So begins "that time of year", droplets falling from the skies, green shoots poking betwixt the earth and grey sky, bringing that sweet sliding magic that makes the 5 year old kid inside me giggle madly out loud. MUD! With the arrival of water this season, it was time for me to toss out the old rubber, and bring my rims up to 2014 technology. The Dunlop MX32. What's the first visual impression? Good looking rubber, the pattern and depth of the knobs hint at of the amount of grip these tires can dish out. Much to my pleasure the knobs have knobs inside them.
I've only been able to do 2 quick trail rides, equating to about 4 hours of ride time thus far. The terrain varied from super slick deep creek mud, too slightly harder jeep trails, with a lot of grassy fields in between. My immediate impression riding on these tires was a very descriptive, and well thought out "DAAAYYYYYmmmm!". When tipping the bike over into a turn, the front felt so planted I could pivot over a dime. In comparison the rear felt really good, but where it shined was under acceleration. Hard or soft on the throttle, slide to wrist response was telepathic, goose it a little out of a muddy turn and I was immediately rewarded with a smooth predictable slide making me feel like a hero. Hill climbing out of a really muddy creek was tackled with authority, not only was I sliding sideways at the time, the rear found enough traction to allow my 125 two stroke to wheelie out and over like a scalded hamster.
Having ridden the same trails hundreds of times, I've come to expect a certain amount of sliding for a given amount of speed into a turn. Which at this point I call Dunlop out for unfair business practices, the amount of magic dust they sprinkled on these tires is appalling. After every successive turn, I felt more and more confident, to the point where I needed to take a break. I was darting in and out of corners with speed I didn't know I possessed, every slide felt predictable like a metronome, and I had to remind myself to take it down a notch, or suffer a spill into a creek where no one would find me.
Towards the end of the second day, the MX 32's helped me reach that "zone" moment that comes with ultimate focus. I wasn't worried about what my tires might do, I KNEW what they would do, I had total control, the moment may have only lasted 2, 5, 10 minutes tops, but it was amazing. It's the sort of thing you don't realize until you come to the end of your run, the fatigue in your arms suddenly appears, the sound of the motor reverberates underneath, and the smell of two stroke smoke in the air brings you back to reality. Again I become aware of the world, not just the trail, the bike, and the next turn. When you think back on the moment, it's just a smooth stream of corners, instead of a jumble of actions.
So for the very fact that I had the confidence to throw the bike around with the authority I wanted is a testament to these tires. The key factors I'll be looking closely at from this point forward is, how well will these tires hold up over time, and how they'll do through the dry hard dirt season. These are classified as soft to intermediate tires, so only time will tell.
The only con that came to mind would be cost, these tires aren't terribly expensive in comparison to competitors, but when you factor in new tubes, and having someone put the tires on, I was looking at around a $300 cost. I'm trying to support my local Motorsport shop, even if it hurts 10-15% more on my wallet.
I look forward to getting muddy and doing my very best testing out these tires. Stay happy, stay muddy.