Long-term test on a Sportster

In 2018 we put a set of Dunlop Elite 4 high mileage motorcycle tires for long term review on a 2007 Harley-Davidson 883R Sportster. Dunlop’s Elite 4 touring tire is designed to be a long lasting tire that offers solid handling on wet or uneven surfaces and delivers high ride quality at a competitive price.

Dunlop Elite 4 Motorcycle Tire Test: Front
Dunlop Elite 4 front tire

The Dunlop Elite 4s followed a set of Michelin Commander II tires on the same bike, also claimed capable of long range. The Commander II tires ran 10,896 miles before the rear tire wore through the outermost tread layer and required replacement, which we did as a set. Read our Michelin Commander II tire review that ended in 2018. Note that Commander IIs are still part of the Michelin motorcycle tire line.

Dunlop Elite 4 Motorcycle Tire Test: Rear
Dunlop Elite 4 rear tire

For the Dunlop test, we used a 100/90 x 19 front tire and a 150/80 x 16 rear tire. Both Dunlop Elite 4 motorcycle tires tested the bias-ply construction and were used as tubeless tires. air, although they can be mounted on a rim that requires an inner tube. There are also radial versions of the Elite 4.

“Fault of a Nail”

In August 2019, the long-term Elite 4 review encountered an issue – or more accurately, a nail through the rear tire tread. The rear tire had 3515 miles when the puncture took it out of service. Tread wear was evidenced by some flattening of the tread profile, although there was plenty of tread life left. Dunlop provided a replacement tire for the review, and so we continue. However, we’ll have to keep the mileage mismatch between the front and rear tire in mind when summing things up. Note that damage caused by road hazards such as a flat tire is not covered by the warranty. The review began in May 2018 with 22,630 miles on the Sportster’s odometer. As of this writing, with the end of 2021, there are 30,692 miles on the odometer. The front tire clocked 8062 miles, while the replacement rear tire racked up 4547 miles. Front tread depth has been increased from 0.188 inches to 0.091 inches. The rear started with a tread depth of 0.312 inches and went down to 0.163 inches. Wear measurements were taken at different points on the tires and averaged.

Used Dunlop Elite 4 front motorcycle tire.

The rear Elite 4 features what Dunlop calls Multi-Tread (MT) Compound. Dunlop claims: “With the all-new Elite 4, you could cross the country six times before you had to replace your tires.” With a long-wearing compound in the middle of the tread and the shoulders made of a side grip compound, the Elite 4 is designed to provide long reach and stable cornering. The Dunlop Elite 4 front tire has a central rain groove with sipes that angle towards it but don’t connect to it. The rear tire does not use a center rain groove like the front model. Instead, it has sipes that angle toward the tread shoulder, leaving substantial tread in the main load-bearing portion of the tire.

Dunlop Elite 4 Tire Test: MSRP
Used Dunlop Elite 4 rear tyre.

The Dunlop Elite 4 tires proved to be very stable and planted for acceleration, cornering, deceleration and braking (with non-ABS brakes) in wet and dry conditions. Of course, in addition to daily general-purpose road performance characteristics, total service mileage is a key performance indicator that we will track. We will make a final report when the tires are at the end of their life.

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