Dunlop D404 and Dunlop D401 are two high-performance bike tires that are suitable for various motorcycles ranging from the older models to the standard models to the cruisers. Both of these two tires are available in various sizes. Dunlop D404 seems to have more size varieties for the front and rear wheels, whereas Dunlop D401 features the bias-belted construction and computer-optimized tread pattern. Some people say that these two tires are actually the same – but that’s not true! There are notable differences that set the two apart. Continue reading below for the detailed comparisons of Dunlop D404 vs D401.
Available Sizes and Models
The very first thing that you need to know about Dunlop D404 is that it is not meant to be used for Harley Davidson motorcycles. So, if you are looking for a set of tires for a Harley Davidson motorcycle, this model is not an option. There are Wide Whitewall (WWW) varieties available for select sizes.
Dunlop D404 is designed to be compatible with a wider range of motorcycles. There are various tire sizes for wheel diameters of 15 inches through 21 inches.
On the other hand, Dunlop D401 is compatible with Harley Davidson motorcycles. In fact, on the sidewall of the tire, you can find a special Harley Davidson branding. It certainly looks cool if installed on a Harley Davidson bike. There are also Wide Whitewall (WWW) varieties for select sizes. However, the available sizes are more limited. There are tires for wheel diameters of 16 inches, 17 inches, and 19 inches.
Some of the comparable sizes of Dunlop D404 and Dunlop D401 have different width and total diameter. For example, Dunlop D404 150/80-16 has 5.81” width and 25.35” diameter. Meanwhile, Dunlop D401 150/80-16 has 6.15” width and 25.45” diameter.
Dunlop is actually a tire brand that is now owned by various companies in various countries. Although the headquarter is currently located in Akron, Ohio, there are many factories and production sites located in other countries. So, unsurprisingly, some of the tires are not actually produced in the United States.
This is perhaps the case for Dunlop D404 vs D401. Interestingly, Dunlop D404 is made in Japan. On the other hand, Dunlop D401 is produced in the United States. It is apparently produced in Buffalo, New York.
Dunlop D404 Construction
Despite the similar looks, Dunlop D404 vs D401 tires are actually constructed using different materials and methods. In general, Dunlop D404 is actually softer and less sturdy than Dunlop D401.
The manufacturer does not elaborate very much about the construction of Dunlop D404. However, it is said that the tire is made from a special tread compound that is optimized to deliver an impressive balance of grip and mileage. However, this compound is relatively soft. As the effect, despite the very good grip, the tire can wear down more quickly.
In addition, Dunlop D404 is made using the bias-ply construction. A bias-ply tire has body cords, which are made of rayon, nylon, or polyester, running from bead to bead in alternating layers. Bias-ply tires used to be the de facto standard for a long time. But, today, bias-ply tires are no longer the most popular tires, replaced by radial tires. But bias-ply tires are still on the market because they offer better strength and longevity. They can hold well under heavy burdens. In addition, the inherent lack of flex means that the sidewall will not wash out easily when in a turn.
Dunlop D401 Construction
On the other hand, Dunlop D401 comes with a specially formulated compound which offers amazing grip in dry and wet road conditions as well as very long tire life. Compared to Dunlop D404, Dunlop D401 is harder and more durable. The stronger tire can resist wear better and last for a longer time.
Furthermore, Dunlop D401 also comes with a different construction. It uses the bias-belted construction. Actually, bias-belted tires are made in the same way as bias-ply tires, except for the additional reinforcing stabilizer belts. The stabilizer belts are made of fiberglass. The added belts make bias-belted tires sturdier, stronger, and more durable. They also offer more stiffness and support. This is the reason why Dunlop D401 is recommended for Harley Davidson motorcycles, which are known as heavy bikes.
In a glance, the tread patterns of Dunlop D404 vs D401 may seem similar. However, if you look more carefully, you can notice the differences. The patterns are actually different. The sipes on Dunlop D404 do not go as deep as the ones on Dunlop D401.
Dunlop D404 features an offset center groove, which has been designed to enhance the straight-line stability. It also has specially designed front and rear tread patterns for enhanced water evacuation and wet traction. However, the sipes are not particularly deep. Combined with the softer tread compound material, this may lead to quicker wear-off and relatively short lifespan.
On the other hand, Dunlop D401 boasts a computer-optimized tread profile. It offers more even wear and enhanced grip and traction on dry and wet roads. The performance on wet roads is considerably better. The deeper sipes allow more effective water evacuation so that the tire can resist hydroplaning better. It also seems to have more biting edges, which bring more solid grip and traction in various conditions.
The deeper sipes also help to extend the tire’s lifespan. Since the sipes are deeper, the sipes will not get worn off for a longer time. The more durable material is another factor that greatly enhanced the tire’s lifespan.
Dunlop D404 is a value tire produced in Japan and designed for a wider range of motorcycles. The construction is just bias-ply. Although this tire has more available sizes, Dunlop D404 is not recommended due to the relatively soft tread compound and shallow sipes. On the other hand, Dunlop D401 is more recommended. It is produced in the United States. It features the bias-belted construction for enhanced support and strength. The tread compound is more durable, and the sipes are deeper. It offers better wet grip and longer lifespan.