportSmart. The circuit has been discovered but we start with caution with this new, different ride. The feeling is just as good with the SportSmart … with even a slight improvement, without being able to say what it is based on. Is it because the circuit has been spotted? Is it just a logical continuation? In any case, the SportSmart gives an impression of security and confidence in the impressive rain to such an extent that we find ourselves driving faster than with the previous one..

After returning to the pits, I switch to BT016 and go back to the track, feeling confident. Without putting on the throttle hard, I feel the rear skidding, and I reduce the throttle instinctively. On the next change of angle, the tire does not provide the same confidence, offering noticeably less grip. The other turns will confirm these impressions and will tend to make me give up my hand.

Dunlop SportSmart in wet

The group returns to the stand and the Dextra engineer intervenes, computer on and curves on the screen. Not all the motorcycles were equipped, but a journalist colleague had the equipment on board. It is then time to compare the feelings and sensations, occurring during the different curves, and the graphs and data … knowing that the feelings of the different journalists were similar, some being just more precise than others on certain points. The feelings can now be seen on the screen … materialized in particular by the speed of passage in curves. The SportSmart comes first, followed very very closely by the Power Pure, but relegating the BT016 behind. Because if the average speed differences between SportSmart and Power Pure are only of the order of 2 or 3 km / h, the BT016 is more than 10 km / h below the other two. It is instructive here to see the acquisition of data confirming simple impressions, which one might think only subjective..

The dry in … FULL POWER !

We leave the wet track for the big track, in the dry, but still in 8 ° C. The wind blows outside and gives the impression that it is much colder. The GEX are all well aligned, all in Full Power, to measure the efficiency of the tires with all the cavalry. There are still the three mounts available, all inflated to the same pressure, to the manufacturer’s recommendations: 2.5 at the front, 2.9 at the rear..

A Marshall once again opens the way … for discovery. Large, the Mireval circuit turns out to be a faster than technical circuit, offering two straight lines, a very large curve, two smaller curves and a fast hairpin. There is really plenty to exploit and push the tires to their limits … if there is a limit.

I start with the SportSmart this time. The sighting lap is enough to start opening, on a regular basis. Stable in a straight line, including under strong acceleration, the tire offers round and healthy behavior in curves. The grip is excellent and at no time does the tire seem to reach the slightest limit. In the end, the tire is homogeneous, giving particular confidence.

Dunlop SportSmart on track

I then switch to Power Pure. In all fairness, I must admit that I saw few differences with the SportSmart. I could say that I preferred to ride with the SportSmart, but it’s very subtle and maybe subjective in the end..

If I finish with the BT016s, they offer good grip and good behavior in the dry. At the most, do I feel like I’m diving faster in the turns while the SportSmart seems more progressive and natural?.

Some wanted to try to lower the pressure, as we often do on the circuit, going down to 2.1 at the front in particular. The feeling was rather a little more heaviness without bringing anything better to another level. In fact, the pressure drop that was often done in the past when we went on the circuit corresponded to the need to raise the temperature of the tires more quickly, knowing that at this time, the tire deforms more, works more and can therefore change. the behavior of the motorcycle also.

Dunlop SportSmart after the circuit

On the road

The road test ends the tire test over these 3 days of presentation. It is no longer a question here of comparing, but simply of checking, validating the impressions felt on the circuit the day before … in the dry, and in R1 this time..

The weather is fine, and cold in the morning. The temperature at least is stable below 8 ° C. The road will take us on the expressway, on the national, departmental and small winding road … to make you dream of having a supermot or a big roadster … and where the power of the R1 requires more control and precision. On the tire side, on the other hand, whatever the road, its condition, or its shape, they have always created confidence, from start to finish..

Additional Info

The SportSmart is available in the dimensions

  • 120 / 60ZR17
  • 120 / 70ZR17
  • 160 / 60ZR17
  • 180 / 55ZR17
  • 190 / 50ZR17
  • 190 / 55ZR17


The estimated public price for a 120/180 train is € 269
TT C outside installation.


The SportSmart seems to have solved the squaring of the circle … offering excellent grip in dry and wet with a rapid warm-up. On the longevity side, Dunlop announces based on an independent study (Dekra *) that the SportSmart is on average 20% better than the PowerPure, the Diablo Rosso and the BT016, with almost as many kilometers as a Power2CT. However, keep in mind that a SportSmart is about 20% less kilometers than a Roadsmart. It is also a less comfortable tire than a touring tire like the Roadsmart. But on a sports car, comfort is less than on a road, so this criterion drops. In fact, the SportSmart is an excellent answer to the motorcyclist who wants to have a tire with excellent grip on the road, and who also wants to do the track in a punctual way. If the tire completely replaces the use of the Qualifier RR (which disappears from the Dunlop tariff this month), it will exist in cohabitation with the Qualifier II. Because the Qualifier II is a global product while SportSMart is intended only for the European market, with the constraints of roads and the use of motorcyclists who ride on a more varied type of roads (or even tracks). The tire is currently at the dealers at the recommended price of 270 euros the fitment in 120/70 and 180/70 (the 190 is significantly more expensive).

Strong points Weak points
  • Quick warm-up
  • Efficient drainage
  • Longevity to be confirmed

Longevity tests and biker opinions to come on the long-term tire test (initiated in 1999).

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