Have you ever stopped to think about what goes into making the tyres that you mount on your motorcycle wheels? Try and break it down and you will be left with a series of other questions like what kinds of rubber compounds they use, what tread patterns, steel or nylon belted, and so on. I myself am fascinated by the kind of technology that goes into the construction of what is ultimately the only point of contact with the ground once we are on the move.
TVS Eurogrip has been one of the frontrunners in terms of tyre technology and manufacturing, and are quickly matching strides with other global manufacturers in terms of quality as well as competitive pricing. With a design centre in Milan, Italy in addition to the high-tech R&D facility in Madurai, TVS Eurogrip has a sales network encompassing 85 countries and counting. And when we got the invite to have a look at the manufacturing process and test their new Roadhound tyres at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore, I jumped at the opportunity and was soon on my way to the temple town of Madurai.
At TVS Srichakra, we were introduced to the full lineup of two-wheeler tyres, which included everything from EV tyres to off-road knobbies. The star of the show though was the new Roadhound tyres for superbikes, available in 120/70ZR17 for the front while the rear gets two options, 160/60ZR17 and 180/55ZR17. What made this special was the fact that it featured a zero-degree steel belted construction along with an advanced Quadrazone compound. This meant that four different compounds, chosen for their respective properties like maximum grip and maximum mileage, were laid out together on different sections of the tyre for optimal performance. Now isn’t that interesting?
We were then taken on a tour of the facility where we got to observe the whole process of manufacturing a motorcycle tyre, right from processing the raw rubber, all the way to the final moulding of the treads. It also helps to know that there are stringent quality control checks carried out on a regular basis to ensure top-notch performance overall. Not only that, there are dedicated test riders who cover a minimum distance of 250+ km on a daily basis under various conditions to track real-world performance. There seems to be no shortage of dedication to quality here.
The next day saw us at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore, all bright and perky to test out the Roadhound tyres. It did help that we were made aware of exactly what the tyre was constructed of, so that we could individually figure out how much of all that research and development translated into real-world performance. We had a lineup consisting of the Kawasaki Ninja 650, the Kawasaki Z650, the Honda CBR650F, the Benelli TRK 502, and the Harley Davidson Street Rod, all shod with the Roadhound tyres.
Now, a crucial part of the whole experience was setting up all the motorcycles perfectly so that we could focus solely on the tyres. That is where former Grand Prix racer Toshihiro Wakayama comes in. With one of the most infectious smiles that I have ever seen, this sprightly elder seems totally unassuming. That is until he dons his leathers and mounts a motorcycle, after which he becomes a vaguely recognisable blur on the racetrack. After making sure that everything was just perfect for us, he gave us the green light and we took over.
Taking out all the motorcycles on the track one by one, it was made evident that the Roadhound tyres really lived up to all the hype. I even went to the extent of trying to force it to misbehave here and there, but the tyres just refused to let go of the tarmac. Even on the Benelli TRK 502 and the Harley Davidson Street Rod, which aren’t really meant to be the best on a racetrack, I would have to say that the tyres compensated for whatever the bikes lacked. With the Kawasaki Z650 and the Honda CBR650F, the Roadhounds complemented them perfectly, giving us the capability to attack corners with ample ferocity and confidence.
The tyres performed consistently well lap after lap with no compromise on grip as well as stability at any point during the sessions. Overall, I can say that TVS Eurogrip has done an exceptional job with the Roadhound tyres, and I really look forward to what else they have in store for us in the near future.