Dunlop’s New Meat!
Introducing the MX33
It’s been only four years since Dunlop first launched the famed MX3S, also known as the MX32 for a short stint. When we first rode with that tire after spending a lot of time on its predecessor the MX51 and MX31, we called them creatively “cheater tires.” No, they weren’t cheating but at first ride we were impressed with the latest performance, grip, and feel across a wide variety of terra firma when new. When the MX3S first hit the dirt it looked like a medium-to-soft terrain tire that had no business in medium-to-hard conditions. Looks were deceiving. Dunlop knew what was going on by also discontinuing their hard-terrain line and shifted the new MX52 toward that Med-Hard direction.
The MX3S are still awesome tires, but because riders kept pushing their usage to all sorts of terrain, there were some durability issues if used on hard rocky dirt over time. When used in these conditions, the tire could chunk or break off the corner knobs, usually on the front tire only. In the four years we used these tires, we only had one tire ever toss a knob and that tire was pretty much ready for replacement regardless.
Dunlop not only addressed durability with the new MX33, they also wanted to use their experience with racing to build a better tire as well. The new black beauties feature an all-new tread pattern up front and incorporated the knob in a knob design that was introduced with the MX3S rear.
Dunlop also changed up the carcass for durability and improved feel with what they call Advanced Apex Design, a layer that is now slimmer but runs further up the sidewall of the tire. The CTCS or Carcass Tension Control System distributes tension of the tire to absorb more shock and smooth out the tire’s ride/feel characteristics.
The MX33 also runs new compounds and increases the total number of knobs from 30 to 33 and 36 to 39 on the side knobs. The Block in a Block technology is now a diamond shape over a square shape for more surface area compared to the 3S. When these tires hit the stores in a few weeks there will be a full line of sizes available from big bikes down to 10-inch wheel mini bikes. There will also be a new size for the market as well, a 120/90/19, this tire has a slightly taller sidewall for added absorption if tracks are littered with squared-edge bumps or riders are looking for a tad bit more cushion. The 120/80/19 is what was already available and will still be a mainstay in the MX33 line.
We spent a day on the new tires at Zaca Station near the central California Coast for an epic day of riding. We rode with both the 120/80/19 on a KX450F and a 110/90/19 aboard a YZ250 smoker. The tires worked awesome but because Zaca is such a soft-base track and there were not a lot of riders during the launch to beat up the track, we couldn’t honestly say if the new MX33 instantly outperformed the MX3S because of the epic conditions. None of our test riders had any issues with the new tires and both felt like they worked great all day. There were no traction issues, the tires all hooked up, no pushing issues in the new front, and the feel was not harsh. With the 3S, Dunlop often suggested 12 pounds of pressure up front, on the new MX33, they are suggesting 13-14psi to start. Light or less aggressive riders can try 12 but faster and heavier riders are probably going to prefer 13-14, according to Dunlop. The rear suggested starting pressure is still 12psi for most sizes.
An awesome day of ridding is when you start with a new set of tires and at the end of the day while loading up you realize the new-tire tits are still visible. At Zaca it was one of those days. To give you a full honest opinion we will have to visit more tracks and burn through a set of the new MX33 and get back to you. We can tell you Dunlop has not taken any steps backward with the new tires and so far they are a step forward. Most top supercross racers were running the new MX33 by the end of the year. For 2019, most production bikes will still come with the MX3S, except for maybe Suzuki. By 2020 the MX33 should be standard on several new bikes.