I Try Dunlop Roadsmart II tires
As previously noted, I recently purchased a 2012 Triumph Thruxton 900. It had only 137 miles on it and the original Metzeler tires. I noticed right away in riding it that the tires do not grip and handle as well as the Dunlop GT 501’s on my 2008 Bonneville. Unfortunately, the GT 501’s are being discontinued by Dunlop, and finding a set for the Thruxton would be difficult. So, I went back online to see if there was a recommended alternative.
I found this article by Jacob Moss on the RideApart website with tire recommendations for the Triumph Bonneville Modern Classics. In it he reports the recommendations of Adrian Packett, owner of Canyon Motorcycles.
Based on this article, I decided to try the recommended Dunlop Roadsmart II for performance. I ordered the tires through Amazon for a reasonable price = $119 for the front and $125 for the rear. I also ordered a tire changing tool and motorcycle attachment from Harbor Freight Tools.
Yesterday, I changed the front tire – 110/80ZR-18.
Dunlop Roadsmart II mounted and being balanced
Dunlop Roadsmart II front tire balanced
Dunlop Roadsmart II mounted on Thruxton
Dunlop Roadsmart II front tire on Thruxton
Harbor Freight Manual Motorcycle Tire Changing Tool Setup
Here are a couple of handy videos on how to use this tool, and modify and improve it.
Harbor Freight tire changing tool setup
January 1, 2015 Update
Today I was able to mount the rear Dunlop Roadsmart II tire (150/70-17) on my Thruxton. The 150/70-17 size is noticeably wider than the stock 130’s. I like the look better than the stock size, and it fits fine on the stock rim size and inside the frame. In a few weeks, I will report on my experience comparing these tires with the original Metzeler’s and my experience with the Dunlop GT 501’s.
Dunlop Roadsmart II rear tire mounted on stock Thruxton wheel.
Dunlop Roadsmart II Update
It’s been several weeks since I completed the mounting and balancing of the Dunlop Roadsmart II’s on my stock Triumph Thruxton wheels. Although the weather in Chicago has been spotty for motorcycles, I have been able to put on a couple hundred miles. My impression is that these grip the roads around Chicago better than the OEM Metzeler’s and there is less side-to-side slipping on wet or damp roads. The tires are smooth and quiet at higher speeds and I feel confident with them.
I would have to say that so far, these seem to be a good replacement for the Dunlop GT 501’s that I had come to prefer, and that Dunlop no longer makes. So far I would rank the road tires I have experience with as follows:
- Dunlop GT 501 (no longer available)
- Dunlop Roadmaster II
- Avon Roadrider
- Pirelli Sport Demon
- OEM Metzeler
Keep up the good work! I always enjoy reading/watching your posts; as well as the progress with your bike(s).
Have a Happy New Year!
Chris (Vancouver B.C)
Hey, thanks for the comment… much appreciated! Are you still riding up there in BC?
No, I usually take my bike off the road for a few months this time of year. Our Insurance is pretty high here in BC, and we generally get so much rain; I tend to take this time to do minor repairs. Current project is to replace my Cam Cover Gasket. Seems to be a little leak going on. On the forums, I see that this is pretty common. So I ordered the gaskets the other day. I also ordered a set of new front springs from progressive. I will probably start that next week. Not sure if I will be doing the rear shocks at this point or not? I really need to order the repair Manuel for Amazon so I get all the specs (capacity/torque) etc. I still love my Bonnie, I am always amazed by the compliments I get, or the what year is that? I used to have one of those when I was a kid….haha
I’m really curious to get your impression when you get your engine back after being bored out. I was thinking of doing the same, however with the info you have regarding the new bikes for 2016, perhaps I will wait for one of those???
Yeah the cam cover leak is pretty common. The outer gasket is not hard, it’s the 4 additional gaskets around the 4 bolts that hold it on that are trickier.
I have a buddy who did the front progressive spring swap and his went well. He did not have to take the forks off the bike, just did everything from the top. The Haynes manual helps with a lot of info, but it doesn’t always help with new mods that are aftermarket products. You will need to rely on the manufacturer for recommendations, for instance on the Progressive springs. They should tell you if you need to change the fork oil or what level the oil should be at, etc.
