TVS Eurogrip RoadHound tyre track test review
The last three years have seen a considerable rise in the demand for superbike tyres in India. International tyre brands have long served this segment, but after the Covid-19 pandemic they’ve faced issues with restrictions on tyre imports and therefore to supply tyres for Indian consumers. It has severely limited the number of such tyres coming to India and as a result, there has been an insane price hike in the market for these tyres. But on the positive side, this has presented an excellent opportunity for Indian tyre manufacturers to provide made-in-India solutions. TVS Eurogrip is one Indian tyre giant which has taken advantage of this situation. It has developed a series of new superbike tyres, the first of which is the ‘RoadHound’, a sport touring tyre for bikes ranging from 600cc to 1400cc. It’s the first zero-degree steel belt radial tyre that's been made by an Indian manufacturer and it is also W-rated. The other big talking point of the RoadHound range is its pricing. Because it's made on Indian soil, TVS Eurogrip has been able to price it very competitively, almost 30 to 40 per cent less than its rivals. The RoadHound is available in a single 120/70 section size for the front, which is priced at Rs 12,999 and two options for the rear — 160/60 and 180/55 priced at Rs 14,999 and Rs 16,999 respectively.
TVS Eurogrip claims that the RoadHound is a ‘world class’ product which can easily take on all the foreign rivals and to prove its mettle, the brand invited a few of us auto journos to test it on an array of different bikes, at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore.
But before we were let loose on the track, we also got a chance to see how this tyre is actually made at TVS Eurogrip’s manufacturing facility in Madurai, for a very good reason. The RoadHound is the first Indian tyre to feature a four-compound technology called ‘Quadrazone’ and TVS Eurogrip is the only tyre manufacturer in India who has a machine in their factory, which can produce this tyre. More on the quadrazone construction later, when I’ll give you my riding impressions. First, here’s how the RoadHound is made.
It all begins with a batch of raw materials which arrive in large quantities at the factory, including rubber, silica and chemicals like sulphur and zinc oxide. Samples are collected, thoroughly checked in the labs and after they are approved, the production process begins. All the elements are mixed and the final product is then put through a roller to make a thin strip.
Strips of the various compounds are then amalgamated into a single compound, through that one-of-a-kind machine which TVS Eurogrip have in India. The final rubber which comes out as a single strip, is then placed on a mould which gives it the shape of a tyre. Here, the workers put steel threads on the rubber surface to make the ‘zero degree steel belt’. Now what is a zero degree steel belt you ask? It is essentially a steel skeleton, which prevents the tyre from deforming, due to the centrifugal forces, at high speeds. The last step involves curing the tyre in another mould and applying treads and name tags to its side walls, giving it its identity. This process can take anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes. After that quick pressure bath, a fresh RoadHound pops out.
The next day at the track, TVS Eurogrip had arranged an array of bikes for us to test, shod with RoadHounds. I first went out on a Harley-Davidson Street Rod, and after a couple of warm-up laps, I really started pushing the bike. I was surprised to find out just how confidence inspiring the RoadHounds felt. The Street Rod's V-Twin engine produces a healthy amount of low-end torque and even when I whacked the throttle wide open, coming out of corners, the RoadHound just gripped and kept the bike stable, omitting any fishtail drama that would've happened otherwise.
I then got my hands on a Kawasaki Z650, and this bike helped me to understand just how good the RoadHound really is. Its stiff sidewall kept the Z very stable in the corners and even under hard braking, the bike didn't lose its line. It started drizzling, while I was out and a few parts of the track got pretty damp, but that didn't seem to hamper the RoadHound's performance at all. The bikes felt just as safe and steady in the wet, like they did when the track was bone dry.
I then hopped on to a Benelli TRK 502. Now, this ADV-tourer isn't at home on the track at all, but the RoadHounds on this bike, or rather their performance, is what impressed me the most. I did expect them to perform well on the smaller and lighter bikes, but the way these tyres made the TRK 502 handle, is what dazzled me. Because of the RoadHound's round profile, the bike felt very easy to tip into the corners and performed like a bike that was much lighter.
The quadrazone construction of the RoadHounds works just as it is advertised. The tyre gets a hard compound at the centre, soft compound at its sides and two strips of an even softer compound on the edge. The hard compound aids longevity, and softer compounds help with cornering grip. It gives the tyre a perfect split personality.
In the briefing, before we rode on the track, V Sivaramkrishnan, Chief Technology Officer, TVS Srichakra Limited, told us that, "the RoadHound was built to inspire confidence in a rider, on such powerful bikes." And I have to say that statement is true. The tyre lets you exploit and understand the full performance and dynamics of your motorcycle, rather well. And at the price at which it's offered, it definitely makes for a serious contender in the superbike tyre space in India. It should be high up on your consideration list.