Tyres are one of the most critical components of a two-wheeler as these essentially are the medium through which your vehicle connects with the road. Talking of the ones for superbike owners, the replacement options are quite limited in the market and given the import restrictions on premium rubber in India, the situation has become trickier. Now, with the small size of the Indian superbike community and a related issue that not many people are really talking about, Apollo did play a very smart move by introducing Vredestein tyres here.
I would say ‘smart’ because these two-wheeler tyres are locally made and hence, if you are a big bike owner, you no longer need to worry about the import restrictions on premium rubber. A few weeks back, Express Drives was invited to sample Centauro ST and NS Tyres from Vredestein at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida. But before jumping on to the part where I explain how these tyres performed, first, a quick brief on the brand itself.
Vredestein is a Dutch tyre company with history dating back to over 100 years. The brand was acquired by India’s Apollo Tyres in the year 2009. The Centauro bike tyres were first rolled out in Europe in 2019 and these are now being produced locally in India at Apollo’s plant in Vadodara, Gujarat. Vredestein had lined up a variety of superbikes for us including the sport-tourers and supersports at the BIC but unfortunately, we got only 15-minute sessions each to test the ST and NS tyres. While the STs are aimed at reasonably good grip levels along with a better life, the NSs focus more on performance and an even better grip.
Vredestein says that these are benchmarked against the Pirelli Angel GT and the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III respectively. First, in order to sample the Centauro ST (Sport Touring) tyres, I was allocated the Kawasaki Ninja 650. Now, to be really honest, since I was riding at the BIC for the very first time and with a big bike at hand, I was a bit nervous at first. But thankfully, the first session was more about getting the feel of the tyres and hence, my anxiousness started to fade away in the first lap itself.
The convoy had Vredestein’s lead rider at the front and the pace was quite easy. After understanding the layout of the track during the first two laps, I decided to push the bike a bit. The tyres felt sufficiently grippy and confident even around corners and that almost instantly took away all my anxiety of riding a superbike at this circuit for the first time.
Next up were the NS (Road Sport) tyres and I got the Triumph Daytona 675 during the second session to sample them. Now more excited than nervous in this session, I got astride the 118 hp supersport and after some time, felt that the grip levels of the NSs are significantly higher compared to the STs. On the straights, I never felt holding myself back whacking open the throttle and the rubber responded brilliantly over corners. Under braking too, both the STs and NSs felt secure and the bikes didn’t deviate from their lines even while pulling the lever hard.
As already mentioned, since we had a brief time with the Centauros, only a proper full-fledged review can do justice to the actual and detailed performance of the tyres. And that can only happen once we test them over a few weeks in real-world conditions. For now though, the first impressions are really positive and these Made-In-India tyres seem to quite match their global competition in terms of performance.
The Vredestein Centauro ST and NS tyres will be available at Apollo dealerships and you can get them home delivered as well. A pair will cost you Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 depending on the size you choose.
Below are the available sizes for Vredestein Centauro ST, NS Tyres in India:
|Centauro ST||Centauro NS||Fitment|
|120/70 – ZR17 58W||120/70 – ZR17 75W||Front|
|150/70 – ZR17 69W||190/55 – ZR17 75W||Rear|
|160/60 – ZR17 69W||200/55 – ZR17 78W||Rear|
|170/60 – ZR17 72W||180/55 – ZR17 73W||Rear|
|180/55 – ZR17 73W||Rear|
|180/55 – ZR17 73W (L)||Rear|
|190/50 – ZR17 73W||Rear|
|190/55 – ZR17 75W||Rear|
|190/55 – ZR17 75W (L)||Rear|
The fact that these have been priced around 20 per cent lower than the rivalling rubber not only make these a more value for money proposition but also present themselves as a good replacement option to the superbike owners amid the tyre import ban in India. The Centauro ST and Centauro NS are W-rated, which means these are certified for sustained speeds up to 270 kmph. If by any chance, this brings a racetrack in your mind, it has to be mentioned that these are NOT track-focused tyres, as stated by Vredestein.
To sum it up, if you are someone who is planning to upgrade your superbike tyres with Vredestein Centauro ST / NS rubber, we don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t!