“What tires should I buy for my motorcycle / car? I am often asked this question. A follow-up is generally “What type of rubber compound would you recommend for my type of use?” “. Questions like these are absolutely necessary, in my opinion. No matter the cost or advanced technology of a vehicle, not using the best possible tires is a compromise that can lead to dangerous situations.
Having said that, the current state of the tire market in India is quite dire. In order to limit the sale of substandard Chinese tires, the government has taken a somewhat gut-strung approach and implemented strict bans. With restrictions on tire imports and only a limited number allowed, there is a major supply crisis for replacement tires for high-end cars and motorcycles. And even if you do manage to get your hands on a set, the sellers are asking for astronomical prices, sometimes close to double the normal cost.
Given the circumstances, there is a vacuum in the tire market for premium tires, which is only widening. Apollo Tires realized there was an opportunity here and were quick to capitalize on it by launching its recently acquired premium tire brand – Vredestein – in the country. Apollo has indeed been manufacturing Vredestein tires for five years, but these were primarily intended for the export market.
For those who don’t know, Vredestein is a Dutch tire brand that happens to be one of the oldest names in the industry, with 110 years of experience. From the wide variety of products that the company has been involved in manufacturing, Vredestein is best known for its car tires, in international markets; it also started manufacturing motorcycle tires in 2019. Currently, Vredestein offers two models of car tires and two models of motorcycle tires for the Indian market.
Let’s start with the tires of the car first, because that’s what I was able to test first on the track. For our first impressions, Vredestein had the Ultrac Vorti tires available, and since the company is currently only dealing with the tire replacement market, the test cars were a bunch of high-end luxury sedans that already had quite a bit. of kilometers recorded on their odo.
My wheel set was a BMW 3 Series GT with a set of 245/50-R18 tires. Since I had to test the tires on a racetrack, the only factor I could focus on was how sporty the tires were when pushed. But again, the opportunities were limited as we had to keep a convoy behind a leading car. For the limited 15 minute test time we all had, my first impressions were that these tires, while designed for sporting use, aren’t that loud. In the turns, there weren’t a lot of twists to hear, suggesting that the stiffer shoulders and sides were holding their shape well.
Plus, the grip levels were higher (the least one might expect) as I could feel the tires holding onto the tarmac even when I was deliberately trying to upset the car’s balance. Beyond that, it was difficult to test the performance of the tires on various parameters such as braking, stability and rolling resistance. Vredestein will offer the Ultrac Vorti in several sizes, ranging from 17 to 20 inches.
With four wheels covered, it was time to slip into my leathers and try out Vredestein’s Centauro range of motorcycle tires. As they are designed for motorcycles ranging from 600cc to 1000cc, there was a wide variety of motorcycles in the pits. Vredestein offers two tire models in the Centauro range, the ST and the NS. While both are road-oriented tires, the ST is designed for touring, while the NS is designed for high performance. Again, we had to follow a lead motorcycle in a convoy, limiting the ability to really push the tires. Also, since the ST and NS are street-oriented tires, consider this only a first impression of how the tires performed on the track.
The first were the Centauro STs, and the bike I rode them on was a Kawasaki Ninja 650. To be frank, the session (besides being short) was too slow to form an opinion on them. The STs come with a zero degree steel belt, which provides a constant contact area even when tilted into a corner. The tire compound, according to Vredestein, is designed for sports tourism, to provide traction even on wet, low-friction roads. However, since the surface conditions on a racetrack are undoubtedly optimal, I cannot comment on any of these aspects. Overall, for the pace we were able to ride, the Ninja rode as it would with its stock tires.
Then there were the Centauro NS tires, and the bike assigned to me was a previous generation Suzuki GSX-R1000. This time the pace was slightly faster, but not enough to understand the true capabilities of the tire. The Centauro NS is a street radial, and since the surface of the BIC is excellent, they offered a lot of grip in corners and under braking. The NS features dual rubber compound technology, in which the sides have a softer compound for more grip and the centerline features a harder compound for tire longevity. The tires also feature a zero-degree steel belt with a multi-radai profile, for a more performance-oriented experience.
Ultimately these tires look very promising and seem to have a lot of potential, but we’ll only know for sure after testing them in real conditions. Since Vredestein manufactures the tires locally, Ultrac Vorti prices are around Rs 12,000-18,000 (with a few exceptions). In the case of motorcycle tires, a set should be between 25,000 and 30,000 rupees, depending on the size.
PHOTOS Vredestein tires