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ADV NewsDunlop Trailmax Raid Adventure Tire Review

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Adventure Tire Review

The new 40/60 ADV Tire seeks to bridge the gap between street & dirt performance.

Published on 12.22.2023

As Adventure Riders, we’re caught between the two diametrically opposed worlds of dirt and street riding. We want smoothness and longevity in an Adventure Tire, but we also need grip on every imaginable surface from gravel and mud to slick asphalt. With the ever-increasing popularity of adventure bikes, manufacturers have been clamoring to deliver the next do-it-all tire and Dunlop is one of the companies that’s out to answer the call with their latest model, the Trailmax Raid.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review
The Raid’s design was inspired by Dunlop’s D908 RR, an off-road focused tire characterized by the pronounced blocks on its tread, which are now a key part of the Raid’s profile. 

It was just three years ago when Dunlop came out with their all-new Trailmax Mission 50/50 adventure tire, which became highly popular thanks to its long-range wear characteristics and surprising off-road grip. Now the Trailmax Raid, rated 40% street / 60% dirt by Dunlop, sits alongside the Trailmax Mission in the company’s Adventure Tire lineup. While the two tires may seem to occupy a similar space in the market, they couldn’t look more different. Both carve out their own niche, with the Trailmax Mission focused more on versatility and longevity and the Trailmax Raid designed for adventure riders who are looking for a boost in off-road grip. 

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review
The all-new tire compound formula, used for the first time in a Dunlop motorcycle tire, contains an extremely high silica load. While a mix of resins and carbon black variants help reconcile conflicting compound requirements between road and off-road usage.

The Raid is not just another hardcore off-road tire though. It’s designed to handle long highway rides and twisty roads. Inspired by the Dunlop’s tried and tested D908RR off-road tire, the Trailmax Raid pays homage to the iconic chevron tread pattern. Although, delving into the details reveals a long list of next-level tech designed to give this newcomer an edge in the ever more competitive Adventure Tire segment. 

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review
Front Tread Pattern key features.

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Starting with the Raid’s advanced rubber compound, the all-new formula features highly dispersible high surface area silica to improve performance on wet surfaces, which also reduces the tire’s reliance on heat to give optimum grip. This compound includes a mix of resins and carbon black variants that help reconcile conflicting requirements between road and off-road use as well. 

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review
Rear tread pattern key features.

For better handling, Dunlop’s Carcass Tension Control System (CTCS) gives consistent tension to optimize the contact patch. In radial sizes, the Jointless Belt Construction (JLB) helps aid smoother handling while minimizing both distortion and excessive heat. Plus, the tire’s tread incorporates interconnected blocks for enhanced stability, with large, narrowly-spaced center blocks that further improve durability while helping reduce rolling road noise.

But beyond the brochure highlights, let’s dive into what really matters: How they perform.

How They Performed

Installation: For the test, we put a set of the Trailmax Raids on our Suzuki V-Strom 800DE test bike in sizes 90/90-21 for the front and 150/70R17 for the rear. Going into the installation, I was expecting a battle due to the Trailmax Missions being notoriously tough to mount. However, compared to the Missions, the Raids are a lighter tire with less rubber and a softer compound on the sidewall.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review

Further aiding tire installation was the radial construction of the 150mm rear, which makes the sidewall more compliant compared to the Missions’ bias-ply construction. Using our Rabaconda street tire changer, both front and rear tires went on drama free — significantly easier than the Heidenau K60 Rangers we recently installed.

On The Road: Having been impressed with the grippy Trailmax Missions for street riding, I was hoping to get similar performance from the Raids. While they weren’t as glued to the road as the Missions, the performance on the street was better than average for Adventure Tires in this 40% street /60% dirt range. You have to really be pushing the tires to get them to slide a bit and the soft compound is smooth and consistent when it does slip. Getting them leaned way over on the edge never caused any knobby wiggle and they stayed steady and predictable for the most part on spirited rides.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review
Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review

On the highway, the tires feel stable and don’t catch on every single crack in the road. I didn’t notice much noise either. They have a faint sound on pavement and every once in a while they get a fair bit louder but it wasn’t a nuisance that I ever thought much about. Overall the road manners were good.

