In a bid to stop the encroachment of Chinese tyres for premium motorcycles, the Indian government imposed a restriction on importing tyres in June 2020. This turned out to be an ordeal for the Indian big bike owners as the restriction was also applicable to the import of premium tyres based outside of China. Meanwhile, some Indian tyre brands took this up as an opportunity to provide Indian biking enthusiasts with rubbers that are locally made but offer performance that is close to imported tyres. One such brand is TVS Eurogrip.
Until earlier this year, the most premium tyres TVS Eurogrip had in its portfolio were for bikes up to 400cc. However, it was in April 2023 that the Madurai-based brand rolled out the Roadhounds — tyres suitable for naked and sport touring motorcycles ranging from 600cc to 1,400cc. Now, considering the kind of acceleration and top speed these bikes are capable of, making tyres suitable for them is no easy feat. TVS Eurogrip, meanwhile, claims to have the technology and expertise to achieve the same. In fact, the company has so much confidence in its product that it took us to the Kari Motor Speedway so that we could put the Roadhounds to their paces around the racetrack.
The Roadhound boasts of zero-degree steel belt radial construction similar to their Protorq Extremes, which we, at BikeWale, have come to really like — not just on the road but also on the racetrack. In simple terms, this construction comprises a carcass wrapped in steel belts placed at zero degrees to the direction of rotation, and it is meant to deliver superior traction for cornering, straight-line stability, and braking.
With the Roadhound, TVS Eurogrip has gone one step ahead and bestowed these tyres with Quadrazone, which packs dedicated compound for the shoulders and the central portion of the tyres for maintaining optimum grip in a straight line as well as while being leaned over corners. Moreover, widely spread groves and a high amount of silica in the treads promise unhindered feedback on wet and low-temperature surfaces.
TVS Eurogrip also puts a lot of emphasis on the rigorous track and road testing that these tyres have gone through in Austria, Spain, and at the brand’s technical centre in Milan, Italy. Moreover, Mr Toshihiro Wakayama has spearheaded the testing process of the Roadhounds. He has been testing tyres for over 40 years, has been a part of multiple international races like Suzuka Endurance, and has written seven books on track riding.
TVS Eurogrip had an interesting line-up of motorcycles for us to test these tyres on. The pack included the Kawasaki Z650, Kawasaki Ninja 650, Honda CBR650F, Benelli TRK 502'>Benelli TRK 502, Benelli Leoncino, and Harley-Davidson Street Rod 750. When asked about my choice of weapon to start the sessions with, I hopped on the Z650 without a second thought. It looked like the most apt bike to start the testing with, given my week-long stint with the bike in the past. Also, considering its displacement, engine character, and handling dynamics, it came across as the easiest bike to ride around a track like Kari.
I went out, finished the warm-up lap, and started pushing the Z650 only to realise the tyres were instilling a lot of confidence by delivering immense grip around corners. I started adding more lean angle with every consecutive turn and the level of grip from the Roadhounds didn’t deteriorate whatsoever. After a few minutes, as I started scraping the knee pucks, I could feel the rear of the Z acting a bit squirmy due to the overly soft rear suspension, which is an aspect I have always disliked about it. However, thanks to the sticky nature of the tyres, the composure of the bike was intact.
Now, I thought the great start on the Z650 was due to the bike’s sporty persona and my familiarity with it. But as I moved to the more relaxed and touring-focused Ninja 650, the result was the same. In fact, with the intention to test the limit of the tyres, I started going all gung-ho with the Ninja 650.
After the warm-up lap, I entered C1 much hotter than before, braked late, and went three cogs down in a swift motion. The front end exhibited commendable feedback while the rear slid and screeched a bit due to the aggressive downshifting but immediately held itself back together. Flicking the bike briskly from left to right while transitioning from C1 to C2, the tyres didn't show even a wee bit of slipperiness or discomposure. Interestingly, the penultimate corner of Kari had a sand patch at the centre which, as much as I tried avoiding it, ended up running over and that scared the wits out of me. However, the tyres acted as saviours and covered up for my lack of precision on the track.
The one bike I was least interested in riding around Kari was the Benelli TRK 501. Well, honestly, an adventure tourer as heavy and burly as the TRK looked completely out of place. However, looking at the grinning faces of the riders who came back in the pits on the TRK compelled me to give it a try. And it turned out to be a revelation! Thanks to the round profile of the tyres, even a bike like the TRK felt extremely agile and playful. And I could push it extremely hard owing to the confidence gained by riding the more powerful Ninja and Z earlier. Being reckless with the throttle at corner exits and scraping the pegs while leaning over felt like a cakewalk due to the profound confidence that the tyres instilled in me. It was the same story on the Harley-Davidson Street Rod and Honda CBR650F, and the entire experience was a wholesome one.
With prices starting from Rs. 13,000, the Roadhounds happen to be amongst the most affordable big bike tyres on sale in India. And the way they coped with our reckless riding on the track by delivering immense grip and feel, they are undoubtedly worth considering. While one of the TVS Eurogrip representatives confessed that the grip levels might be marginally lower than the more premium imported rubbers, we didn't feel they were lacking in any way whatsoever.
Now, needless to say, the grip levels at a race track are top notch which is not the case with public roads, especially in a country like India. As good an experience as we had with the Roadhounds on the track, we are equally eager to scrutinise how these rubbers tackle real-world challenges like wet roads, painted lines, cemented sections, oil spills, etc.
Tyre size and prices
120/70-ZR17 (Front): Rs. 12,999
160/60-ZR17 (Rear): Rs. 14,000
180/55-ZR17 (Rear): Rs. 16,999
TVS Eurogrip Roadhound tyres are available on e-commerce websites and at premium tyre retail stores.