The engine comes off my Bonneville tomorrow and I hope to build the crate and ship it out to Bonneville Performance within the week.
I have been enjoying your site since I discovered it about a year ago. I also have a Thruxton, a 2014 model, and I will be changing out the tires this spring. I was very interested in your post about the fitment of the Dunlops and hope to hear- rather, read your thoughts on these, particularly the size change on the rear- was the 150 easily mounted on the stock rim for instance.
Thanks, and keep us updated on your projects, it’s a great read.
in frigid Connecticut
Thanks for your comment and for following the blog! I had a chance to put about 40 miles on the new Dunlop Roadsmart II’s today, and they felt good. They are stickier than the Metzelers, so I felt more confident on the road. It is was near freezing here in Chicago, with dry road conditions. I like the look of the beefier rear tire as it fills the frame out better than the stock size. I’ve been using 150’s on my Bonneville for over a year… with no problems at all.
To follow up on your comment, “I’ve been using 150’s on my Bonneville for over a year… with no problems at all”…..was that size on your stock or upgraded rims?
…and are your upgraded rims the same size as stock?
Yes, my upgraded rims are stock size and I am still running the same Dunlop GT501 tires and sizes on the Bonneville! On the Thruxton I am using the Roadsmart II’s because the 501’s are so hard to find.
Give either a try… I think you’ll like them!
I wanted to upgrade and increase the tire size on my 2005 Bonneville as well. I have been running into ‘reluctance’ from my local Triumph dealer regarding changing the size. I agree that the larger size would look better. Can you confirm the size for your Bonnie that you have referred to with using the stock spoke rims.
My stock sizes are Front: 100/90-19 Rear: 130/80-17
I have seen some custom bike online with Fr. 110/80 and Rear 140/80 that I was trying to emulate but they may have upgraded the rims.
Thanks, Great site.
After using these tyres for more than a month what is you feedback on the same. Also, asphalt in India is much coarse and a lot of loose gravels would you suggest these tyres for here?
Yes, I still like these tires after several thousand miles. I can’t speak for the roads in India but if there is a lot of loose gravel (which I hate!), you may want to consider a slightly more knobby tire like the Avon Distanzia or a softer, grippier tire like the Avon AM22 (front) and Avon AM23 rear. See http://www.motorcycle.com/products/avons-am22-and-am23-vintage-racing-tires-3519.html
it seems that they mount well on the original rims… I looked at the recommended rim size the front seems OK as 2.75 is the recommended but 2.5 the original is allowable. The back recommendation is 4.25… The stock is 3.5…. Do you feel the the profile is pinched ?… I am very eager to hear your feedback on the riding impression.. I have the Avon am26 roadrider at the moment but I want to also move to the roadsmart 2.
Keep me posted. I would love to avoid the conversion to move to wider rims
Thanks for opening the way
I still like these tires after several thousand miles on them. I have not noticed any problems with the larger tire on the rear rim, in fact not only does it looks better, it rides and corners very well.
Vincent and Team TRI,
Thanks for following this blog and for your comments.
I was able to mount and balance the Dunlop Roadmasters on my stock Thruxton rims with no trouble. I do this by manually with tire irons and hand tools. I have a couple hundred miles on them now, and they are much better than the OEM Metzelers. I have not noticed as much side to side “slipping” as when I had the Metzelers on. So, my impression is that these are a good replacement for the Dunlop GT501’s that I loved so much (and are no longer available).
Also, for rougher road conditions like you may have in India, you might want to consider the Avon Distanzia’s, which are growing in popularity here in the US as a good road/off-road combo tyre. http://www.avonmoto.com/products/adventure-sport/distanzia
I noticed that in the title you use the term roadmaster but later in the text body roadsmart. Can you confirm that the referred to tyres are indeed “roadsmart II”.
Thanks for the catch, I have corrected the Title… they are in fact the Dunlop Roadsmart II tires.
what size front tire are you using?
