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Not just high-performance

Dunlop Trailmax Meridian



With its new range of tires, Dunlop aims to conquer not only the hyper-sport market, but also the off-road and retro sports roadster market.


Virginia Poli

Dunlop's sporting vocation is clear: not only because of the huge success achieved in some of the top competitions around the world, but also due to some important partnerships – for example Dunlop is the sole tire supplier in the Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships. In the last two years, Dunlop launched 5 new products dedicated to the hyper-sport segment. Yet, the company continues to offer a diverse portfolio of products designed to meet every need, and additional tires have been planned for the second half of 2019. "Dealers and riders alike, must have noticed the speed of development in the hyper-sport market over the last two years, but our passion for innovation goes far beyond the sports segment," comments Edouard Carpentier, general manager of Dunlop Motorcycle Europe. The motocross segment, for example, deserves particular attention seeing that Dunlop achieved many significant results in a variety of competitions: within this category, Dunlop enriches its Geomax range launching the new MX53, a model designed for hard terrains that will replace the older MX52.

Compared to its predecessor, the Geomax MX53 has better cushioning and a new compound, making it suitable for a wide range of terrains.

On the other hand, two additional new models are ready to take the road in two fast growing sectors, off-road, dedicated to adventure motorcycles, and retro sports roadsters. "The off-road adventure segment is an interesting but challenging segment. Dunlop has chosen to invest here with its Trailmax Meridian," says Luca Davide Andreoni, marketing manager of Dunlop Motorcycle Europe. The new TT100 GP Radial, instead, is dedicated to sports bikes with a distinctly classic style. "These new tires are Dunlop’s answer to rising global demands for safety, quality and riding pleasure for all types of riders. Dunlop's commitment to innovation is unceasing," adds Carpentier.


The dawn of a new adventure: Dunlop’s Trailmax Meridian kicks up dust

After "challenging the research and development team", to use the words of Luca Davide Andreoni, the company came up with its Trailmax Meridian. Positioned above the TrailSmart MAX model, this new tire is designed to meet the specific needs of adventure bikes. In fact, the market speaks clearly: according to a number of researches, motorbike riders are increasingly moving towards adventure bikes, choosing models able to guarantee comfort and manoeuvrability on easy routes and high-performance on difficult terrains, even off-road, maintaining the high standard of performance we come to expect from powerful high-end models. As Andreoni notes, "in the last ten years we have seen a change in the market: sports bikes used to be the top selling models, while now adventure bikes is the fastest growing segment. Motorbike riders are attracted to the high riding position and the ability to travel long distances, and they can, at least in theory,  face some challenging off-road routes”.

According to a consumer research conducted by the company and reported by product manager Dmitri Talboom, those who opt for this type of bike need a vehicle that guarantees them excellent durability, for long trips as well as home-work trips, and tires are called upon to guarantee the same kind of performance. The Trailmax Meridian excels in sporty riding: tested at the Mireval circuit in France, the rear tire recorded a 6% in a straight line, and more than 15% when riding through corners. The front tire did even better, with the advantage of being able to synchronise the front and rear tire rotation.

To make it suitable for all terrain conditions, even off-road, the tread pattern of the Trailmax Meridian has been designed to evacuate water effectively even at high speed, while maintaining a high level of grip. The Trailmax Meridian has also been designed with an innovative ‘ice-ax’ tread pattern that grips gravel, increases traction on unpaved roadseven compared to the current TrailSmart MAX. Under the tread, the high silica compound, developed with Dunlop MultiTread technology, is combined with Rayon Ply tire casing, which handles heat better, minimising warm up times and achieving the more efficient use of the tread compound. This provides extreme wet grip while maintaining the tire's flexibility even at low temperatures, the casing provides high mileage and faster warm-up times for year-round adventure riders. As far as the rear tire is concerned, the designing team succeeded in increasing its overall rigidity, thus obtaining a sporty behaviour and greater traction thanks to the new central compound which extends well under the shoulder.

The new Meridian Trailmax includes a wide range of models and is available in 4 front and 3 rear sizes.


Retro appeal and modern technology: Dunlop unveils the new TT100 GP Radial

Another market segment that is proving to have great potential is that of retro roadsters. Classic lines in a modern key, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, these two wheelers are increasingly gaining a wider audience of enthusiasts.

To meet the needs of this particular niche market, on August 17, during the Classic TT - a motorcycle race held every year on the Isle of Man - Dunlop displayed its new TT100 GP Radial tire, specifically dedicated to the modern-classic segment. And if the technology of this tire speaks a modern language, its name recalls a legendary past, especially on Isle of Man. Among the many victories, the 1969 edition has remained in history, with Malcolm Uphill, on his Triumph Bonneville equipped with Dunlop K81 tires, crossing the finish line with the fastest lap at an average speed of 100.37 miles per hour. For the first time, the 100 mph wall had been broken with a standard tire on that circuit, and since then Dunlop has changed its name from K81 to TT100 to celebrate that important achievement. Not only that: the tire remained in production, to underline the company's interest in meeting the needs of the owners of classic motorcycles.

The Dunlop TT100 Radial retains all the classic appeal of its illustrious predecessor, but in terms of performance is able to cope with the demanding needs of the most technologically advanced modern bikes. The tread retains the classic design, except for a few minor changes to increase rigidity and cornering precision, but the main innovations must be found under the tread, where the structure and the radial casing guarantee safe riding. The front tire, in line with current trends, has the advantage of making the bike feel very stable in all situations, a vital asset when dealing with the - not always easy – task of riding in the city. The rear tire, on the other hand, uses Dunlop JointlessBelt (JLB) technology, which eliminates overlaps in the top belt, thus increasing the contact patch. The silica contained in the TT100 Radial's compound improves performance even at low temperatures with greater grip and safety for the rider. The tire’s lifespan also benefits thanks to Dunlop’s unique polymer. The TT100 Radial is currently available in 3 sizes at the front and 3 at the rear, ready to be fitted to over 60 motorcycle models from 16 different manufacturers.

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