Lifestyle

Tyres for longevity

The Brazil-made Rosso II R is a street tyre made for longevity and sportier handling.

The "R" denotes radial-like - more flexible - performance as opposed to cheaper, more rigid tyres with cross-ply construction.

Mr Tierri Corte (above), Pirelli's motor sales director for Asia-Pacific told me that Asia and Latin America are "emerging markets" that go for sportier bikes in the 250cc and 300cc classes.

These bikes are equipped with more power, fuel-injection and better suspension. Mr Corte says that old tyre technology no longer applies.

Pirelli's solution to the increasing interest in the new type of sportier bikes is the Rosso II R, which will be available next March.

THE TEST

The 2.4km Bira International Circuit (BIC) has 11 turns and bumpy terrain that simulate daily road-going conditions.

With a selection of 10 motorcycles to choose from, each of us had four 20-minutes sessions.

I put the tyres through their paces. Hey, they wanted us to hammer them.

COMFORT

I was not so much interested in speed, but cornering, comfort and wear.

I noticed there was virtually no wear on my test tyres. They were not even new to me, having been through a whole-day test session the day before.

Just touching it, I could feel that the Rosso II Rs are made of a harder compound to increase their longevity.

CORNERING

One complaint from the faster riders was that these tyres steered slowly into bends.

But I think they have misunderstood the point.

While capable of sportier handling, these are not circuit-oriented tyres like Pirelli's Diablo Supercorsa which has a sharper profile for quicker cornering.

The only time the test tyres broke traction and wiggled was on my first session over the bumpy patches at BIC's chicanes (sharp double bends created to form obstacles on a racing track).

But I put that down to the tyres being "cold".

CONCLUSION

Yes, the tyre takes some warming up, but if you are looking for one with a long lifespan, this is it.

Its gradual and progressive turning characteristics should give novices more confidence. It is a tyre that is capable of handling speeds of not more than 210kmh.