Dunlop SportSmart TT’s tyre review. 5 track days on my Suzuki GSXR 750 & still got incredible grip
At the start of 2022 I was in the market for a track bike. I wanted a k6 onwards Suzuki GSXR 750. After a shaky start (that’s another story), I didn’t get the bike I wanted until July, well into my track day season.
On the plus side our friends at Dunlop helped me out with a pair of their latest SportSmart TT tyres to try.
Dunlop informed me that the latest SportSmart TT’s are aimed at track day riding & fast road riders; with a fast warm up & there was no need to run tyre warmers.
My first track day was at Mallory Park for a James Whitham track training day. It was a warm but overcast day, so I decided to run the first few sessions without tyre warmers to get a feel for the new Dunlop’s SportSmart TT’s.
Grip & confidence were there from word go, although I could feel the bike move around a fair bit, this was down to suspension more than the tyres.
After 3 sessions & some fiddling with the shocks, the bike & me were feeling better, holding a tighter line & feeling more stable in the brakes.
Over lunch I decided to try the Dunlop SportSmart TT’s with the warmers on a low setting. This gave me more confidence from word go, however this just could be a mental thing over actual grip levels.
A few weeks later & we were at Castle Coombe Circuit & another warm day. I personally really like Coombe, very fast & flowing & most like a road in terms of bumps & flowing corners.
Again, the grip from the Dunlop SportSmart TT’s was fantastic, although I had to soften the rear suspension off a bit to cope with the bumps, feedback remained constant. Sadly, my day was cut slightly short due to a fuelling problem with my bike.
Next up, Silverstone GP & what a day!
I’ve not ridden the GP circuit before, & it was stunning! After the first few sessions I noticed that out of some of the slower corners I could feel the rear sliding a bit. At the end of that session I checked the tyre pressures & the rear was way too high & it had started to tear the edge of the rear tyre.
I dropped the pressure to the lower end of the heat range Dunlop recommend for a target pressure. Then I gave the rear suspension a few clicks of both compression & rebound. As the track was so smooth, I could get away with it.
Back out on track, grip was restored to the point on one of the slower sections on the brakes, the rear was off the ground with the bike turned in & I remember thinking “any second now that front is going to let go & I am going to end up on my face!” But no. The grip from the front was as good as any other track tyre I’ve ever used.
Later in the afternoon the weather broke with a small shower. The other lads decided to sit the damp session out, but I wanted to get some more laps in & wanted to feel what the grip was like in damp conditions.
Damp conditions? What damp conditions? I put in my fastest lap of the day mainly down to the quiet track & after two corners the grip was just as good as when it was dry, so I pushed on.
By the end of the day, I had racked up over 100 miles flat out. The Dunlop SportSmart TT’s tyres still looked in fantastic condition & we still had Brands Hatch a few weeks later.
Brands Indy is a great short track on a constant (bar one corner) right turn. Always hard on the tyre as if you’re on it, there is little time for rest for you, the bike, or the tyres.
With tyre pressures checked & warmers on as it was much colder than our previous outings; I managed a 54 second lap & genuinely think I could have shaved another two seconds off my lap time if it wasn’t for a busy group.
Again, no scares from the Dunlop SportSmart TT’s tyres although exiting druids in second gear I could feel the rear tyre spinning. Hardly surprising as the tyre on the right-hand shoulder was now very low.
A last-minute dash up to Donnington Park later that week & really the rear tyre was now past it’s best. It was freezing cold & blowing a gale & if there was 10°C track temperature I would have been surprised.
By the time I got to Donnington Park, I wasn’t riding at my best. Still tired from Brands Hatch a few days earlier, the track was more like riding on the road, bumpy, loads of over banding where the track had been repaired so it was difficult to get a good feel on what the tyre was doing. But given it was cold, very windy & the tyre was badly warn the grip remained consistent, only a slight slide which felt very controllable.
Overall to get 5 track days out of a rear tyre is un-heard of & the front still looks like it’s only done one day. There is still loads of tread left in the middle so fine for the road. The grip and confidence the Dunlop SportSmart TT’s gave was outstanding. Will I use them again? Definitely!
Anyone want a pair of scrubs for the road?
Written by Daniel Morris, Proprietor mono motorcycles