First Ride/Look, Dunlop’s New MX34 tires.

Dunlop’s New MX34 Tire Line

Tires are the last contact between your bike and mother earth. Without good connection and a symbiotic relationship, the two don’t work well together. Dunlop, who already controls much of the motocross and off-road world, did not rest on their championships. While the current MX33 line is still a very good tire for the masses, here comes the all-new MX34. The idea was to improve on feel, grip, weight, and durability. The 3S front tire was brought back a few years ago because of its performance, but in some regions it was not as durable. The goal for the MX34 was to outperform the 3S and MX33 front while making it lighter and have durability. As for the new MX34 rear, several factory riders have been testing the new tire (and winning races) for well over a year now—and recently, the MX34 front as well. The idea, create an intermediate tire that outperforms its current offering and has amazing crossover to both soft terrain as well as harder conditions as tracks break down in the afternoon.

The MX34 line is new from the carcass all the way to the tip of the knobs. The previous term “block in a block” is now called PCBT (Progressive Cornering Block Technology). The rear tires have a new pattern and sport 11% taller knobs and are 44% wider for maximum traction and control. We were also told the popular 120/90-19 tire is lighter and the same weight as the MX33 120/80-19. No, they are not the lightest tires on the market but they do offer longer-lasting durability and consistency in performance.

What is also nice is the new tires come in a full array of sizes including minibikes and off-road. Everything from 10-inch to 21-inch.

We attended the intro and got a chance to get a feel for the new tires at LACR in Southern California. LACR is sandy with a firm base. We were riding our project KX450 replica bike and ran the new MX34 in the 120/90-19 configuration on the rear. The slightly taller sidewall offers a little more bump compliance than the 120/80-19. It’s a matter of preference. We plan on riding with the 120/80-19 at a later date.

Initial feedback was mostly related to the new front tire. Although track conditions were a little loose and dry on the surface, the new 34 front tire had us feeling an improvement after a few laps. For me, it’s just more consistent and better feel and feedback than the MX33 I had been using. The feel of the front dropping into a corner, mid corner and even exiting had a better overall feedback and some of the vague mid corner of the 33 seems to have subsided. The carcass is new and the recommended air pressures have been bumped up to 13.5 and Dunlop says to even test up to 14 as the tire continues through its lifecycle and the sidewalls start to break down slightly.

Although conditions were not perfect for tire testing in my opinion, it was not difficult to feel the improvements and overall feel of the new MX34. It’s a better tire and we can’t wait to try it at other tracks.

As for the rear, during the first session it was hard to feel any huge difference because the dirt was kind of loose, yet a little dry. It felt good and there was no funky feeling, so we were good. After the first session the sun started to blaze and was cresting the high 80s, low 90 degrees and we wanted our tire pressure re-set from the morning. The increase in heat had already caused the pressure to rise several pounds. This is why checking tire pressure several times during the day is so important. The rear pressure was set back to 12 pounds.

For the second session, the track was burned in a little more and then we could feel the rear tire performance more than earlier. The 34 is good and has really good straight-line grip in the deeper sandy uphill turns. I really like the extra bump compliance of the 120/90-19 tire and that was there for sure. There was subtle improvements in setting the bike into the corner and lean angles but until we get the tire to other tracks, it’s hard to form any hard opinions.

First impression is all positive, the tires tracked really well, did not catch or wallow around exiting corners or on fast sand-rutted straights. Thus far they offered a really nice feel and did not deflect on jump faces, even ones that had slight square-edge lips. After one day on the new tire, it’s pretty apparent Dunlop did not release a new tire just to release a new tire, they spent the time to improve on an already solid product. There are some sizes that are already shipping while the rest will be available soon.

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