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”.