Dunlop Mutant Tires Review [An Unorthodox Success]

What? The unorthodox Dunlop Mutant might replace my present Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV tires or a host of other street and sport touring tires? Dunlop says the Mutant tire has “performance to match in any condition a rider may encounter.” I took one look at the Dunlop Mutant tires, saw that unique dirt-track style tread pattern, and just had to give them a try on the Ultimate Motorcycling BMW R 1250 RS Project Bike.

I heard around the street from a Dunlop insider, “The Mutant seems to be our best-kept secret, though we’re not trying to keep it a secret.” Well, a good pal is running them on his late model Multistrada and has nothing but praise for them. Another friend is in the market for new meats and won’t consider them because he doesn’t like how they look. It’s not exactly a scientific approach to equipment selection, but form is important, and the Mutants do strike a unique pose. I mentioned to another friend that I was going to review them soon, and he bought a pair just because of that. I saw him the weekend after that and, having run 300+ miles, he says he likes them very much.

The design of this tire does, in fact, drastically change the look of a motorcycle—especially one that is intended for road riding only. People have asked me if I ride off-road on the BMW R 1250 RS, even though it is clearly not intended for that purpose. No, it just looks that way. Another guy asked if they were 80/20 tires. Nope.

The tires were designed and developed in Europe and manufactured in France. Dunlop wanted exceptional wet performance and all-around operation—all European countries have just about every kind of new and old paved roads, lots of gravel, and plenty of rain. Here in California, we can only hope for rain, though the other attributes of these tires are certainly welcome. The rear tire is a dual-compound design with grippier rubber on the shoulders, and a long-mileage formula in the center.

I’ve put about 2000 miles on the Dunlop Mutant tires, and they still look new. The incredible thing is that they feel, near as I can tell, just about the same as the RoadSmart IVs they replaced. That says a lot, as the RS4s were fabulous, despite differing greatly in design.

The new Mutants roll smoothly and feel well suited to highway speeds. At all speed ranges, they are stable and do not draw any attention to themselves.

The Dunlop Mutants provide excellent feedback and are quite neutral when dicing in the canyons, with results following input in exact measures. The tires are neither quick nor slow to turn in and simply follow the pilot’s lead. Once planted in a turn, I can remove my hands from the bars, and they will happily continue on the arc I set. The Mutants do not have any tendency to fall into a turn as the profile is rather rounded, making for smooth and easy transitions.

At full lean, the Mutant tires are well composed without any squiggle, as might be imagined when looking at the tread design, and they remain stable through the apex and on exit when hard on the throttle.

Under heavy braking, the Mutants feel excellent, and remain stable during trail braking.

On a 1000-mile ride from SoCal to NorCal and back a few weeks ago, I experienced every possible road condition, other than rain, and the Mutants delivered high-speed stability, fast cornering, and a confidence-inspiring ride throughout the four days during which temperatures ranged from 65 F to 105. That 40-degree swing happened to occur during a 45-mile section from beachside to inland hills.

How the Dunlop Mutant tires mimic their sport-touring brethren with such a different design and look is beyond my understanding, and a testimony to the design team.

They are constructed with a high-silica content, as are so many modern tires. That yields excellent grip and promises long life. The deep tread suggests excellent performance on wet roads, not that I was able to experience this during this scorching hot and dry California summer.

Dunlop touts “high mileage,” “a compliant ride,” and “consistent handling” for the Mutant tires. All three claims are accurate. This aggressive tread pattern yields performance to match any road conditions I have experienced.

If I get my usual 6000+ miles, or more, life out of these tires, I’ll be a happy camper. The Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV tires the Mutants replaced got 6555 miles, and I probably could have squeezed out another 500. However, I was itching to mount these Mutants and find out what they were all about.

Though primarily a sportbike tire with a nice range of 17-inch choices, there is an 18-inch front tire for retro applications and a 19-inch front for the ADV crowd. List prices range from $188 to $291 per tire, with discounts readily available.

The Dunlop Mutant tire is unique, and I suspect it will not remain a secret for long. I was impressed by how they performed on the Ultimate Motorcycling BMW R 1250 RS Project Bike.

Dunlop Mutant Tires Sizes


  • 110/70 x 17
  • 120/70 x 17
  • 110/80 x 18
  • 120/70 x 19


  • 150/60 x 17
  • 160/60 x 17
  • 170/60 x 17
  • 180/55 x 17
  • 190/55 x 17

Dunlop Mutant Tires Review Photo Gallery