Dunlop K950 motorcycle tire first look: test model for dual sport
Bikers of the 1970s will recall that Japanese dual sport motorcycles were routinely fitted with block tires designed for the trial motorcycles observed. Although they had excellent wear characteristics, the off-road performance of trial-style tires often left something to be desired. Eventually, new models of dual sport tires appeared. Subsequently, block-style tires disappeared from the rims of dual-sport bikes in showrooms.
In recent years, avid off-road riders have discovered that test pattern rear tires can perform well in certain off-road circumstances. The stock rear tires for competition trails are a tubeless radial design that uses extremely soft compounds and very flexible sidewalls. Dunlop manufactures one of the best test tires seen in competition, the D803GP.
The D803 performs perfectly on a 160-pound track bike at a few mph, but not as well on a 100-pound heavier motorcycle traveling at much higher speeds. While extra air pressure helps, it compromises the traction search feature that users are looking for. In response, several tire manufacturers have developed test tires with stiffer sidewalls to meet the needs of dual sport enthusiasts. The Dunlop K950 is one of the options. However, it was not available in the United States until now.
America’s new Dunlop K950 is a road-approved dual sport tire designed for the toughest off-road conditions, exactly where trials bikes shine. Dunlop claims that “the K950 excels when the course or trail becomes hard, rocky, or littered with tree roots.”
For street driving, the Dunlop K950 skew ply puts more rubber on the pavement than a studded tire, and it rolls more easily on hard surface. In addition, the block pattern wears out much more slowly than a stud on the pavement. Compared to the D803GP, the K950 is designed for longer wear and can handle the higher horsepower of dual sport motorcycles.
We also expect to see the K950 on custom scrambler-style versions.
As is the case with rear tires for trial bikes, the Dunlop K950 is only available in one size: 4.00 x 18. We do not yet have a price for the K950.