Dunlop Trailmax Meridian tyres face 2,500 miles in a month touring test

Dunlop Trailmax Meridian tyres
The Dunlop Trailmax Meridian tyres have been specifically developed for adventure bikes, like my fabulous Ducati Multistrada V4S, pictured here near the summit of the Pyrenees Mountains on the Spanish/French border.

CHOOSING new tyres for bikes or cars always presents something of a dilemma, but after a chat with the nice people at Dunlop, I was persuaded to try a set of new Dunlop Trailmax Meridian tyres which have been specifically developed for adventure bikes, like my fabulous Ducati Multistrada V4S.

Dunlop say the “ice-ax” tread pattern grips gravel, increases traction on unpaved roads and provides optimum water drainage, while a Rayon Ply tyre casing improves warm-up times, while multi-tread technology gives a harder compound in the middle of the tyre and softer shoulders for cornering grip make this an ideal tyre for touring.

Their jointless belt construction eliminates the belt overlaps to provide smoother handling and a more stable contact patch, with the tyres being available in 17-21” wheel sizes.

At the time of writing, my new set of Dunlop Trailmax Meridians were fitted five weeks ago, and in that time have rapidly racked up more than 2,500 miles, thanks largely to a 12-day trip to Northern Spain, and helping my son settle in to the world of motorcycling after he passed his test and bought his first bike.

I am relieved and pleased to report that the tyres have performed brilliantly, in a wide range of temperatures, down to a chilly –3 degrees in the Picos de Europa mountains and the higher reaches of the Pyrenees, up to a balmy 23 degrees later in the day and at lower altitudes – and everything in between, while always providing good stability, feedback and sure-footed braking performance.

Dunlop Trailmax Meridian tyres
Dunlop Trailmax Meridian tyres with an unusual tead pattern.

Our introduction to Northern Spain was a very wet one – as we rode down the ramp off the Brittany Ferry which had taken us from Portsmouth to Bilbao, the Heavens opened with a biblical downpour. It was raining that hard as we waited to be allowed through customs and into Spain, that the raindrops were bouncing up off the floor again – and there was nowhere to shelter.

Once through customs however, the big Ducati felt well planted and secure on the road surface in the torrentially wet weather and Trailmax Meridians soon inspired the confidence to push on with the trip and to try to drive out of the rain, which, by mid-afternoon, we managed to do.

During some very wet motorway miles with lots of standing surface water, the deep tread dealt admirably with the wet stuff, but of course we did ride to the conditions, but braking for roundabouts and junctions didn’t cause any difficulties for the tyres or nervous twitches for the rider, unlike some of the white road markings, but was the same for all four of us, all on different brands of tyre.

The road surfaces in Northern Spain are predominantly smooth, high quality and pothole free, and the tyres were quiet, and provided more grip than my limited talents on two wheels can exploit, but we did achieve some pretty respectable lean angles as we swept from one bend to the next, for hundreds of miles and several days on end.

On dry roads, with firm and progressive high-speed braking, the Meridian tyres inspired confidence, and the transition from braking to leaning into a corner at sometimes quite acute angles never caused any problems.

Even mid-corner bumps, stones which had fallen out of the cliffs at the sides of the roads, or even decent sized potholes were all taken in their stride, with only the most severe indiscretions unsettling the big Duke slightly, but that would occur regardless of tyre choice.

The “ice-ax” pattern endows the tyre with limited off road ability, but like most adventure bike riders, the furthest we ventured off road were gravelly car parks made up of crushed rocks, bigger than gravel, but not quite boulders!

The fully laden Multistrada never felt anything but sure-footed and stable, the Trailmax Meridian tyres inspiring confidence in every situation I threw at it, or encountered.

On our return, and after a subsequent 500-mile May Bank Holiday weekend out and about with my son on his new bike, the rear tyre is visibly beginning to square off, but having clocked up 2,500 miles in a month, it’s hardly surprising. There is still plenty of tread across the full width of the tyre, and it looks as though there is still at least the same mileage again left in them, which stands a respectable comparison to any similar tyre in my book, especially when you consider that most of those miles have been completed in full touring mode with all the weight of a full top box and panniers, so they’ve had a fairly hard life so far.

Would I choose the same tyre again? I can’t think of any reason why I wouldn’t. The tread pattern looks a bit different, and I like that. They are reasonably priced at around £250 to £300 per pair, depending on where you buy them, plus fitting, which cost me £80 at a local bike dealer.

If these Trailmax Meridian tyres continue to perform as they have so far, they may well be at the top of my list when the time comes to change them again.

Watch this space – and find out what I decide to do!

For more information:–trxmeridia.html

Dunlop Trailmax Meridian tyres
My new set of Dunlop Trailmax Meridian tyres provided confident handling in all conditions during our Spanish adventure in the Picos and Pyrenees mountains.