I was wondereing the same. I see that Dunlop do a 110/80 for the 19inch T100 front wheel and couldn’t see a 100mm wide tyre and can only presume it’s the 110mm size. But I may be wrong!
On the Thruxton I am using a 110/80ZR-18 front tire.
Great post! It looks like you had the tubeless Roadsmart on a spoked wheel? I thought those needed tubes for the spoke wheel?
Thanks for reading the post and for your comment/question. On spoked wheels, yes, you need to use an inner tube as well, which I am using. These tires are designed to be used with or without tubes. I am still running them on my Thruxton and still feel they are among the best tires I have yet tried.
According to Dunlop’s webpage, they’re not discontinued
Thanks for your comment. Although Dunlop does still list the GT501’s on their website, it is very difficult to find them to purchase in the US. Maybe it is different elsewhere. The places where they are still available are generally listed as “Closeout” items on sale, and generally you find only the front tires available. Do a search on Dunlop GT501 Rear Tire 150/70-17 and you’ll see what I mean. While shopping for these tires a year or so ago, I had suppliers tell me they were being discontinued.
If you find an available supply, please let us know!
Hey Randy, I was wondering if you had any clearance issues, going with the Dunlop Road Smart II with the following sizes.
Front : 110/80ZR-18
Rear : 150/70-17
My 2008 Thruxton calls for the following and I wanted to make sure the Road Smart’s weren’t too large
Thanks in advance for the reply and great job on the posting!
Good question! I had no clearance issues at all with these larger sizes on the Thruxton. Here’s a photo that shows the Thrux with these tires on it.
Thanks for the quick reply Randy, much appreciated. Bike looks great!
Hi guys I rode 16.000 km with my Bonnie here in Australia using the RSmart 2 (sizes 110/80 R19 and 150/70 R17) so impressed about feeling and grip , now is time to change …..so new question what about The roadsmart 3? Thanks guys for share all these interesting info.
Thanks for your comment and question. Did you ride 16.000km (about 10,000 miles) on one set of Roadsmart II’s? If so, that’s great! I had not heard about the RSIII’s until your comment. Doing a little research I found these articles:
All of which seem to suggest that the RSIII will outperform the RSII. If I were ready for a new set of tires, I’d give them a try!
Hello Randy. Thank you for putting this site together. I’ve learned a lot of things thanks to you sharing your experiences with your Triumphs. I recently installed a new set of tires on my 2015 Thruxton in 110/80 front 150/70 rear and was wondering what you run for tire pressures? I’m looking for a good starting point. Thanks again.
Hi Randy .was Just wondering any issue with the weaving a lot of people talk about with the thruxton at high speed ? Thanks.
Glad to know it wasn’t just ME who was not sold completely on the OEM Metzelers on Triumph bikes. I wasn’t happy with mine after 3,000 miles on them, so I switched them out for some Michelins. Much nicer. Anybody want some Metzelers with low miles? Also, this Bonneville Performance you mention sounds interesting. Can you give me some info on them? Thanks!
Tom, Thanks for your comments. Glad to hear you like your Michelin’s. This post was written in December 2014, and updated a few times until January 2015 – so it is now very out of date. There are many more and better tire options available now in 2020, but I have continued to stick with the famous British brands: Avon & Dunlop. I’ve also tried the Pirelli Demon’s and I like them as well.
Bonneville Performance is owned by a friend of mine named Bill Gately. He is the most knowledgable person I know about the “modern classic” 2001-2020 Bonneville product line. For this reason, Triumph selected him to own and manage the only factory-sponsored American Flat Track (AFT) team. The performance enhancements that he provides for the Triumph parallel-twin engine and the suspension and handling of these bikes is second to none. His improvements are race-tested! I have used many of his products including a completely rebuilt race-engine (see https://triumphbonneville.org/taking-a-triumph-bonneville-865cc-engine-to-1100cc/). I encourage you to head over to https://bonnevilleperformance.com and check out his products and services! If you end up contacting him or purchasing anything, let him know that I sent you!