dunlop sp sport maxx tt

maxx power

What effect can high-performance tyres have on your everyday driving experience? Neil Slinger tried Dunlop's latest SP Sport Maxx TT tyres to find out

They're black, they're round and they're made of rubber. It's at this point that most drivers' knowledge of tyres comes to an abrupt halt. But beyond these basic truths, is there much more to tyres that you should know about? Yes there is. In a nutshell, the better your tyres, the better your driving experience. In fact, good quality tyres, such as the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT, should make your drive a lot safer and, in the long run, cheaper too.

High-performance tyres are designed to increase road feedback to the driver. This means that with a set of good quality tyres on your vehicle, you can feel more of what is happening beneath the car as it moves along the road and therefore make more informed decisions, increasing safety. In designing the new Sport Maxx TT tyre, Dunlop has used a number of sophisticated tyre technologies aimed at increasing the amount of information relayed to the driver. These include a flatter tread profile with a bigger contact patch that increases stability and allows the tyres to respond more quickly and more precisely.

The SP Sport Maxx TT is made from DuPont Kevlar, a synthetic fibre five times stronger than steel that is used in bullet-proofing, laying underwater cables, parachutes and even space vehicles. This tough material gives the tyre a stiffer sidewall which is therefore more resistant to torsion and compression and improves the dynamics of the tyre in tough weather conditions.

The shape of the tyre also changes smoothly when going from a straight to a curve so the driver has plenty of warning if traction is about to be lost and can adjust the steering accordingly. This marks a significant improvement on some conventional tyres which will suddenly lose grip when cornering.

Using motor sport-derived compounds with nanoparticles smaller than 100 nanometres, Dunlop has worked on improving the bonding between fibres in the tyre to increase performance in both adhesion and wear. With SP Sport Maxx TT tyres, your car should notice improved grip and braking in both wet and dry conditions, something we put to the test on a Sicilian test track at the product launch. And yes, we could feel the difference.

The SP Sport Maxx tyre also features Dunlop's Multi Radius Technology (MRT), meaning the tread pattern is developed across ten different radii, as opposed to the usual three radii found on conventional tyres. This clever feature leads to a safer drive as tyre pressure is managed more effectively when cornering and there is significantly better control when cornering in tricky driving conditions.

Aside form the safety aspect, all this clever gadgetry should equal more money in your back pocket. The stronger, more resilient tyres will need changing less often and should keep their tyre pressure for longer, meaning better fuel economy. There is of course, the bigger cost of the initial outlay but over time the savings will become apparent.

Being in complete control of your vehicle means you can concentrate on what driving should really be about and that's enjoyment. High performance tyres will increase safety through better grip and design and are more economical as they can rack up higher mileages. Overall then, you don't have to be a racing driver to recognise the safety and financial benefits that a set of SP Sport Maxx TT tyres will bring.

And you thought tyres were just black and round.