What impressed me the most though was riding in the rain. These Trailmax Raids work as advertised on wet surfaces and it almost felt like I was riding with a rain tire with very little reduction in grip when riding. Even deliberate attempts to get the rear tire to spin on wet asphalt proved a challenge.

In The Dirt: Heading out on the trail, the Raids give a sturdy grip in semi-loose terrain. The rear tire has significantly more bite than the Missions in loamy dirt, mud or sand. It digs in rather than rolling around on top of it, providing good forward momentum and ensuring you don’t get stuck.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review
Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review

The softer rubber also allows the tire to contour better to rocks for excellent traction in hard terrain. And that high silica load in the rubber compound works very well at reducing slippage on wet rocks too. Traction is also pretty consistent when transitioning over to the edge of the tire.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review

For the front tire, it tracks steady in most off-road terrain. There’s a good amount of edge grip in loose soil, rocky trails and hardpack. Wet rocks and mud were a strong point for the front tire as well. However, there were some limitations in deeper sand.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review
Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review

On trails with more than three inches or so of sand I noticed some initial slip at turn-in that felt like it was going to tuck the front, then the tire would catch on and track steady through the rest of the turn. It’s not the most confidence inspiring tire in the sand for those who are less experienced. Experienced sand riders will push through that initial transition fairly quickly though, and for them it’s less of a concern. 

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review

Tire Longevity: After putting the Trailmax Raids through 1,166 miles of twisty pavement, sand, rocks, mud, and hardpack, plus a fair bit of highway miles in between, the overall percentage of asphalt to dirt mileage was somewhere in the range of 50/50. The initial tread measurements for the tires when new were 8.3mm front and 10mm rear. After completing the test, the tread depth dropped to 7.65mm in front and 7.32mm in the rear.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review
After over 1,166 miles on and off-road, the front tread measure went from 8.3 mm to 7.65 mm.

Assuming the tires are worn out with 1mm of tread depth left and a constant rate of wear, the front still had 92% of its tread left and the rear had 70%. Calculating that out, it would mean the front tire will wear out at around 13k miles and the rear at roughly 4k miles. That’s an impressive amount of miles for the front although pretty average for a rear adventure tire in the 40/60 range.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review
Rear tire wear was significantly more than the front, going from 10 mm to 7.32 mm.

Tires generally burn up more tread in the first part of their lifespan though and this bike was being tested aggressively, so these mileage numbers could be on the low side. As far as tire wear patterns, we didn’t see any chunking in the rear blocks, nor did we see any significant cupping on the front knobs. Overall, the Trailmax Raids seemed to wear very evenly across the tread and there was no squaring off. We also didn’t notice any significant drop off in grip as the tires wore down a bit.

Who Are They For?

The Raids are a great option for anyone who wants a solid performing Adventure Tire for both street and dirt riding, especially those who are looking to explore with their adventure bikes in more rugged terrain, and even more so if you live in an area where rain is a frequent occurrence.

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review

Our Verdict

As options in the 40/60 to 50/50 Adventure Tire range continue to grow, we’ve become spoiled with choice. Despite this, Adventure Riders appear to have an insatiable appetite for the next ‘best’ Adventure Tire. While there’s still no perfect tire that can do everything well, the Dunlop Trailmax Raids offer a new option with unique characteristics that fit the needs of a lot of riders. 

Dunlop Trailmax Raid Tire Review

It’s a versatile tire that offers high levels of control and confidence on both street and dirt. And while sand may not be their forte (at least in front), they make up for it with great performance on rain soaked asphalt or wet rocks. Longevity seems to be a mixed bag with a long-lasting front tire and just a tad above Continental TKC 80 range for the rear. As for their construction, they seem to be pretty solid for a knobby style tire, with less of a tendency to chunk, square off or cup, which bodes well for durability on rocky trails and long days on the highway.

What We Liked

  • Grippy on both street and dirt.
  • Good street manners for an Adventure Tire in this range.
  • Uniform tread wear characteristics.
  • Great performance for a knobby-style tire in wet conditions.
  • Tire installation was drama free.

What Could Be Improved

  • Front tire performance on sandy trails.
  • Rear tire longevity.

