New Dunlop Sportmax Q3 Introduces Carbon Fiber to Tires

Dunlop's new Sportmax Q3 replaces their successful Sportmax Q2, with highlights being an adjusted tread design with fewer but longer grooves, and the introduction of carbon fiber, already a favorite material for many hard parts, to tire sidewalls.

Dunlop says:

The introduction of the Dunlop Sportmax® Q2® in 2009 set the bar higher than ever for sportbike tires. This amazing tire immediately established an indisputable position as the sportbike tire of choice among riders in the know. Featuring a racetrack-proven heritage second to none, the Sportmax Q2 cemented its credentials as a superior street-going tire that was equally at home on the track. Publications such as Ultimate Motorcycling and Sport Rider magazine chose the Sportmax Q2 as the best tire in comprehensive sport tire shootouts. No less an authority than Dunlop-sponsored former AMA Road Racing champion Jason Pridmore quickly adopted this tire for exclusive use at his STAR Motorcycle Riding Schools, which are conducted at tracks all around the U.S.A. After experiencing how well the Q2 performed under such extreme sport conditions Pridmore said, “I know Dunlop will make a better tire in the coming years, but I honestly don’t know how it gets any better than the Q2 we now have.”
Well, meet the all new Sportmax Q3, the next-generation successor to the highly praised Sportmax Q2. And in response to musings about how the Q2 could be bettered, consider this: not only does the Sportmax Q3 deliver next-generation performance and incorporate Dunlop’s new Carbon Fiber Technology (CFT), it also represents an outstanding value, which makes it a winner twice over. Thanks to advances in the efficiency of Dunlop’s manufacturing technology and processes in Buffalo, NY, the Sportmax Q3 will carry a manufacturer’s suggested retail price identical to that of the Sportmax Q2. And that’s great news for sportbike enthusiasts who ride hard and also want to keep costs down as they rack up many pleasant miles enjoying the full capabilities of their bikes.
A Pattern of Success
The performance advantages with the Sportmax Q3 tie in directly to the success Dunlop has earned with the Sportmax® D211™ GP-A in AMA Pro Road Racing. Immediately obvious is the new tread pattern on the Q3, which is a planned outgrowth of the tread pattern found on the DOT-Approved D211 GP-A race tire used in three classes of AMA Pro Road Racing. However, there’s a neat bit of design brilliance that makes the Sportmax Q3 tread pattern significantly superior for the variable conditions encountered in street applications.
Specifically, this new tread pattern still utilizes Dunlop’s famous cosecant curve, but this new rendition features fewer grooves that are longer in length. So even though these tires look closer akin to a GP-A or a racing slick than ever before, extensive track testing proves that these extended-length grooves provide the key for greatly enhanced wet-weather performance. These long grooves help route water away more effectively from the contact patch, and this efficient evacuation of water offers a gain in wet performance over the Q2.

