If you have been following us regularly, you must be well aware that the BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan has been a part of the Express Drives’ long-term fleet for well over five months now. Right in the middle of this journey was the time when Apollo extended us a pair of F6/R6 tyres that are made exclusively for the Himalayan. The said rubber is positioned under the company’s ActiGrip range that has been developed primarily for Royal Enfield bikes like Classic 350/500, Bullet 500 and the Thunderbird 350/500. These tyres come with a V-shaped tread block pattern and Apollo likes to call it Smart‘V’. With this, the company is claiming maximum grip and excellent off-road traction performances. This is certainly quite a statement but how much of it is justified apart from some other claims? Read on to find out!
Tyres are a critical part of a vehicle as these essentially form a medium through which your vehicle is connected with the road. The performance of a tyre in terms of grip levels is inversely proportional to its life. For this reason, for motorcycles like Royal Enfield Himalayan that are quite practical in day-to-day life and pack enough performance, manufacturers often try to come with tyres that strike a decent balance between reasonably good grip levels and longer life. Our long-termer BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan’s journey primarily consisted of Delhi-Ajmer-Delhi runs and hence, we had ample time to test these tyres on the tarmac. The Himalayan comes with 90/90-21 front and 120/90-17 rear CEAT rubber as standard OEM fitment. Now, as the said tyres offered satisfactory levels of performance during these five months and there was nothing big to complain about, anything better than these would be clearly a pleasant surprise.
In such a case, we were keen to see if the difference in the performance of the two tyres comes out to be big or it is negligible. First, the tarmac! This is where the Apollo ActiGrip F6/R6 tyres offered noticeably better grip compared to the CEAT units. At first, we had thought that the better performance can be felt due to the fact that the tyres are fresh but even after clocking over 1,800 km on these, there wasn’t any considerable drop in the grip or performance levels. Thanks to the extended V-shaped block pattern compared to the OEM-spec tyres, the contact patch area is slightly larger, thereby translating into better grip and more confidence levels while cruising down on the highways. With the Apollo ActiGrip F6/R6 tyres in place, our BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan felt composed and solidly planted in a straight line. As a result of this, our 100 kmph cruising experience on the highways clearly got enriched.
The next few weeks with the @apollotyres actiGRIP should be interesting. Stay tuned for the updates as we look forward to test these tyres in almost all scenarios.@arpitmahendra3 @sharrohrin @ExpressDrives pic.twitter.com/ZlbruS2JqL
— Pradeep Shah (@pradeep_7303) February 9, 2021
The Apollo ActiGrip F6/R6 tyres come with an ‘S’ speed rating which means these are safe enough to operate at speeds of up to 180 kmph for a sustained period of time. In comparison, the real-world top speed of the BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan is much lower at 120 kmph. Speaking of the load rating index that relates to the maximum carrying capacity in kg, Apollo claims 54 for the front and 64 for the rear tyre. Breaking it down by looking at the load rating chart, this means while the front has a load-carrying capacity of 212 kg, the same is 280 kg for the rear tyre.
Another highlight of the Apollo F6/R6 tyres that I would like to mention is their performance during braking. While the brakes on the Himalayan have improved with the BS6 update, the rider is still left wanting a better feel and feedback at the lever along with a sharper bite. Thankfully, with the new rubber, we felt a slight improvement in stopping power and the bike felt a bit more disciplined under braking.
Watch video | BS6 Royal Enfield Himalayan long-term review:
The Royal Enfield Himalayan is not a bike that is known for its agility around corners as it is an outright ADV with neutral handling. Despite this, if you lean this ADV at higher speeds over corners, it wouldn’t really hesitate to do so and you won’t feel much resistance coming from the tyres. We are glad to report that the Apollo ActiGrip F6/R6 tyres certainly enhanced that equation as the bike now also feels more confident around corners offering better lateral grip levels. We decided to exploit this benefit and one fine day, we found ourselves sampling the bike over a set of twisties, and the enhanced grip made sure that we didn’t need to hold ourselves back while putting the bike through its paces over serpentine roads.
Now, speaking of the off-road bit, this is something that the Himalayan loves doing. The Apollo ActiGrip tyres get a longitudinal groove at the center and shoulder for self-cleaning from mud and dirt. This didn’t seem much of a marketing gimmick as after a couple of enthusiastic off-road sessions, the tyres were not loaded with mud, which means almost all of the dirt got rid from the tyres quickly as the bike kept progressing ahead. In addition, the tyres have channelized independent center and side blocks and this helps in efficient water evacuation.
Thanks to the pre-monsoon rains in Delhi, we managed to verify this claim and the tyres seemed to do justice with the above statement every time we went splashing around on the Himalayan. Moreover, the grip levels on the wet surface too, are satisfactory and there was hardly a time when the bike seemed like losing traction over slippery surfaces. Apollo claims that these tyres have been made with On/Off performance tread compound that promises lesser wear and tear and offers enhanced life but we need more time with these tyres to see how true this claim is.
India Price and Verdict
So, the Apollo ActiGrip F6/R6 tyres turned out to be great and reliable options for the Royal Enfield Himalayan. The said rubber definitely matched the OEM-spec tyres in all areas but turned out to be considerably better on some parameters, which we explained above.
As per the company’s official website, a pair will cost you Rs 5,350 and if you are lucky, you might get some good dealer-level discounts. On the other hand, one set of CEAT tyres that already comes fitted on the Himalayan is currently priced at Rs 5,435. As one can see, Apollo offers a better bet at a marginally lesser price and hence, clearly looks like the deal to go for. How they turn out to be on the remaining parameters is something we’ll let you know once the lockdowns are over and we can show more roads to our Himalayan and these Apollo ActiGrip F6/R6 rubber.
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