Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 vs WM01

The competition is fierce as the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02, famed for its excellent grip on snow, challenges the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM01, which is although older, is notable for its fantastic handling on ice. Let’s check out both boys with greater details.


Key Takeaway

  • Snow Traction: The WM01 stands out due to its aggressive tread pattern, which traps fluffy snow more effectively.
  • Ice Performance: The WM02 is superior in icy conditions because of its aggressive siping pattern and closed-up in-groove notches.
  • Wet Grip: The WM02 surpasses with more aggressive and flexible sipes.
  • Hydroplaning: The WM01 performs remarkably well in curved aqua tests, offering superior cornering.
  • Dry Lateral Traction: The WM01 lacks the optimal lateral traction due to its wider grooves and larger lugs.
  • Dry Directional Grip: The WM02 offers better directional grip due to its streamlined structure and a wider continuous central rib.
  • Comfort Levels: The WM02 wins in noise reduction, while the WM01 excels in vibration absorption.
  • Tread Life: The WM02 excels in tread life due to its lighter weight and more elastic rubber compound.

Let’s start with snow performance.

Snow Traction

First off let me say, that both boys demonstrate impressive performance in various snowy conditions, yielding comparable outcomes.

However, if I were to choose one, I’d opt for the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM01, as this tire possesses a slight advantage, particularly on fluffy snow surfaces.

The WM01 basically offers a more aggressive tread pattern with thicker interlocking lugs, featuring a lot of biters, including snow vices, and in-groove notches, which efficiently trap fluffy snow.

This design facilitates ground contact with the snow trapped within, enhancing traction. And as snow get lodged in more easily on this tire, it offer superior performance. (Because snow sticks better on snow, then on tire’s tread rubber).

The WM02 on the other hand, lacks here, with it’s more closed up tread voids.

Ice Performance

In icy conditions, the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 surpasses its competitor by demonstrating superior braking capabilities and shorter average braking distances.

So what makes this tire stop and accelerate quicker in the tests?

Well, its exceptional performance can be attributed to its meticulously designed biters which grab on to the icy terrain with greater gripping power.

The tire features more aggressive siping pattern, basically along with closed up in-groove notches which offers superior directional grip and steering response, relatively.

On the other hand, the wider lateral tread voids of the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM01’s central tread area, crucial for efficient braking, struggle to secure a better grip on packed ice.

Additionally, the tire lacks flexibility due to its larger lugs, preventing the biters from gripping the slippery icy surface as effectively as its counterpart.

Wet Traction

Wet traction primarily relies on the tire’s tread design and rubber compound. And these factors determine the tire’s gripping ability and resistance to hydroplaning. Let’s discuss them individually.

Wet Grip

Siping plays a crucial role in wet grip, and although both tires have sufficient siping, the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 still manages to outperforms the other.

That’s because upon testing, the tire featured 4 feet shorter braking distances and two seconds faster handling lap times.

So what’s helping the tire here?

Well, it’s more aggressive sipes, of course, combined with the fact that those sipes, along with the lugs are flexible, so they can breath water in and out more efficiently.

(That’s how sipes work, BTW, the squeeze/contract to form a vacuum within the slits, and those then suck water particles in, clearing away the path, for rubber to grip).

The WMO1 lacks these features, it’s sipes aren’t that flexible, nor aggressive.

Though the tire does better in the other aspect of overall wet performance, aqua or hydroplaning.


Aquaplaning occurs when a layer of water builds up between the tire tread and the road surface, leading to a loss of contact and gliding on the water.

The WM01 excels in this area, especially during cornering.

Two tests were performed to evaluate this: the Straight Aqua test and the Curved Aqua test.

And although the difference between the two tires is minimal in the Straight Aqua test, the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM01 performs remarkably well in the Curved Aqua test, indicating its superiority in rolling over water while cornering.

Dry Traction

Dry grip is a combination of directional grip and lateral traction. So let me start with the later one.

Lateral Traction

Lateral traction refers to the sideways grip of a tire, which depends on the contact patch and rubber composition.

And considering both factors, it becomes apparent that the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM01 falls short in this area.

The tire’s wider grooves do not establish ample contact with the ground, and its larger lugs bend more when cornering under increased weight, which leads to over and understeering, resulting in slower handling response.

Directional Grip

Directional grip is measured when the tire rolls straight.

And in this regard, the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 delivers better results, as it features a more streamlined structure and a wider continuous central rib, resulting in shorter braking distances and acceleration times.

On the other hand, the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM01 lacks this streamlined design due to its wider grooves and a more aggressive asymmetric pattern, which affects its ability to roll straight as efficiently, especially on highways.

Comfort Levels

Tire comfort is primarily influenced by road noise and vibration absorption.

Noise occurs when air particles hit the tire’s tread, and the balder the tire gets, the nosier it gets, as air particles have more room to strike with full force.

That’s why the Dunlop WM02 with a more closed-up tread design restricts the movement of air particles and reduces the impact force against the tread walls, compared to its louder counterpart.

Though regarding vibration absorption, the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM01 is taking the lead, providing superior abilities to soak up vibrations and settle them effectively.

That’s why it gets confusing sometimes, when you’re considering these tires’ comfort level.

Tread Life

Tread longevity is affected by rolling resistance, tread depth, and (tread) lug flexibility, and considering all these aspect, the Dunlop Winter Maxx WM02 seems to be taking the lead.

It’s lighter weight reduces the pressure exerted on its lugs as they rub against the road, and its more elastic rubber compound helps the overall wear rate.

On the other side, the WM01 not only features a greater weight, but also wider grooves. So each lug has to carry more pressure as it rolls on the ground, resulting in greater rolling friction, increasing tread wear.

So which tire to go for?

Well, you can go for either.

The Dunlop WM02 offers superior traction on ice, wet and dry conditions, and you also get a quieter and longer lasting ride with it as well.

The WM01 on the other side, excels in fluffy snowy conditions, because of its wider grooves, which by the way, also help the tire when it comes to hydroplaning resistance.

And yes, the tire also features superior impact comfort performance too.