Dunlop celebrates its 50th year of producing motorcycle tires in the U.S. this year. Founded in 1923 in Ontario, the company moved its motorcycle tire manufacturing to Tonawanda, New York, in 1973. Five years later, Dunlop began what would become a vital relationship with Harley-Davidson, which saw such innovations as wide white walls and multitread touring tires.
Today, Dunlop continues to produce high quality motorcycle tires. As a testament to the quality of these tires, our reviewer in a test of the Dunlop American Elite tires stated: “In fact, in over 48 years of riding motorcycles (don’t judge), these are the best road tires I’ve ever tried.” Dunlop is also the official tire of MotoAmerica and American Flat Track racing series.
For more information about Dunlop’s storied history and current offerings, read the press release below.
BUFFALO, NY — It may be hard to believe that Dunlop has been a critical part of the western New York Community for 100 years now, with its first tire rolling off the assembly line in 1923. For half of those 100 years, this factory produced over 20 million motorcycle tires for the North American market. Back in the early 1970s, motorcycle tire molds were moved from the Dunlop plant in Whitby, Ontario, across the Canadian border to the nearby Dunlop factory located in Tonawanda, New York, just outside the Buffalo city limits. By 1973, this plant was producing the K81, K70, and eventually the K88 motorcycle tires.
Fast track to March of 1978, a Dunlop K181 built in that same Tonawanda plant won a tire shoot-out conducted by Harley-Davidson in San Antonio, Texas, which would solidify its future and change the course of history for the brand and the people designing and building tires at the Tonawanda plant. That shootout win started a relationship with Harley-Davidson that eventually led to Dunlop being awarded the Original Equipment tire business for 1981 Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycles. This partnership has lasted over four decades with the two companies collaborating on numerous tire innovations, including things we take for granted, like wide white walls and multi-tread touring motorcycle tires.
Today, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires remains the largest motorcycle tire manufacturer headquartered and fully operational within the United States. The company is the largest motorcycle tire producer based in the North American market. “It’s incredible to think this facility has been building motorcycle tires for fifty years. Even more remarkable is the brand’s partnership with Harley-Davidson and how that relationship has pushed our technology and innovation to deliver world-class market-driven products for North American riders,” said Mike Buckley, Dunlop Motorcycle’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Having the R&D and manufacturing located so close to the market has been invaluable to our success. It’s not just about touring tires though; additionally, our support of North American Road Racing and Flat Track with tires designed and built here further demonstrates our commitment to this market.”
The company’s R&D team, located in Buffalo, New York, has been committed to American racing and is the official tire of MotoAmerica and American Flat Track series, where all the tires used in the series are developed and manufactured by Dunlop in its New York facility. In addition, many of Dunlop’s popular tires, like the American Elite, D401, D402, D407, D408, Sportmax Q5, Sportmax Q5S, Trailmax Mission, and many more are produced in the same footprint that started production in 1973.
About Dunlop Motorcycle Tires
Dunlop is the largest supplier of original equipment and replacement motorcycle tires in the U.S.A. For more information, visit the Dunlop website. Follow @ridedunlop on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for the latest Dunlop news. Use #RideDunlop and/or #RaceDunlop to share your Dunlop moments.