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Old 4th May 2012, 21:46   #1
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Arrow Motorcycle Tyres : Compared!

Mods: There is no tyre thread for motorcycle tyres.I felt if will be helpful for others who want to change the tyres on their bikes so that they can choose better ones available in the market.Kindly make this as a sticky.

We all know the importance of a good set of tyres for our vehicles.After all they are the only point of contact between you and the road.These tyres take even more prominence when it comes motorcycles because there is only one pair of tyres that hold you to the road and the odds are more against you if and when something goes wrong.So its very important to have a good set of shoes for your bike.

So here i will be penning down my observations through experience of some of the tyres that can be used in the most commonly sold motorcycles in India. I will not be including the scooter tyres(Like that of wego,dio etc) since there are not many options for them in India.Note that i have written about the tyres that i have used and have first hand experience with .If you have used other tyres then you can add your experience here,preferably in the format followed for all the tyres,so that it can be helpful for the members and guests alike

So here i start

MRF Zapper C

Application:Rear tyre
Commonly used sizes : 100/90-17 ,120/80-17
Costs approx 2500 in 120/80-17

This tyre is the mostly used in the Pulsar range of bikes. Its a decent tyre .With everything just decent about it. Its a typical hard compound tyre in the size 100/90-17.Just refuses to wear off! however in its 120/80-17 avatar its a medium compound ! Yea even i was surprised. But its true that the fatter rubber is softer than its sibling.This i think was made for the P220 as its marketed as having Soft compound tyres.

Pros:
Decent grip in wet and dry alike.
Very resistant to puncture

Cons:
Fishtails like crazy once its clocked few thousand kms.
Tramlines a lot.
Loses its line during cornering


MRF Zapper VYDE

Application:Rear tyre
Commonly used sizes: 120/80-17
Costs approx 2600 in 120/80-17


The vyde is a looker! No second thoughts about that. Its the best looking among the MRF tyres.Its also one of the best after market tyres of Indian make available easily at affordable prices.Its a soft-medium compound tyre with a very good tread depth.It has a 'roundier' profile than the Zapper C.
This tyre 120/80-17 fits all the pulsar bikes(old 150,180 too that have 100/90-17 as stock) without any modification,cutting of chain guard etc etc. Just plug and play. Even if it touches the chain guard ,any local mechanic and do some adjustment to the swing arm screws and set it right. Trust me this is the best upsize tyre you can blindly put your money on if you are not interested in 'searching' for imported tyres.You shall not be disappointed with its performance.Braking distance 100kmph-0kmph in a pulsar 180 using just the rear brake is 100 meters

Pros:
Excellent grip in dry,very good grip in wet.
Looks very good.
Excellent cornering ability.It just leans into corners without any effort and holds its line
Flickable in traffic
Cushioning ride

Cons:
Wears out fast.Typical life is 15-18K kms
More prone to punctures


Michelin Pilot Sporty

Application:Both Front and Rear( Direction of rotation differs)
Commonly available sizes: 100/90-17, 110/80-17
Cost: Since this tyre is not officially launched by Michelin,its available only as grey market imports.Price varies between 2000-3000 rupees.

The pilot sporty is a round profile tyre with a very good looking tread pattern .Due to its round profile even the 110/80-17 looks puny.Its also a soft-medium compound tyre like the vyde.The round profile helps a lot during cornering . Its dry grip is very good but its the wet grip where it really shines. Excellent would be an understatement.

Pros:
Excellent wet grip.Holds its line even when braking hard.
Good cornering ability.Holds its line during the turn.

Cons:
Very sensitive to punctures.
Bumpy ride due to a almost non existent and hard side wall


MRF ZAPPER FS

Application:Front tyre
Commonly Available sizes:90/90-17, 2.75-17
Costs: Approx 1650 rupees

The FS is the front tyre used in all pulsar series. Its a normal tire with a decent wet/dry grip. Nothing great to write home about. Does it job.Has a hard compound rubber.

Pros:
Nothing to explicitly write about.Can be called an all rounder

Cons:
The hard rubber develops cracks after a year of usage.
Not a great gripper of wet tarmac.
Squeals ,Locks up under medium-hard braking.


