Just before I set out on my trip to Sturgis this year, I decided to throw a new set of shoes on the ZX-10R. I’d heard all the hype surrounding the Dunlop Q2’s when these tires were released a while back, what with the media claiming they were great, resulting in faster lap times and so on and so on.
But the hype still left me wondering about the tire’s abilities on the street. I was pretty certain they performed quite well at the hands of experts on the racetrack, but I had questions about how well they would operate under a bit of a whack job like myself (especially if I were riding past the edge of my limited abilities in a far-from-perfect environment).
One of the things that attracted me to the Q2s was the dual compound construction — that longwearing compound in the center makes for good highway mileage and the soft outside lateral grip compound is there for when you want to do your Nicky Hayden impersonations. I don’t usually get hung up on mileage from my tires because I know I have an aggressive riding style and a fairly high horsepower motorcycle. That generally translates into not-so-great mileage, especially if you like stick tires (softer compound). I figure I’m on the bike to have fun so I’m not going to let a few miles burnt off (literally) the tires get my britches twisted.
So about a week before I left on my Sturgis pilgrimage, I fitted up a pair of the new Dunlop tires and pointed myself west. I figured it would be a perfect test, what with 800 miles of mind-numbing highway riding followed by as many twisty roads I could fit into my work schedule for the following month.
We encountered heavy rain on the way out, which didn’t bother the Q2s in the least. I wasn’t riding aggressively, but nevertheless I felt completely stable in a pretty rough downpour. I arrived in Sturgis and gave the tires the once-over and everything looked good. No excessive wear from the boring, but easy ride out.
The next day I started to put the boots on the new skins. Like I said before, I’m far from an expert but I’m not short on crazy. I was railing through corners, braking at the wrong times and was anything but smooth on the gas, trying to yank the front wheel skyward whenever possible.
The motorcycle tires handled everything I tossed at them and didn’t flinch. The more I pushed them the more confident I became. Lean angles and corner entry speeds that would have bothered me before felt great, and had me grabbing handfuls of throttle as quickly as possible. Finally after a few weeks of flogging on our morning canyon blast, a few herds of deer brought me back to reality and I slowed back down to a respectable speed.
Back home in Iowa I have continued the beating of the Dunlops in less than ideal conditions. We’re talking two-lane roads here, littered with gravel and mud from the local combines, cracks and heaved blacktop from the cold Midwest winters. And these bad boys still feel like a million bucks. Six thousand miles in and they are looking surprisingly good. In fact, I’d wager they’re good for another 3,000-4000 miles. And you still won’t be able to wipe that ear-to-ear grin off my face.