Apollo sent us a pair of its first two-wheeler radial tyres for review, so we slapped them onto our long-term RR 310 to see if they were an improvement over the rather average Michelin Pilot Streets which come as standard on the TVS. These tyres are aimed at performance-oriented machines along the lines of the KTM family of bikes as well as the Bajaj Dominar 400, the BMW 310s and, of course, the TVS Apache RR 310.
The first thing I noticed was that the new tyres felt softer than the Michelin rubber and generated a marginal improvement in ride quality. The first few hundred kilometres were clocked in the city and there was a noticeable improvement in grip on the flowing bends of the many flyovers I encounter on my daily commute.
The Alpha H1 tyres are W-rated, which means they are rated to safely handle speeds up to 270kph – well above the abilities of the bikes it is designed for. As expected, the occasional panic braking scenario is a norm on our highways, and despite slamming the brakes, the tyres didn’t get out of shape. There is a little more feel at the lever under braking too, thanks to the higher grip.
These tyres are more communicative than the Michelins on winding roads and encourage you to carry more lean angle. Edge grip is higher and the only gripe I had was that quick direction changes take a little more effort. With the monsoons making a retreat, I couldn’t test their performance on wet surfaces, but Apollo claims that their V-grooves disperse water rapidly and provide better grip in wet conditions.
To sum up, this is a better tyre than the stock Michelins. While it might not be as good as the W-rated Metzeler Sportec M5s, it does offer a great balance between grip, comfort and braking. The price is quite high though – at Rs 6,499 for the front and Rs 8,499 for the rear, a set of Alpha H1s are just about Rs 3,000 shy of the W-rated Metzelers’ price point.
However, the big draw comes in the promised tyre life. Apollo claims 50 percent more longevity than its rivals, which will make them much better value in the long run. We have clocked nearly 2,000km with the new tyres and haven’t faced any punctures yet; although there are a few small cuts. We’d like to set a few thousand more kilometres to see how they hold up and will update this review on our website in due time.
Price: Rs 14,998