Dunlop Trailmax Mission ADV Tires Review

| October 3, 2020

The nature of today’s high-horsepower ADV bikes places high demands on tires, and riders typically have to choose between on-road or off-road performance, longevity or ruggedness. When Dunlop set out to design their new Trailmax Mission 50/50 ADV tire, they wanted to achieve knobby-like performance off-road and superior on-road traction while still offering exceptionally high mileage.

Dunlop Trailmax Mission ADV front tire
The Mission front features a different tread pattern compared to the rear.

It sounded impossible, so Dunlop engineers worked alongside the engineers at Falken Tires. Both companies are owned by Sumitomo Rubber, and Falken has had great success with their Wildpeak A/T3W off-road-oriented light truck tire, which focuses on off-road capabilities without sacrificing on-road performance. After years of research, which included attending ADV rallies, riding every competitor offering available, surveying countless customers, and testing over 30 different prototypes, Dunlop has come to market with a truly revolutionary high-mileage, off-road-capable 50/50 tire.

Dunlop Trailmax Mission ADV rear tire
Dunlop’s Trailmax Mission ADV rear tire is all about durability and traction.

One look at this tire and you can tell that it’s a different breed, and the closer you look, the more you’ll notice the subtle differences. For example, different front sizes have slightly altered tread patterns so that Dunlop can achieve the same performance standards whether the customer is riding a 160 HP beast or a less aggressive 90-ish HP model. These machines place different demands on the tires, and Dunlop wants to ensure that every possible application performed the same as the next. Additionally, the tires are bias and bias belted, and depending on the target application, belts were added or removed in order to gain additional off-road traction on bikes that are likely to spend more time off-road than others. The Trailmax Missions are tubeless but can be run with tubes if necessary and are available in a wide range of sizes to fit everything from large ADV bikes to scramblers and crossovers.

Dunlop Trailmax Mission ADV Tires | The Lowdown

Dunlop adventure tire lineup chart
The Dunlop Mission’s are designed as a true 50/50 ADV tire.

Stand-Out Feature: High-mileage 50/50 tire with excellent off-road grip

MSRP: Front: $131.21-$219.63, Rear: $129.70-$285.23

wheelie-up Excellent stability and traction on-road
wheelie-up Surprisingly good performance off-road
wheelie-up High mileage
endo-down Super stiff sidewalls make them nearly impossible to mount by hand

Dunlop Trailmax Mission ADV Tires | Rider Analysis

The first thing you need to know about the Mission is this: Don’t try to mount these things by hand. Do yourself a favor and let your local dealer, or a friend with a tire machine, do it for you. The side walls are stiffer than any tire I’ve ever had the “pleasure” of mounting, and I’ve mounted a lot of tires. The good news is that the stiffness pays off big-time in performance and stability on the road.

Six-thousand miles and the Mission’s are still ticking!

With my bloody knuckles still aching, I headed out for what would be a long, long relationship with my two new friends from Dunlop. I was told to run these tires until they’re gone. I didn’t think it would take nearly as long as it did. I usually expect to get anywhere from 4000 to 6000 miles on ADV tires, so when I blew past 6000 miles with plenty of tread life left, I called the office to let them know that this was going to take longer than expected. That’s fantastic news for prospective customers, and it meant that I’d “have to” keep riding, but I’m not complaining since these tires are stiff, sticky, and super stable on the pavement. Even when the road is wet, the Missions stick and give plenty of warning before slightly losing grip, which they recover quickly.

Stellar on-road performance usually translates to less-than-stellar off-road performance, but that’s not at all the case with the Trailmax Mission. For a 50/50 tire, I found them to be as good, if not better than, some much more aggressive offerings that I’ve tested recently. In looking at the tire, you wouldn’t think that it would have anywhere near the off-road grip that it does, but I rode them on everything from steep, rocky Jeep trails to muddy forest-service roads, and I never felt like I needed any more traction than what they delivered. The wraparound side lugs don’t look like much, but the stepped design that Dunlop incorporated really hooks up well in the ruts and mud. The offset center lugs propel my big GSA up the trail without complaining.

You know the old saying: put your money where your mouth is. Well, I’ll be throwing down my own hard-earned cash for another set of Dunlop Trailmax Mission tires—they’re that good. I have a little over 7000 miles on them, and they’re just now getting that inevitable cupping on the front, and the rear is nearing the end of what was a long life. The on-road performance coupled with their incredible off-road capabilities and long life, make them totally worth the money.CN ~Keith Dowdle

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