On test at OVERDRIVE: Apollo Alpha-H1 motorcycle tyres
The Apollo Alpha-H1 is the company's first motorcycle steel radial tyre that's designed to meet the demands of high performance motorcycles such as the TVS Apache RR 310 and the KTM 390 Duke. The Alpha-H1 is designed for both road and track use and promises optimum grip along with improved tread life. Apollo claims that the Alpha-H1 offers 50 per cent more tread life than tyres such as the Metzeler (standard on the KTM 390 Duke and KTM RC 390) whilst offering similar performance levels.
What's special about the Alpha-H1
The tyres are designed to withstand tyre expansion due to increased centrifugal force while riding at high speeds, ensuring maximum contact patch at all times. Apollo says this is achieved by means of a steel belt that runs along the circumference of the tyre. In tyre speak this is called a zero degree belt. Apollo says that it is the first Indian manufacturer to adopt this technology and the biggest advantage of such a construction is improved tyre stiffness.
The Alpha-H1 is made up of multiple layer compound technology, aimed at delivering good dry and wet road grip as well as when leaned over in a corner. In essence, the central portion of the tyre is designed to offer good grip and at the same time is hard wearing. The compound on the shoulder area, is designed to offer maximum grip and feedback throughout a corner.
We swapped the Michelin Pilot Sport Street tyres with the Apollo Alpha-H1s on our longterm TVS Apache RR310 to check if the tyres deliver what they promise.
What are the tyre size options?
For now, Apollo is only offering the Alpha-H1 in 110/70 ZR17 for the front and 150/60 ZR17 for the rear. This is the exact size of the Michellins on the TVS Apache RR 310 so I had no cause to worry when I went to Zubin's garage in Bandra to put them on. In fact the load index (54 at the front and 66 at the rear is identical to the Michelin's). The icing on the cake though, is that the tyres are W rated, which means they are rated for speeds up to 270kmph.
The Apollo Alpha-H1 is priced at Rs 6,499 for the front tyre and Rs 8,499 for the rear tyre
Straight off the bat, the Apollo Alpha-H1 feel good. The tyre compound feels noticeably softer than the stock Michelins on my Apache RR 310 longtermer. I particularly liked the V shaped grooves on the Apollos and the company claims that this design helps evacuate water quickly while riding over a wet surface, thereby improving grip levels in the wet and reducing stopping distance. I haven't got a chance to test this aspect, but with the monsoons set to arrive soon in Mumbai, I shall include the findings in the product review that will follow soon.
What I really like in the 500km that I have put in, so far, is the urgency with which the Apache tips into a corner. This is courtesy of the shape of the tyre, especially towards the edges. Once leaned over the grip levels are incredible and I felt really, really confident. Overall, the tyres look very promising. Besides the test in wet weather and the braking tests, I also plan on riding down to Chennai to attend the TWO track school. A track day, I feel, will prove to be the ultimate test of the grip levels and feedback that the tyres will offer. Watch this space for a detailed product review.
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