The Indian motorcycle market has changed a lot in recent years, with consumers shifting from traditional commuters to more high-end motorcycles – motorcycles that not only deliver desired comfort and fuel mileage figures, but also performance. Now, aside from a powerful engine, most of us tend to forget that tires are an integral part of a motorcycle’s performance. After all, it’s the only contact between your bike and the road.
So here we are on a karting track with three different brands of tires. We also have the Bajaj Pulsar 220F which is one of the most popular premium motorcycles in India. And we’ll put the bike through a series of tests on this narrow, demanding track to determine which of the three tires the Pulsar 220F performs best.
So we started by testing the 0-60 time of the Pulsar 220F using its original brand of tires which we will call Make A. To give you a brief, in this acceleration test we started from a stop because we recorded the time taken to reach 60 km / h. Then we moved on to the brake test. And to test the braking performance of the A-brand as we went from 60 km / h to a complete stop with the Pulsar 220F. And the Pulsar 220F stopped at 27.05m from 60 to 0 km / h with the stock tires. Finally, we tested the original tires by doing three laps of the track and recording the best time among them as the final parameter for the tests.
After completing the tests on tire A, we made a quick change and swapped those with brand B tires. Again, we put the Pulsar 220 through the same tests as before. And after completing all three tests with brands A and B, here’s how the Pulsar 220F fared with brand A and B tires.
Switch tires to Ceat Zoom X3
Well, it was time to swap the rubbers again. And this time, we’ve fitted the Pulsar 220F with Ceat Zoom X3 tires specifically designed for high-end motorcycles. The brand also claims that the Zoom X3 offers excellent control and stability at high speeds. To find out if this is true, we tested the tires using the same acceleration, braking and lap time settings as before.
Acceleration with Zoom X3
After doing the 0-60 acceleration test with the Ceat Zoom X3, we compared it with the lap times of the other two brands to see which tire performed the best. And of the three options, the Pulsar 220F performed the best with the Ceat Zoom X3 tires.
The ‘Zig Zag’ pattern of the center groove and the ‘side grooves’ of the Zoom X3 not only grip the tarmac and provide better traction when the Pulsar 220 starts up, but also provide impressive straight-line stability.
Braking with Zoom X3
After the acceleration test was completed, we were able to see how the Pulsar 220F fitted with Ceat Zoom X3 tires performed under heavy braking. Again, the test was the same as before – three laps of anchor at 60 km / h to bring the bike to a standstill.
Here, too, the Ceat Zoom X3 performed better, if only slightly, compared to its rivals. As we discovered earlier in the 0-60 km / h test, the Zoom 3’s “side grooves” provide a large contact patch and believable traction that helps it grip the road better. This inspired a feeling of confidence when locking the brakes.
Plus, thanks to the tread sipes that wick water away and help improve grip in wet conditions, hard braking didn’t feel scary at all.
Lap time with Zoom X3
Now for the most final and crucial test. Here we did three laps of the track and recorded each lap time as we did with the A and B marks. In addition to the timings, we also evaluated the performance of the tire such as the grip in the corners at large. speed and stability in tight turns.
After considering the best time of the three laps, here is how the different tires behaved. The Pulsar 220 with stock tires did it in 36.74 seconds while with Brand B tires it clocked 37.02 seconds. However, with the Ceat tires, the Pulsar 220 was almost over two seconds faster.
That said, the bike is also a lot more inspiring when leaning through the corners with the Zoom X3 tires. Even when braking and accelerating out of a corner, the bike was stable thanks to the improved grip. And that would translate into better handling in real conditions.
So which of the three tires is the perfect option for the Pulsar 220? Well the numbers speak for themselves. The Ceat Zoom X3 tires not only performed better than the stock tires and the other premium brand with faster timings, but also significantly improved the handling of the bike.
In addition, Ceat also offers better value for money and peace of mind with a 6 year warranty for these tires. And as they say, it’s good to have a nice bike between your legs, but the right set of tires is a game-changer. In this case, it is the Ceat Zoom X3.
Photograph by Kaustubh Gandhi