Motorcycles often come with tyres that manufacturers feel, offers the best blend of grip, ride quality, handling, performance and price. For most city commuters OEM tyres offer a good compromise, however the moment you start pushing your motorcycle to extreme, be it on road or off it, you need specialized tyres which cater to your riding genre.
From a layman’s point of view, tyres can be broadly classified into two categories; road and off-road. Some where in the middle lies Enduro a.k.a. dual sport, which tries to offer best of both worlds.
Enduro tyres have large flat blocks of rubber closely packed together in order to get more rubber on the road. This trait gives them decent grip on the road as well as off it, this type of tyre is normally recommend for tourers who like to explore off-road trails while logging most of the trip kms on road. One such Enduro tyre available in India is FKR Ranger 120/80×18.
I first came across this tyre when I was in the final phase of preparations for my Ladakh tour in 2005. Getting the FKR 120/80 x 18 tyres mounted on the stock rim of Bajaj Pulsar 180 was a breeze and the stock swing arm took fkr ranger tyre leaning the tyre without any modifications.
Even though I was expecting poor on road grip from FKR, to my pleasant surprise it wasn’t the case, in fact it was slightly better than the OEM fitment on road! However I knew the real test of this tyre will come once I put it to test in demanding terrain of Ladakh from which it came out with flying colors and that too twice! Even though I was a bit fkr ranger offroading in zanskar valley apprehensive while taking the same used tyre (10000+kms) to Ladakh in 2006 knowing 400+kms of off-road riding in Zanskar Valley would be tough for even a new tyre. However once again FKR came out with flying colors, without a single puncture during the course of both tours.
From smooth highways to dirt/rock tracks of Ladakh to sandy trails of Rajasthan, FKR has stood the test of time and terrain and came out triumphant, with over 18000kms clocked it still has few thousand kms worth of life left. Definitely a good choice for a tourer like me…
Tyre Company: Fung Keong Rubber
Tyre Model: Ranger 2: 120/80 x 18 (rear)
Type: Enduro/Dual Sport
Price: Rs. 1150 (Delhi)
Motorcycle used: Bajaj Pulsar 180
Expected life: 18000-20000kms
Pros: Good grip both on and off-road, only slightly heavier then 100/90 tyres, no noticeable decrease in top end or mileage, value for money.
Cons: Higher than stock tyres which raises seat height, decreases life of rear suspension and chain set, ride quality becomes a bit stiff, no official presence of FKR in India i.e. no warranties, not available in smaller cities/towns.