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Dunlop Sportmax Q2 Tire Comparison Review

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Dunlop Sportmax Q2 tire also looks virtually identical to its road race tire.
The Dunlop Sportmax Q2 tire also looks virtually identical to its road race tire.
Just like Avon, the folks at Dunlop only offered one model for us to test in this tire comparison. Why? Because it claimed that the Dunlop Sportmax Q2 is designed to do everything a sport motorcyclist could ever ask. (Yes, it sounded fishy to us, too).
Looking at the tire spec chart shows that the Dunlops are priced at just under $250 at Motorcycle-Superstore.com. Not only does that give them the honor for being the most affordable rubber in the A Group but they are also cost less than two models in the B Group (Bridgestone BT-016 and Pirelli Rosso). Upon weighing each tire we learned that the Q2 was the second-heaviest in its class at 9 lb 8.8 oz. On the other hand the rear hoop was lightest in its class and the entire field.

The profile of the Q2s appears slightly more triangulated than the competition when viewed on the motorcycle. This translated to reduced steering effort on the road. Although they appear pointier than the Michelins they aren’t quite as sharp during turn-in but it’s extremely close. Straight-line and braking stability weren’t affected and were flawless. We also noticed that they have a relatively “normal” feel so it doesn’t take much time to get acclimated to the way they feel when cornering. Warm-up time was in the same league as the other name brands and the rider could have their knee down within a half a lap or sooner.

In terms of the tire carcass the Dunlops feel almost identical to the Pirellis if not for just a hair stiffer. The rear tires actually feel pretty much equal but the Dunlop front hoop feels like it has a bit more stiffness. Considering how close the traction levels are from both models it’s really difficult to say if the front Dunlop is better than the Pirelli and it really comes down to more rider preference than anything. If you’re seeking the most rigid feel than you should go with the Dunlop. However if you like just a bit of flex, the Pirellis will be for you. On the road the Dunlops do deliver an ever-so slightly firmer ride but again we’re splitting hairs here the differences are that small.

Waheed tests out Dunlops Sportmax Q2 tire.
Considering its excellent price tag and fantastic overall performance, the Dunlop Q2 is the tire we’d purchase for our sportbike.
Around the Streets the Q2s ran right with the Pirellis and were only 0.37 seconds adrift of their fastest time. However at the big track they trailed in the A Group, ending up behind all but the Avon with a lap time of 1’33.53. It is important to note that the time was only 0.26 second of the BT-003RS and 0.33 second off the Michelin. Even still it was just over two seconds off the time of the Pirelli. One of the reasons the Dunlop’s were adrift at the big track is they don’t offer quite as much feel as the Pirellis, which makes them more difficult to trust in really fast turns.

Just like the other big name brand tires in this test the Q2s deliver a very high-level of performance for a street tire. But next to how rigid they feel the thing that really sets them apart from the competition is the price. Simply put the Dunlops are an unbelievable value for the money making them the tire we’d purchase when we need a new set of tires for our sportbike.


“Insane amounts of traction. Heat-up time is also astounding. The front tire feels like it has a very triangular profile. It turns in aggressively but is predicable with perfect stability. Both tires feel firm and do not move around at all yet they deliver good feel. Rear tire has insane traction everywhere. Feel wasn’t as good as the Power One or Pirelli and the carcass felt stiffer. Grip was consistent and never tapered. It actually felt like I could race on these tires.”

The Dunlop Sportmax Q2 is available at Motorcycle Superstore.
Front Tire MSRP: $155.95 - $160.95
Rear Tire MSRP: $192.95 - $272.95

2010 Motorcycle Tire Comparo Streets of Willow Lap Times
2010 Motorcycle Tire Comparo Willow Springs Lap Times

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Dunlop Sportmax Q2 Highs & Lows
  • Phenomenal grip
  • Reasonable price
  • Enhances steering
  • Could have more feel
Dunlop Sportmax Q2 Front Tire
Superstore Price: $96.99 - $99.99
Dunlop Sportmax Q2 Rear Tire
Superstore Price: $119.99 - $169.99

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MCUSA Bart   March 31, 2014 06:31 AM
Random00, good news for you... The logistics to pull this test off are a bit daunting, but a tire shootout is on the agenda for 2014. We've already got tires flooding the office and hope to get something completed later this summer as soon as time allows. Thanks for your feedback.
Random00   March 29, 2014 01:51 PM
How about doing an update of this for 2014????
NCRider -pressures - same as ohio  November 16, 2010 02:36 PM
Running the tires at the same pressures rather than what is recommended by Honda seems silly. Honda set those pressures based on the OEM tire, not the vast range of tires you tested. I've been waiting for a test like this for some time so it's kind of disappointing that it's not as conclusive as it would be with the optimal settings. However, it's interesting to see how they perform when pumped up to the max, which for the street riding folks, prolongs the tire life.
Chris -Q2 vs K3  November 15, 2010 05:38 PM
I've run the Q2 on my Superduke and RSV4, and have logged some fast miles on them on a friend's 01' R1. Overall, they're a great tire, and for the money, you can't lose. My RSV4 came with OEM Metzeler K3's, which are the Metzeler-branded Supercorsa SPs. The K3/SPs are definitely good tires, and they seemed to wear a slower than the Q2s. I managed 3900 miles including a ~40 fast-intermediate track day laps on the Metzelers, whereas the Q2's are close to being done at 2600 miles. The Q2 front is cupped on the shoulder and the rear's sides are close to the wear bars. I saw similar rear wear on my KTM as well, but not the same front wear. Overall, the Q2's warm-up really quickly, wear is ok, and wet grip is acceptable. I only wish Dunlop made a slightly harder-compound Q2 rear, or perhaps a single-compound version.
Simon -What was wear like?  November 3, 2010 12:39 AM
good review but when comparing prices how they wear makes a big difference too. I run a cheap Conty Motion on the back of my Aprilia on the street and can burn it right to the edge and I see bikes with expensive rubber with big chicken strips so go figure?
stouty -good review  November 2, 2010 07:04 PM
I appreciate the comparison, tires are always a head scratcher. This will help with my fresh mounts come this spring, I've been running Michelins this year, tried Shinkos last year, I'm thinkin Dunlops will probably fill the bill next year.
ohio -Why use the same pressures in all tires?  November 2, 2010 11:58 AM
Since the tires vary in carcass stiffness, wouldn't it have made more sense to use pressures recommended by the tire MFGs, rather than by Honda? You inevitably were running some tires at their ideal pressure and temp, and others at a suboptimal pressure.
rob mcallister -dt-175  November 1, 2010 04:21 PM
don't use a bar graph unless it starts at zero...