Tyre Ramblings

With rains knocking on the door, it was time for me to switch from the 2.75×18 Continental from the rear of my Fiero to brand new 3.25×18 M45 (with odo reading at 5,864km) . On dry surface Continental did well that too with slight uneven wear at the center but on wet surface it was handful to ride, may be due to unever wear, as I have ridden bikes with 2.75×18 rear in rains without any issues.

As soon as I got the bike back with new tyre, I felt the bike to be a bit heavy in turning, really missed the thinner rear tyre. After over 100km’s with the new tyres I found the following difference:

  • Cornering: With 2.75 rear the bike would slide at speed over 80 in a leaned position, so had to shift my weight a little bit to reduce the lean angle. With 3.25 I can lean as much as I want.
  • Braking: With a wider contact patch the bike is more stable under hard braking with 3.25 as compared to 2.75 but can’t really compare as 2.75 was a really hard tyre whereas 3.25 is a comparatively softer.
  • High speed stability: I have often read that wider tyre = more stable at high speed. So it holds true, the bike was more stable with 3.25 on the highway but with 2.75 it was slightly less stable, making you feel all the time that you are “riding” a bike.
  • Performance and mileage: Haven’t got time to put the bike in front of gun but will do it soon and update on this aspect.

So what do I want? If I knew about so much of a difference (since 2001 I have used 3.00×18 and 3.25×18 M45 on my Fiero) 2.75 tyre would make, I might have gone with a 2.75×18 M45 instead of 3.25 as that would have helped in rain’s as well.

More so, after reading this post on RearSet and my exp so far, I am convinced that these fat tyres we are getting on our Indian bikes are really not needed. A good quality (sticky) and smaller sized tyre would do well but then there are some issues with that:

  • Tyre life: There are people who don’t buy a bike just because it gives 5km/lt less mileage than other bike. So once they start to get a tyre which lasts less than half of what the current tyres last, they might have a heart attack.
  • Poser points: A wider tyre always looks cooler than a thinner tyre. So how will those poser boys will survive if there are only thinner tyres available? Look around and you will see many Rossi’s on their bikes with tyres as wide as what you will see on some 100+bhp machines.
  • Cost fastor: M45 costs now over Rs 1,500 and in 2001 it used to cost around Rs 1,000. At the same time other tyres cost well under Rs 1,000. So a cost difference of almost Rs 1,000. I don’t think even 1% of the majority of people will be ready to shell out these few hundered bucks for some better tyre. Welcome to India.
  • Lean angle problem: With thinner tyre you can’t lean the bike as much as you can with fatter tyre. So what will happen to those poser points of claiming that how many times you scrapped your foot pegs while coming to college today?
  • All terrain handling: In India we ride our bike on all kind of surface with the same tyre. The place where even a good quality thinner tyre made for tarmac use will fail is during offroading, where the wider tyre always do well. Not many people will be keen on having two set of tyres – one for tarmac and one for offroading, hence go for the compromise and fit the fat tyre.

In short, though “bigger is always better” but in case where the smaller is technologically superior than the bigger, smaller is better. Its hard to convince previous point to those who knows only one thing “bigger is always better”.

4 thoughts on “Tyre Ramblings”

  1. >
    That Nav, is only true for not very sticky thin tyres. Personally, I once leaned an M80 over to the pegs and the tyres held up perfectly. Obviously, I would have been a hell of a lot happier if the 0.0018-16 or whatever that tyre was had been a lot stickier. If your tyre is sticky enough, the only thing a thinner tyre will do is that as your lean angle deepens, the bike will ‘fall’ faster into whatever angle you want until you either run out of tread, or start rubbing hard parts on the road and get levered off… I’m pretty much willing to bet that you can scrape the pegs on everything this side of an R1 on sticky tyres… never mind the size.

  2. Dear Navendu,
    I came across your blog while researching about the Fiero F2. The fact is that I sold off my trusted 1999 Suzuki Samurai and got a very well maintained TVS Fiero F2(2003) at a very good price. What made me go for a used bike is a long story. Put in short I did not find a single bike currently in market that suited me. All of them are too showy I feel. Bulging front and side farings, garish stickers etc. etc. I needed something subtle. The F2 suited me and also the TVS mark also had something to do. After all I have lived with the Samurai for the last 8 years without a single problem. The only problem was; I am 6 feet and 80 kgs. The samurai felt too smallish. Hence the change.
    The F2 had a worn TVS rear tyre (90/90×18). When I went to the tyre shop for a new one, they said that particular tyre size is unique to the F2 and only TVS Tyres manufactures them. What a bother! I didn’t want a TVS tyre. They suggested that I go for a 3.00×18. I would fit. Having no other option I bought and fitted a Ceat Secura Sport 3.00×18. I normally do city commuting and absolutely no stunts with my bike. Could you please comment whether this tyre is appropiate for the bike?
    And also since you are a Fiero user, could you give some inputs about the F2? Was it a good choice?
    Thanks in advance.
    Dr. Arnab

  3. @Rearset: Coudn’t put this feeling in words “the only thing a thinner tyre will do is that as your lean angle deepens, the bike will ‘fall’ faster into whatever angle you want until you either run out of tread”, thanks for doing it.
    In my case with 2.75 rear, the tyre would run out of thread if I lean along with the bike, at speeds above 80 but if I hangoff a bit, I could carry more speed as the lean angle would reduce.


    @Dr. Arnab:
    About the tyre: The tyre shop guy is not well informed. MRF Zapper Q comes in 90/90×18 size. I have used it on my Fiero and they performed good in dry as well as rain, better than TVS tyres. I have not used Ceat tyres on any bike other than my NvSpl and they worked well in all conditions, so I assume they will do well on bikes also. About the size 3.00×18 and 90/90×18, there is not much of diff but I think 90/90 got more rounder profile so helps in while taking corners. So enjoy the ride and do check how the tyre behaves in all riding conditions (wet, gravel, etc) and accordinglt adjust your riding.
    About F2: It got the same lovely engine as Fiero, the 2nd snd 3rd gear ratios of F2 are altered to give better in city ride. Its wheelbase is increased as Fiero tend to go light from front with a pillion rider. Also box swingarm is added to give better stability, as also F2 has a OEM option of disc brake (same one I got fitted on my Fiero) and ya its weight has gone up to 126kg from 115kg of Fiero and then it got tachometer as well :-). In short TVS gave F2 all those things which people missed in Fiero. So its a good bike. Enjoy the ride.

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