Dunlop has announced the 50th anniversary of its Buffalo, New York, tire factory. Dunlop has been a critical part of the Western New York Community for 100 years, its first tire rolling off the assembly line in Canada in 1923. During its first 50 years of production, the factory produced over 20 million motorcycle tires for the North American market.
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, the plant produced the K81, K70, and eventually the K88 motorcycle tires. Today, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires is headquartered and fully operational within the U.S. and the company is the largest motorcycle tire producer based in the North American market.
In 1978, a Dunlop K181 built in the Tonawanda plant won a tire shoot-out conducted by Harley-Davidson in San Antonio, Texas, marking the start of a relationship between the two companies. In 1981, Harley- Davidson named Dunlop as the Original Equipment tire business for Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycles of that year. The partnership has lasted over four decades, with the two companies collaborating on numerous tire innovations, including wide white walls and multi-tread touring motorcycle tires.
“It’s incredible to think this facility has been building motorcycle tires for fifty years,” says Mike Buckley, vice president of sales and marketing, Dunlop. “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. 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.”
Dunlop’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. All tires used in the series are developed and manufactured by Dunlop in its New York facility. 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.