MRF launched its new tyre series named Masseter last year and Invited a few automotive journalists as well as experienced riders to test it out. Initial impressions from these riders on the track about the tyre were excellent, but how would it perform on the open roads? We find out.
MRF is an Indian tyre manufacturer which has been in the rubber industry for over 70 years and is into the manufacturing of tyres for almost everything on wheels. For now, let us stick to two wheelers.
The company has, in recent times been focusing more on performance motorcycle tyres than those for commuter motorcycles. The Indian Motorcycle market has seen drastic change over the last few years with the buyers now demanding performance motorcycles, or rather let's say performance commuters.
Along with performance bikes coming in, high-performance tyres like Metzeler, Pirelli, etc. also found their way into our market. The Masseter is MRF's answer to the international competition, and the tyre manufacturer seems to be taking it very seriously indeed.
MRF has launched an exclusive product site for the Masseter. The site - www.ruleeverycurve.com - as the address suggests, is all about cornering, and riding fast through curves.
It also contains information about the Masseter, and also about some of the best riding routes. What surprised us though was that it had something called, ‘The Curve Map' which, surprise surprise, shows users parts of the country where some of the best curves can be found.
Previously, we have seen MRF launching performance tyres in India, like the Revz series, but there was no individual site for that, and definitely no promotion of fast cornering. So what is MRF onto here? Is the Masseter that good?
Firstly, let us see talk about how the tyre looks. Do looks of the tyre matter? Well, it is subjective, but to some, looks matter more than grip levels, so here goes. The Masseter looks like someone designed some flames style graphics.
But, instead of sticking it on the slammed Japanese street racing car it was meant for, transferred bits of the design into the tyre design software at MRF. No, it isn't as big a disaster as I just made it sound. It does look good, but just might be a little too ‘in your face' for some.
The MRF Masseter uses a soft compound construction, and hence it is no surprise that it has received rave reviews from use on the track. However, most of the tyres sold will be used on the streets, and how it handles everyday riding conditions is what matters.
Since the tagline for the Masseter is, ‘Rule Every Curve', we set out finding curves in Bengaluru. Some curves with a little mud, some with traffic in between, some tight, and some wide, in the rain and in the dry.
The Masseter is indeed an impressive tyre. It did handle all corners thrown at it with ease. In the wet, it did twitch just a bit, but nothing that would upset your cornering line. Soft compounds are generally prone to punctures, and the Masseter we tested also suffered a puncture.
The puncture happened after nearly a thousand kilometres of riding on it. We even rode the bike for two days with the puncture, but it did not affect the way the Masseter handled curves. These cornering shots were taken with the punctured tyre. So that is quite clearly a pass.
We tested the MRF Masseter on a Yamaha FZ-16 which, isn't a dream corner-carving machine in its stock form. Add to that the fact that this particular FZ was pretty old and wasn't in the best condition. We soon realised that the Masseter at the rear was the reason we had the confidence to corner this motorcycle that hard.
The motorcycle's front end kept pushing out, only the rear end stuck to the cornering line the rider chose. This effect was only more pronounced when it rained. This was an example of how much MRF has improved over the years, as the front wheel was shod with an MRF Zapper FX, which MRF had marketed as a performance tyre when it was launched.
The Masseter can handle bad roads and mud to an extent but is not intended for it. The tyre is available in sizes starting from 80/90-17 for the front wheel and 100/90-17 for the rear wheel, going all the way up to 140/70-17.
Prices vary from Rs 3,500 to Rs 5,000 for a set of Masseters, depending on the size required for a motorcycle.