MRF ZAPPER FY

Application: Front tyre
Commonly available sizes: 80/90-17
Price: Approx 1600 rupees

The FY is the front tyre that comes as a stock in the R15 V1.According to Yamaha, MRF developed the front the rear tyres of R15 keeping grip and cornering as the highest priority.And boy it lives upto its expectations! Its truly an amazing tyre with incredible amount of grip! Handles wet and dry conditions with aplomb.After i changed my pulsar tyres with this one ,i was astonished by its grip.Not once has it squealed under hard braking,neither has it locked up! Lasts 15K to 20K kms.

Pros:
An excellent tyre at a very cheap price.
Superb dry and wet traction.(You can do stoppies on wet tarmac!)
Excellent assistance during corners.
Increase in braking ability.

Cons:
Nothing i can think about

MRF ZAPPER FY1 ( R15V2 Front tyre)

Application-Front tyre
Size- 90/80-17 Tubeless
Price - 3100 at Yamaha Showroom.


Pros:
Grip
Feedback
Stability
Awesome Braking

Cons:
None

Okay, So its been one week since i have started using this tyre on my pulsar 180 UG3 and i can describe it in one word- PHENOMENAL!

The tyre grips,grips,grips................................. .............,and grips!

Want to throw around the corners- check.
Emergency lane changes- check
Emergency braking -Hell yeah!


One thing i like a lot is the feedback this tyre gives.It will say exactly how much pressure you need to apply on the brake lever.It also provides excellent feedback of the type of tarmac.Its sibling the FY did not provide much feedback.And it never locks or squeals no matter how hard you brake.

The braking in dry once the tyre is warmed up is mind boggling.To say in figures, i was able to stop my pulsar from 70-0 in 30 feet using the front brakes only! You can feel the G-force when you brake!And the bike stops in a dead straight line.So squealing,no slipping,no sideways movement.One more noticeable point is the handle bar stays straight under hard braking.Its your sibling(Zapper FY) used to tilt the handle towards left under hard braking but this doesn't .

Sometimes i feel my pulsar 180 does not do justice to the grip level this tyre provides.But i am sure that i can bank upon this tyre to save my skin during those emergency situations!

Verdict- The best replacement tyre for Indian conditions than can be used on any bike whose front tyre specs read 2.75-17, 90/90-17 . Pulsar and RTR owners-Chuck the factory tyre out and replace it with this tyre .Or if your existing tyre is up for replacement go for this tyre without any hint of doubt ! It can convert a normal street bike into a corner craving SBK

Ride Safe

Michelin Pilot Sporty (Made In India)

Application:Rear
Commonly available sizes: 120/80-17
Cost:Price varies between 2500-3300 rupees.

I had used and reviewed a Made in Thailand pilot sporty above. I was on look out for 110 or 120 section tyres since the zapper vyde was almost at its end of usable life. I chanced upon this 120 section,Indian made Pilot Sporty . Since i was very happy with the previous Pilot Sporty,I purchased this immediately. I was damn sure that the grip levels would be as awesome as my older pilot sporty. But how wrong i was!!The dry grip is good but nothing exceptional.Brakes well and corners well too. But the wet grip is where this tyre disappoints. It does not grip well and hardly inspires confidence. Throw in a slightest amount of muck and the wheels go spinning.I would say this tyre is downright dangerous in muck after the rains but better in a full blown downpour.

Clearly the tyre compound has been altered to suit the mileage oriented Indian junta.I see negligible tyre wear at 10,000 kms whereas its softer, Made in Thailand counterpart had worn down half by 10K mark.This tyre will last 20K plus easily.

I would prefer zapper vyde which is a true all-rounder over this!

Pros:
Good dry grip
Good cornering ability in dry condition.Holds its line during the turn.

Cons:
Bad wet grip and mediocre grip in slushy conditions.

This will be slightly different review as in it is of a scooter tyre and not a motorcycle tyre. This tyre is installed on our Mahindra Flyte and ridden for 10K kms.