Trailmax Raid Specs

On-Road/Off-Road Rating: 40/60
Construction: Bias-ply construction for smaller tires. Radials with Jointless Belt Construction for larger sizes. 
Price: $147-$266 depending on the size.
Sizes Front: 110/80R19, 120/70R19, 90/90-21
Sizes Rear: 130/80-17, 140/80-17, 150/70R17, 170/60R17, 140/80-18, 150/70R18

Shopping Options

RevzillaRocky Mountain ATV/MC

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney
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Clint
Clint
December 22, 2023 9:04 pm

Thanks for the review. I hope I see better rear life on a 790 next season. These look great and should be fun.

Is that an oops in the title of the specs section at the end?

FreeFrogD
FreeFrog
January 3, 2024 10:25 am

Appreciate the thorough review. Despite the shorter lifespan, they sound like a winner for off-roading over my Trailmax Missions (which are pretty good for 50/50’s) on my venerable Tiger 800xc.

Daniel
Daniel
January 3, 2024 11:27 am

Newbie on off road tires here – enjoying the Missions on my Tiger 900 though.

Any advice or thoughts on mixing them – leave the Mission on the front and put the Raid on the rear? Was worried by your sandy trail concerns.

Daniel
Daniel
January 13, 2024 1:49 pm
Reply to  Rob Dabney

Thanks.

Christopher Johnson
Christopher Johnson
January 3, 2024 12:36 pm

New Mexico rider here. Fewer rainy days, more sandy routes. So what’s the preferred setup for a KTM 790 ADV R?

Christopher Johnson
Christopher Johnson
January 3, 2024 12:37 pm

ETA: looking for decent off-road performance, much less paved road noise, and good mileage. I know, aren’t we all?

Jeff FazioD
Jeff Fazio
January 3, 2024 1:50 pm

I work as a commercial technician for the big French tire company. They’re responsible for bringing out the first silica based tires for consumers in the passenger vehicle market.
I have 46 years experience on a bike and 35 years experience in the commercial side of the tire industry.
Any tire silica based has two unique features: really good wet weather contact and really poor tread life. It’s a trade-off. I’ve had the Michelin Anakee Wild tires in the past. Excellent in rain and snow. Awesome sticking on pavement. Just as well in the dirt.Low life in mileage.
I’ve been riding dual purpose and big adventure bikes for so many years I’m shocked when I hear others say, ‘loud’ or bumpy/sketchy in turns. I just am so tuned out to it.
Still the best tires I’ve had on my KTM 1190 advR would be the Heidenau K60s. Most people don’t know it but there are two versions of the K60. A silica based version for wet weather and the common version you’ll most likely see for sale. The clue to purchasing the silica base set is the rear is a more aggressive block and the common version is a single, center tread block. Nice again, low mileage on the silica based model.

Jeff FazioD
Jeff Fazio
January 4, 2024 7:58 am
Reply to  Rob Dabney

Up to about a year ago I had ordered a set of Revzilla. But it was an item that they were ordering from stock. In fact, if I remember correctly the tire threw them off. Both are casually marketed as the K60. What I had done was just googled it until I found the image I was familiar with (as I specifically wanted to run these for getting an idea of duration and I ride in a lot of wet, winter weather.)
Then I cross referenced the number to the solid block (rear) K60. Then just punched in the number and looked for the closest vendor.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate these tire reviews. Always looking. Personally, I like my K60s. I’ve run them in the interstates doing 75 in downpours. But I’m overly cautious in wet weather turns on pavement.

Bill Eakins
Bill Eakins
January 6, 2024 3:08 pm
Reply to  Jeff Fazio

So this Silica based tire and fast wear issue begs the question – why is Dunlop not offering a non-silica based rear variation for those who ride in mostly drier conditions and want LONG rear mileage??? If they know Silica added reduces rear life and imo 4000mi rear life is crap…do something to fix that for those of use who don’t really deal with rain. Am I’m I missing something here? At 4000 miles rear life with a Dunlpo… the Mitas E07 Dakar rear is still the king of rear tire long life and then run a mullet with a different more aggressive front tire. Alot of us do this these days. I’m guessing ALOT of 21″ fronts of this tire will sell vs fewer rear after this article.

Mark
Mark
June 10, 2024 11:38 am
Reply to  Bill Eakins

They do offer a tyre for exactly that. The trailmax missions. Which last forever, great in the dry and personally I find them a liability in the wet. Have not enjoyed them one single bit in the wet! So Dunlop does offer a tyre for exactly what you’re looking for.

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