‘Clean sheet’ design for Dunlop SportSmart MK3
The big news from Dunlop this spring is the imminent release of a new hypersport tyre range, the fifth it has introduced in the last two years. “Dunlop is now the freshest and most diverse range in the hypersport segment,” declares Carpentier when introducing the SportSmart Mk3. This successor to the SportSmart 2 Max is Dunlop’s most balanced hypersport product, and as such will be its biggest volume seller in the segment. The SportSmart Mk3 has been launched in one front and five rear sizes.
“The SportSmart 2 Max gave good performance, but this is a completely new tyre,” comments Edouard Carpentier, general manager of Goodyear Tire & Rubber’s motorcycle business in Europe. Dunlop’s tyre developers started with a clean sheet of paper and gave the latest generation product an entirely new construction and compound. Improving wet performance was a priority, and here compounding played a central role. Dunlop’s latest ‘Hi Silica’ and ‘Fine Carbon’ technologies were used, and in addition to improving wet grip their use has resulted in faster warm-up times.
The SportSmart Mk3 features an all-new Multi-Tread (MT) compound, with a trio of compounds in the rear tyre developed to give riders extra confidence in more challenging conditions. Dunlop says this contributes towards a 20 per cent gain in wet grip (comparison with Dunlop SportSmart2 Max in 120/70ZR17 front and 190/55ZR17 rear); similar gains were also seen in dry conditions.
The MT technology comprises a hard-wearing central tread compound providing strong traction which also runs underneath the softer shoulder compound to help stiffen the construction. The MT shoulder compound features Dunlop’s all-new wet grip resin, blended with the latest ‘Hi Silica’ and ‘Fine Carbon’ technologies. This exotic mixture is designed to give a fast warm-up time and allow riders to accurately feel the high cornering potential, even in colder weather.
The increased ratio of silica in the compound helps the tyre gain grip and traction on colder days. It has the added benefit of reducing rolling resistance, which improves tyre mileage. The use of fine carbon, which bonds with the polymers in the compound, speeds up the warm-up time. The fine molecules also bond with the road surface more accurately, which increases the contact area under heavy cornering.
The front tyre features the same wet-grip resin with ‘Hi Silica’ and ‘Fine Carbon’ technologies. This gives confidence and stability under heavy braking as well as allowing the rider to better judge the grip levels when turning at speed.
New tread pattern
Dunlop says the grooved pattern complements the compound technology by boosting wet grip without compromising mileage. “By maximising water evacuation but limiting the movement riders would feel on a conventional tread pattern, the SportSmart Mk3 provides exceptional handling in all road conditions, rapid warm-up and even wear for longer lasting performance.”
The SportSmart Mk3 brings together technologies from other members of Dunlop’s hypersport range. The Dynamic Front Formula builds on the innovation seen on the more track-orientated SportSmart TT, lowering steering effort and optimising turn-in grip. Dunlop’s Carcass Tension Control System (CTCS) controls casing stress distribution. This increases straight-line traction and provides improved feedback with the stability required for a demanding hypersport bike on a challenging road ride.
Dunlop’s Jointless Belt technology (JLB) has been well-proven in the brand’s extensive range of hypersport and sport touring tyres, offering extra casing reinforcement and reducing the tyre expansion at speed. This provides the rider with consistent and predictable feel.
These technologies combine with a new construction shape. Compared to Dunlop’s existing road-orientated hypersport tyre, the SportSmart2 Max, the cross-section of the tyre has a profile that increases the footprint when cornering, but also provides a more consistent contact patch as the tyre wears. This means there is little reduction in performance between a brand new and higher mileage tyre.
The SportSmart Mk3 sits in the Dunlop hypersport range alongside SportSmart TT (50/50 road/track use), D212 GP Racer (Track Day focused) and GP Pro D213 (the ultimate race tyre for championships that mandate road-legal tyres). The existing SportSmart2 Max will be repositioned as a mid-level hypersport tyre.