Metro Continental Navigator

Application:Front and Rear
Commonly used sizes : 3.5-10
Costs approx 1100 Rupees with Tube

If there was one of the worst tyres that i would like to list , this tyre would top that list! Mediocre wet grip and strictly average dry grip. Skids at the slightest hint of moisture on the road. No confidence at all to brake on wet roads forget pouring rain! Rock hard sidewall offers little or no cushioning. The rubber compound is hard and will easily last for 40K kms! There is hardly any wear after 10K kms.

Pros:
Average DRY grip

Cons:
Dangerously bad wet grip
Hard compound
No confidence in braking and turns

One word - AVOID . Continental tyres are crap. And this is no exception and holds the bad characters of continental tyres well!

If you want the tyres to last 40K plus kms then go for it. If you are putting this on your family vehicle then you are putting them at Risk!

Michelin Pilot Street 110/70-17

Application:Front tyre, Radial
Using as : Rear tyre after reversing the direction of rotation based on the information from various motorcycle forums.
Available sizes: 110/70-17(Front), 140/70-17(Rear), 150/60-17(Rear)
Price range- Rs 4000 to Rs 6000 depending on the size.

The pilot street is designed for medium performance bikes, 150CC to 300CC category and is a soft to medium compound tyre . After the horrible experience with my previous 'Made In India' Michelin Pilot Sporty 120/80-17, i had decided i would buy the best tyre i could lay my hands upon this time around after sufficient research. Soft-Medium compound tyres are scare, almost non-existant, in the 100 and 110 section . All of them are Medium-Hard compound tyres . Only one available is the Zapper S 100/80-17, which is the rear tyre of the R15 old version. But finding this tyre proved more elusive than finding a needle in the haystack.

Reading through KTM thread here , i chanced upon the Pilot street and was happy to see the positive reviews by 390 owners. Also checked other forums and most of them had only praises for this one. Only catch - the 110/70-17 is placed as front tyre. After further reading around forums, i concluded that it was OK to use a radial tyre designed for the front, at the rear, if the direction of rotation is reversed. Reason being, the steel cords are placed in such a way to aid braking loads and not the acceleration push.Meaning, the cord arrangement is such that during braking the cords are pushed towards each other.So to suit the acceleration forces experienced for a tyre at the rear , reversing the direction of the rotation will to some extent ensure that the cords are pushed apart to lay down power to the tarmac.

So after much thought, finally purchased the tyre and installed it a couple of weeks back. Have ridden them for 500 kms in rain, shine, gravel and below are my impressions


Pros:
->Best tyre you can get in India currently for bikes with 100-110 section rear tyre
->Solid grip in dry,very good grip in wet.
->Silence. Now, one will associate silence to car tyres. But motorcycle tyres also create a racket. For the first few days, i wondered why the bike engine is sounding so gruff after installing these tyres and later came to know that the racket created by the earlier tyre was masking the engine gruffness!
->Very confidence inspiring behavior .Could be due to radial construction.
->Excellent cornering ability.Leans into corners without any effort and holds its line very very well.
->Flick able in traffic and at also at high speeds
->Does not lock up even under moderate to hard braking where most tyres give up
->Does not fishtail at all under hard braking. In fact it resists locking up as much as possible.
->Excellent braking ability in dry and wet. High speeds(80 plus) can be shed using the rear brake alone in wet and dry with equal confidence.
->Gives excellent feedback of the road surface.

Cons:
->Since 110/70-17 means sidewall of just 77mm compared to the usual 88 or 90mm in a 100/90 or a 110/80 tyre, the shock abosrbing capacity is reduced resulting the transmission of bumps to the seat. However it is not too bad. You will forget this con once you get used to the grip these offer.The reduced sidewall also means speedo error. The bike reaches a lower speed at a given RPM compared to stock.
->Life might be around 20K. But hey, for the grip these offer, i would not mind.I would rather spend a couple of thousand extra on good tyre than pay to the doctor in case something goes wrong because of bad/average tyres.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 3rd July 2015 at 10:50. Reason: Added Michelin Pilot Street 110/70-17 review. Thanks!
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Old 4th May 2012, 22:48   #2
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

Nice compilation sagarpadaki,

I would like to add another tyre which unfortunately is not in production anymore. It is the CEAT Secura Sport which was used on my Bullet 350 for almost 40k kms.

