Dunlop D616 Amanda’s Tire Review14 May 2013, Posted by Reviews & More in
Taking a sport bike off-road offered me many challenges, too many to list in fact. But one of the most intriguing (and the one that kept me awake at night) was, “Do they even make a Dual Sport style tire for a CBR?”
Luckily, Misty our Rep. from Dunlop had an idea of a tire that she though would suit me quite well. She explained the D616 wasoriginally designed for the Buell Ulysses, a bike built as a noble attempt at an adventure sport bike. These tires were therefore designed with a high level of cut and wear resistance, just in case someone dares to go off-road. But also kept true to their sport bike audience with incredible stability and cornering ability.
Skeptical was not the only word to explain how I was feeling. But as soon as I saw the D616’s in person, I was immediately taken with just their appearance on my bike. All of the sudden my tame CBR looked as if it could eat gravel, chew mud, and would immediately intimidate any other bike on the road. Seriously mean and tough looking, with just their addition, she became an apocalyptic ready machine. But the real test was to come; would I feel as comfortable on them as I do my Q2’s?
First ride out of Lexington Motorsports where they were mounted, and the aspect ratio on the D616’s made for a flatter, wider, larger contact patch, which also had the benefit of dropping the height of my bike by about a quarter inch. Doesn’t sound like much, but to me at only 5’2″ it sent me from tip toes, to sitting on the ball of my foot and a bit more. VERY helpful for the off-road bits. But I also notice that even though these tires were new with no scrub time, I had complete confidence in them. They just stuck to the road, my bike was planted.
We get into Jellico and hit the trail, our first introduction to the TAT is gravel, lots of deep, gravel. And while I am at what I think is an appropriate speed and amount of caution, I look back to find Zach on his adventure bike far behind me, struggling in the gravel. The D616’s became know as my “Gravel Eaters” and my “Moses Tires” from that day forward, as it seemed the gravel just parted ways under me. I was curious though as to how puncture resistant they might be, surely they would chunk out on the logging roads and in the tougher stuff to come. I was wrong.
And then, Hurricane Issac hit, and it hit right on top of us. We knew we had to move, so we did, but apparently the storm had the same idea and it kept chasing us. Luckily these tires shed water at a ridiculous rate. I was cruising at highway speeds in the downpour and through standing water with complete confidence. I have never trusted a tire to get me through the wet like this. Until now.
Zach (my fellow rider) kept telling me in my headset that I looked like a car with how much water my tires were shedding. He was forced to ride beside or far behind me or otherwise be soaked. I later learned the tread pattern was derived from wet-track road racing tires. Makes sense. I’ve heard these are used quite a bit down in Florida for this very reason.
So my opinion? I’d run them all the time. For many reasons.
I kept the tires on until about a week ago, a full 8 months, and over 3,000 miles after the completion of the TAT. About 4,400 miles and they’ve seen all of the above plus snow and ice in Reno. When riding in twisty mountain roads gravel in a turn was no longer a threat, it was merely a fly to be swatted by my tires that allowed me to take whatever line I wanted. When I visited Las Vegas with it’s horribly slippery and oily roads, I was left feeling even more confidence in the D616’s, as they never faltered, never slipped, they just stuck to the road. Even as fellow riders I was with got a bit squirrely.
I’d recommend them to anyone in a rainy area, as well as anyone about to do something crazy like go off road on a sport bike, or anyone who lives in an area with not so favorable road conditions, and let’s not forget those customizers who want a totally different aggressive look for their bike.
Dunlop said they had a tire I’d be interested in, one that wouldn’t let me down and would get me and my beloved CBR through the TAT and home. And they were right. The D616’s worked brilliantly.