Royal Enfields for all these years have been constrained by the unavailability of tyre options for their machines in the Indian market. Other than the age old 3.5” square profiled MRF Nylogrip cross thread for the rear and the ribbed 3.00” front tyre we have no options like the AVON tyres that are on the export models of Royal Enfield.
Not the best tyre for the track, though its shown being used here.
Now with the ever rising popularity of these machines, the Madras Rubber Factory has finally decided to up the game with the release of a new tyre, the M.R.F Meteor in a larger size, which is 110/90.
The plus points of this tyre are:
- The round profile, which unlike the older tyres, provides much more lean angle grip. This used to be one of the biggest problems with the old tyres.
- The pattern of the treads which provides ample grip in the dry(wait for the monsoon to set in a couple of months if you want a wet weather update).
I bought this tyre for Rs.1,500/- when I was in Coimbatore for the RTMC track day in March 2007. It was lying at home for a while, before I decided to put it onto the machine and give it a go. I got the tyre fit onto the standard rims and despite the larger size of the tyre, it fits without a problem. Anyways, fitting the tyre onto the standard rims is the least of your problems.
To fit the wheel back in place, however, requires some mods. The tyre profile is so big that it touches the chain cover. In my case this was also exaggerated because I changed the chain-sprocket kit, which makes the wheel to be set to a position, closet to the swing arm pivot. In case you fit this tyre onto a motorcycle where the chain and sprockets are already worn and the wheel is set farther away, then you may not face this problem.
I also felt that it was touching the swing arm, but I cannot remember for sure.
The work around for this problem is simple, but will involve modifying the chain cover. You will need to chop off the problem area on the chain cover and fix the tyre back.
The second issue with the tyre is the amount of rolling resistance that it provides. Being a bigger profile, the engine had to do that much more work to get my Royal Enfield Thunderbird AVL 350 up to speed, compared to the lighter older tyre.
The classic Nylogrip is a tested and proven tyre, which has provided millions of kilometres of excellent performance. But, it was high time, India’s most powerful motorcycle in production (which just became even more powerful with the launch confirmation of the AVL 500), got a decent set of rubbers.
I removed the tyre about a month back and gave it away to a friend who will be riding the 2007 Raid de Himalaya on a custom built dual sport motorcycle with an AVL 500 engine. Not sure if he’ll be using it though.
I’ve heard that the Meteor fit on a Royal Enfield Machismo 500 does not feel the strain and performs pretty well with it. However, the review AVL 500 that I tested recently came with the good old tread Nylogrips. Even if not as significant and obvious as in the AVL 350, you could expect a drop in top speed of the A 500 too with the Meteor.
The Meteor is a good tyre and the terrain that you ride in or just what you look for in the tyre may make this an ideal choice for you. But, I am not really missing the Meteor and my motorcycle feels much better with the Nylogrip 3.50 x 19, because I like my motorcycles to be fast(er) and do not mind the small disadvantages of this one.