I looked for it in the CEAT HeadOffice in Bangalore ,but it was no longer made for 19inch rims.

The button thread pattern was perfect for both on and off road riding. By off road here, I mean going off the kerb to the side of the road in emergency situations, and the bike was stable.

Same goes for in the wet as well. The wear was quite slow, compared to the MRF Nylogrip and Dunlop JAP 350 I had before which wore out quite fast and locked up at any sudden brake. I finally decided to change the CEAT when it just would not wear anymore but started noticing cracks and the ride was getting quite harsh.

The one I am running now is a MRF Meteor 110/90 19 on my 350 , which was running on my 500 for quite a while until it started rubbing the swing arms. This again is no longer in production for 19 inch rims. Very similar to the CEAT in terms of grip but much more comfortable since it is wider and again refused to wear out.

Now I am running a Pirelli 100/90 on my 500 rear . Not sure of the model, will update that soon. Still in the first 2000 kms and is okay so to speak.

The worst was the Dunlop JAP 350 which the my 350 was purchased with. It lasted hardly 20000kms and would lock up at every hard braking. Was happy to change it to MRF Nylogrip which was slightly better than the Dunlops.
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Old 5th May 2012, 07:54   #3
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

Very nice thread Sagar! And very clear and crisp explanation as well.

Just one clarification : The Michelin Pilot Sporty is imported officially by Michelin India. They may be out of stock once in a way but it is officially imported.
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Old 5th May 2012, 11:41   #4
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

@sagarpadaki
Excellent compilation. Thank you. It would be great to have inputs regarding 18 inch variants too.
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Old 5th May 2012, 12:57   #5
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
Very nice thread Sagar! And very clear and crisp explanation as well.

Just one clarification : The Michelin Pilot Sporty is imported officially by Michelin India. They may be out of stock once in a way but it is officially imported.
Thank you.

Since when is the pilot sporty being imported officially?
When i bought the tyre in Feb 2011 ,it was not.Even the Michelin official said that its imported separately by the dealers then. Even their website did not have any mention of this tyre then.However now i checked it and its there on their website with 100/90-17,3.00/17 for rear.

If availability is not an issue then this is one of the best tyre for 17 inchers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharanvenu View Post
@sagarpadaki
Excellent compilation. Thank you. It would be great to have inputs regarding 18 inch variants too.

Unfortunately ,i have no first hand experience with 18 inchers in Karizma,Apache etc. Probably ,the members here who have used good tyres in 18 inchers can contribute.
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Old 5th May 2012, 14:10   #6
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

thanks for sharing info, adding the photographs of the tyres will greatly enhance the visualization while reading the post
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Old 5th May 2012, 14:57   #7
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

Much needed thread. User reviews worth alot. 18inchers segment is slowing down. I am looking for F-90/90/18 and R-110/90/18. Finding a good front tyre is nightmare. I find, its easy going for manufactures like MRF, Ceat and TVS tyres as the industry doesn't have offering from international players.
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Old 5th May 2012, 16:56   #8
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

Ceat Secura is a good tyre. I had good experience on all times I changed from OEM to Ceat Secura type, but, I never had to ask fr the same. My trusted mechanic would get for me whenever I asked him to replace the tyre on bike (s).

MRFs are also good, though not as good as Ceat. Never tried Michellins or Pirellis on cheap 100-150 cc computer bikes. Probably try one on RETB when required to replace the Dunlops.
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Old 5th May 2012, 18:23   #9
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

Nice compilation, sagar.

I am using Continental ContiGo! and Michelin Pilot Sporty in my bike.

Both are soft compound, city use tyres.

Both Pilot Sporty and ContiGo! provides exceptional grip levels in the dry and the wet, but one area where it lacks is grip on loose gravel/ slush, the wheels just spin.

