MXA TEAM TESTED: DUNLOP GEOMAX MX12 REAR TIRE MADE FOR SAND & MUD

MXA TEAM TESTED: DUNLOP GEOMAX MX12 REAR TIRE MADE FOR SAND & MUD CONDITIONS

WHAT IS IT? The Dunlop Geomax MX12 rear tire is a soft-terrain tire designed specifically for sand and mud conditions. The Geomax MX12 is the replacement for the MX11 and provides next-level performance in a broader range of terrain.

WHAT’S IT COST? $128.11 (80/100-21), $160.48 (100/90-19), $165.70 (110/90-19). (prices vary between dealers)

CONTACT? www.dunlopmotorcycletires.com or your local dealer.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Dunlop MX12 rear tire.

(1) Purpose. The Geomax MX12 rear tire was made to improve performance in mud, sand and soft dirt while expanding the range of conditions it can be used in over the previous MX11. Dunlop designed the MX12 to have increased acceleration grip, improved control in ruts and enhanced braking-bump control when coming into corners. 

(2) Design. With a V-block tread pattern and over 1-1/2 inches between each row of knobs, the MX12 is able to scoop dirt and propel the motorcycle forward in places where a standard intermediate-terrain tire would be searching for traction. Additionally, the V-block pattern helps fling mud off of the tire in wet conditions. Dunlop’s new block-in-a-block progressive cornering knob technology, used on the MX33 and MX53 tires, has been implemented on the MX12 to enhance cornering traction and slide control. The MX12’s narrower profile increases the length of the contact patch, which improves bump absorption and steering in rutted conditions. Ribs have been added to the backside of the knobs to improve stability in braking. Without these ribs, the steep knobs would be susceptible to folding over, which you don’t want the knobs to do in sand or mud. 

(3) Soft-terrain performance. When riding in the conditions the tire was designed for, the MXA test riders loved the solid, strong and aggressive pull out of corners. They were able to use alternate lines that were too deep or soft for an intermediate tire. When compared to the Dunlop MX11, the MX12 made it easier to lean over and maintain a smooth line through rough corners. Additionally, compared to the rubber compound on an intermediate-terrain tire, the MX12’s rubber has a slightly higher durometer rating. The harder rubber compound helps fight knob flex.

(4) Intermediate-terrain performance. MXA tested the MX12 on intermediate and hard-pack dirt just to see how it would handle conditions it wasn’t designed for. Surprise! On intermediate terrain, the tire dug into the dirt and hooked up surprisingly well. With the added stability from the reinforcing ribs and the staggered knob pattern, the MX12 felt like a premium intermediate tire. The only downside was that the thinner and taller shape of the scoop-style knobs was not as good under hard braking. On hard-pack dirt, the MX12 was out of its element. The MX12’s harder durometer and taller knobs don’t offer the grip that a soft compound tire with a great land-to-sea ratio delivers. But, it worked well enough to be used on tracks with diverse sections of dirt, most notably on loam tracks with slick, hard-packed corner exits.

Josh Mosiman 2020 Yamaha YZ250F

(5) Durability. You don’t need Sherlock Holmes to tell you that a sand tire will last forever if only used in sand. It is sections of hard-pack dirt that wear a sand tire down. That said, the Dunlop Geomax MX12 held up better than we expected.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Every MXA test rider noted that the rear of the bike had a loose sensation when the tall knobs were trying to hook up on hard-to-intermediate soil. Plus, it was terrible on concrete starts.

MXA RATING: If you live anywhere near a sand track, this tire is for you. If you don’t ride in soft conditions often, but you’re a serious racer and you have a spare wheel, put the MX12 on and use it early in the day when the track is deep and wet. You can probably keep it on if the track doesn’t dry out, but if it does, go to a pure intermediate tire.

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