The Carbon Fiber Difference
The Sportmax Q3 delivers impressive performance in dry conditions. And this performance has taken a step forward in the Q3 thanks to the novel application of Dunlop’s new Carbon Fiber Technology (CFT), a carbon fiber reinforcement element in the tire sidewalls. As many people know, carbon fiber is a strong material composed mostly of carbon atoms. These carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber, and this alignment creates a high strength-to-volume ratio.
The many attributes of carbon fiber--high stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance and low thermal expansion--make it a great match for application in the Sportmax Q3. Extensive Dunlop testing shows that the Sportmax Q3 exhibits exceptional cornering stability especially at high lean angles, responsive and precise steering characteristics, and predictable and smooth transitional-steering performance for more confidence-inspiring handling.
The Road Racing Advantage
The new Sportmax Q3 represents yet another direct benefit yielded from Dunlop’s AMA Pro Road Racing involvement. As the control tire supplier for AMA Pro Road Racing, Dunlop invested in new tire-producing machinery necessary to accommodate race tire production at Dunlop’s Buffalo, NY, manufacturing facility. These same high-tech machines are used to produce the all-new Q3 rear tire.
Intuitive Response Profile
The new Sportmax Q3 is an extension of Dunlop’s highly successful Intuitive Response Profile (IRP) design. In general, IRP tires offer phenomenal steering and handling characteristics thanks to a taller profile along with sides that taper in more aggressively. Cross-sectional analysis reveals this design creates a larger contact patch when cornering. Dunlop engineers closely evaluated the contact patch pressure distribution--especially at full lean angles--to help produce a tire capable of high lean angles and cornering speeds for great sportbike performance.
MT Technology
As with the Sportmax Q2 and many other Dunlop tires, the rear Sportmax Q3 also incorporates MT Multi-Tread™ technology in its design. All Dunlop tires with MT technology incorporate a tough, cool-running long-wearing compound in the center of the tread to provide enhanced straight-line stability and excellent traction under acceleration, plus long tread life. On the left and right sides of the tire face, lateral-grip compounds developed to enhance traction at moderate-to-maximum lean angles flank the longer-wearing center section.
Benefitting from the advancements made in Sportmax Q2 construction design, Dunlop engineers worked to optimize tire carcass construction in the front and rear Sportmax Q3 tires. The core goals focused on maintaining a very consistent contact patch that resisted the increased power, braking forces and cornering loads generated by modern 600cc and 1000cc high-performance motorcycles. The cut-breaker radial construction of the front Sportmax Q3 parallels that of previous Dunlop designs, with two nylon carcass plies and two aramid reinforcing belts for increased cornering stability and enhanced braking at high loads, plus a sport-oriented carcass stiffness to enhance steering response.
These constructions yield an optimum balance between a high level of tire compliance for greater ride comfort and increased carcass stiffness for enhanced tire stability and braking under high loads. The improved carbon fiber-reinforced tire sidewalls also add to cornering stability, responsive handling, precise steering and predictable transitional steering feel the rider gets from the tire while cornering. The rear Sportmax Q3 features continuously wound Jointless Band (JLB) for consistent tire diameter in all operating conditions.
Built on new-tech machinery and incorporating bright-think designs plus cutting-edge materials, the next-generation Sportmax Q3 is truly a worthy successor to the highly successful Sportmax Q2. Boasting new, elevated levels of performance in wet and dry conditions on the street as well as at the track, the Sportmax Q3 establishes an entirely new benchmark for performance in sporting tires. However, the fact that the Sportmax Q3 will have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price identical to the Sportmax Q2 is truly stunning news. It all serves as a sparkling testimony of Dunlop’s commitment to sportbike riders.
The Sportmax Q3 will be available in the U.S. in the spring of 2013 and will be offered in these sizes:

Dunlop Proving Grounds:
A One-of-a-Kind Facility in the U.S.

The process of creating a new tire incorporates much chemistry, physics and engineering, a measure of art and loads and loads of hard work. After the computer designing and lab work are completed, tires are then put to the real-world test. One place they are tested is at the Dunlop Proving Grounds (DPG) in Huntsville, AL.

Dunlop develops, evaluates and then builds motorcycle tires for the North American market here in the U.S. to best match U.S. riding styles and needs. Much of the development and evaluation process takes place here at DPG, a dedicated motorcycle-only tire-test facility and the only one of its kind in the U.S. using American-spec bikes. This 80-acre facility opened in 1989, and ongoing improvements to the road course, the wet-test track, the multiple Supercross and motocross tracks as well as a recently expanded off-road course make it a leading-edge tool for the real-world tire development. DPG is also the only dedicated wet-track test facility designed specifically for motorcycles in the U.S., which explains why AMA road racing teams test their wet setup there.

- DPG sits on 80 acres. That includes the building, road course and off-road area.
- The road course takes up 40 acres, and the off-road course sits on 35 acres.
- DPG was opened in 1989 and originally designed to accommodate passenger car and motorcycle tire testing.
- A decade later, DPG became a motorcycle tire-exclusive testing facility.
- Numerous changes to the shop/office area and track were implemented at that time.
- The short road handling course (also the portion used for wet handling) is 0.5 miles.
- The long road course is 1.3 miles.
- Total asphalt surface length is 4.0 miles.
- The off-road area includes a 3.0 mile enduro (woods) course, an outdoor-style national Motocross track and an indoor-style Supercross track.

Wet tire testing on the DPG skid pad is a delicate art.

Tire testing is an exacting and arduous business; DPG maintains numerous street and off-road test bikes, plus a full-on Suzuki Superbike to test race and track tires to the limit.

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