Pilot Sportys AFAIK are made in India (they have this on the tyre), while the ContiGo! is imported, it is also OE rubber for the Honda CBR 250.
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Old 5th May 2012, 18:30   #10
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

@DRIV3R:- Is ContiGo available in 18inc size? Even dunlop is not offering the products which are available in other countries, Bridgestone is not offering two wheeler tyres as well.
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Old 5th May 2012, 19:04   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gill View Post
@DRIV3R:- Is ContiGo available in 18inc size? Even dunlop is not offering the products which are available in other countries, Bridgestone is not offering two wheeler tyres as well.
I am not sure of that. I bought them in 17 inch sizes. I will esquire with the dealer and let you know.
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Old 5th May 2012, 20:08   #12
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Guys, if you posting review about the tyres please post it in the presented format. It will be helpful to others to read!! Lets keep the thread tidy with respect to reviews
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Old 5th May 2012, 20:10   #13
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

Continental Tires - Conti-Go

Application:Front & Rear tyre
Commonly used sizes : 100/70R17 & 140/70R17 (For CBR 250R)
Costs approx 3000 (for the above rear size during 2012 Mar/Apr)

This cross ply tyre is the OE for Honda CBR 250R. It's well suited if you're using the vehicle for long runs, expect long life as the tire is hard compound. It needs some time for optimum temperature to perform well. Rear tire life expectancy is close to 17-18K & front is still 22K (not sure when to replace as the tread is still good for another 2-3K)

Pros:
Decent grip in dry weather, but has to run for atleast 10-15 Kms
Very long life
Good resistant to puncture

Cons:
Not grippy at all
Loose confidence on wet/rains no matter how long it is run


MRF Zapper C

Application:Rear tyre
Commonly used sizes : 140/70R17
Costs approx : Not sure

This size is stock size for CBR 250R; not experienced in using, but from my inquiry, dealer says its radial, but, I think its still cross ply. Excellent tread pattern to vent out water & hence good on wet/rains & avoid hydroplaning to a great extent than competitors.

Pros:
Excellent tread pattern
Ideal for rain/wet weather

Cons:
Not sure how it performs on dry weather

CEAT

Application:Front & Rear Tire
Commonly used sizes : 2.50, 2.75, 3.00 18 inches
Costs approx : Not sure

2.50-18 & 2.75-18 are stock sizes for Yamaha Rx100, 2.75-18 & 3.00-18 are stock sizes for Rx135; stock size tread pattern provide excellent grip for a regular use & lasts upto 22-23K even on abused usage.

Pros:
Excellent grip on dry weather
Provides decent grip on wet weather, doesn't looses confidence though

Cons:
Same old design, no new pattern
Doesn't support cornering etc

Last edited by aargee : 5th May 2012 at 20:15.
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Old 5th May 2012, 20:14   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRIV3R
Nice compilation, sagar.

I am using Continental ContiGo! and Michelin Pilot Sporty in my bike.

Both are soft compound, city use tyres.

Pilot Sportys AFAIK are made in India
The pilot sporty that I used was made in Thailand. Maybe they have localized the production now.

Grip wise it is an excellent tyre!!! No doubt with that
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Old 6th May 2012, 23:42   #15
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Default Re: Motorcycle tyre shootout

Quote:
Originally Posted by sagarpadaki View Post
Michelin Pilot Sporty

Application:Both Front and Rear( Direction of rotation differs)
Commonly available sizes: 100/90-17, 110/80-17
Cost: Since this tyre is not officially launched by Michelin,its available only as grey market imports.Price varies between 2000-3000 rupees.

The pilot sporty is a round profile tyre with a very good looking tread pattern .Due to its round profile even the 110/80-17 looks puny.
First, thanks for opening a separate thread for tires alone. It was very much needed here.

Secondly, I have my doubts (I have quoted your post for that) if the Pilot Sporty is available for 17 inchers. The 110/80-17 is the stock tire size for RTR180, and I remember doing a lot of homework before swapping the stock tire with IRC. The only option, that time, in Pirelli for 110/80-17 (rear) size was MT75.

Also, my friend changed his Zma rear with Pilot Sporty, and I believe, Zma has 18 inch rim.
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