MRF Masseter Tyres Review
Cornering is the best example for the trust between a rider and his two-wheeled machine
Have you ever felt adrenaline rush through your system, especially when you are so close to something that you have craved, for years even. I felt the same way when I arrived at the Kari Motor Speedway. Every biker enthusiast wants to hit the track but not all can last. Track riding is one such experience that every biker should have at least once in a life time. It helps you gain confidence and understand your ride better. The spirit of motorcycling has taken a huge turn in India for the last couple of years. Motorsports like MotoGP and Motocross have started gaining popularity while my personal favourite is the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. Though the interest in motorsports hasn’t been as much as Cricket in India, people still invest a lot in it.
But does blind investment help? One has to invest in the things necessary and one such thing is tyres. With the growing interest in riding, most bikers love to corner. But it isn’t completely possible without the right set of tools. Your bike maybe in great condition but you still can’t ignore the tyres that hold the bike to the road. This year, MRF has introduced a new set of tyres known as the ‘Masseter’ gaining quite some attention. In spite of having years of confidence, there are a number of things that a biker needs to keep in mind, while riding and especially while cornering. Sometimes even experienced riders feel uncertain while approaching a tough corner even though they have the perfect technique, using tyres that are up to the task are equally important. That is where the MRF Masseter come in, complete cornering designed tyre with superior grip.
I was one such rider who used to try and get the best on Indian streets and twisties. Hoping one day I would be able to somehow hit the track and one fine day that dream came true. It was a lazy morning of a boring week, when I got a call from MRF. An invitation to the Kari Motor Speedway to test their new tyres. There was nothing that could make my day any better (or perhaps I can say the whole week). As I came home with that great smile on my face that evening, I saw my dad watching the news and guess what; it was raining in Tamil Nadu. All I was hoping was the event shouldn’t get cancelled. My bag all set with the gears and my helmet; I head to the airport with my mother’s blessing on a chilly winter evening of Mumbai. I boarded my flight to Coimbatore and landed the evening before the event, Coimbatore was all wet and fresh, just like Mumbai in its initial rains. I met quite a few journalist and moto vloggers at the airport arrivals joining in for the same event. We were all eager to test the tyres and I was quite excited as it was going to be my first experience on track. We then headed to the hotel and began introducing ourselves at dinner.
Heading back to my room, I had just one question in mind, “what would happen if it were to rain all night?” Racing on a wet track is dangerous and never a fun filled experience because one wouldn’t be able to push to the absolute limits. The clouds haunted the entire city and thankfully, it just drizzled that night. I could barely sleep with all the excitement, finally morning arrived, and with breakfast done, we all got into the transport and headed for the race track. After a 20-25 km drive we finally reached Kari. I could hear a bike already revving on track. The feeling within was amazing and unmatched. I couldn’t wait to get my riding gear on and hit the track. Just like any other track day, we were all excited and discussing about the track, the bike and the tyres, all while gearing up. Getting ready for a track day for any biker is even more exciting than getting ready for a date (true fact)!
As we got ready, the bike that was running around the track entered the pit. It was Mr. Sravanan, MRF’s chief test rider on his KTM RC 390 who had inspected the track with MRF rubber. We were briefed about the safety measures, dos and don’ts and a crash course of how to go about on the Kari Motor Speedway as it was the most technical track of India. We were taken to the other side of the pit where our rides were waiting. The beautiful set of Yamaha R15s, little track monsters completely stock, just perfect for the track. There were six bikes and 24 of us. So we had to take turns. I picked up a blue and white Yamaha R15 V2, keeping in mind that it would really look good in pictures. We hit the track in batches. As our instructor took the lead, we had to tail him through the track one by one. I moved in with the second batch, very excited but nervous as well, it was a complete set mixed feelings (perhaps just sinking in the moment). As we moved out of the pit lane, a crew of marshals was stationed on each corner on the track, an ambulance stationed outside the pit in case of any accidents or mishaps. They checked our gear before we hit the track and made sure everyone had a D-ring helmet.
We started off on the track tailing our instructor turn by turn. As it was my first time on the track, my only goal was not to crash. Starting the initial few laps slow as the rubber was cold. However once I started pinning corners on the new tyres, I was really surprised. As I exited the first curve, seeing how well the tyre handled on the damp tarmac, my fear was gone and it was time to do what I had come to do, to test the new rubber. As corner after corner passed, my confidence started to boost and I completed the trail laps successfully, understanding the potential of the tyres.
The MRF Masseter tyres offer good grip in both dry and wet road conditions alike
By then the skies had opened up and it was time to hit a few laps with the boys. With the Masseter I could carry better speed on the straights, to be precise I did a quick 124 km/hr which was better than what the Zappers could carry. Because of the Masseter’s rounded profile, the contact patch between the tyre and the road increases. This improves rider’s confidence and helps the rider lean over more than he normally does. The rider can corner better than ever before, allowing a swift entry and exit through the corners, which I was able to achieve successfully. Cornering at the right speed is the key to achieving a better lean angle. Not too slow, not too fast, the key to getting the perfect lean starts with you understanding your machine and being in sync with it, the rest follows.
The MRF Masseter’s soft compound is tuned to give amazing feedback, hence providing efficient braking performance too at every speed. This allows you to brake in late compared to the MRF Zappers. Thus the rider can carry a higher speed in and out of a corner. The rider can rely on the Masseters to hold the road for optimum cornering. However in India, it’s not always that the roads are smooth, rough roads can throw a rider off causing unnecessary damage. With the Masseter’s laser-cut tread pattern, you can grip the road, no matter what the speed and lean angle. MRF has also worked on wet grip of the tyres with better groves, thanks to the advanced central tread line which allows for more water to flow out giving the tyres more contact and the rider better confidence. The tyres are engineered to provide a higher lean angle, which not only helps one to corner better, but also reduces the risk of drifting away from the curvature of the road. The Masseter, with its advanced construction is a good package for cornering better and is by far the best product from MRF. The feeling when you are riding a bike with Masseter tyres is like you are gliding through the track yourself because the tyres do exactly what you want.
MRF has invested 8 years of research on the Masseter tyres. Its design fundamentally revolves around L.A.P.S., which is the core philosophy behind any performance tyre. L.A.P.S., stands for Lean Angle Performance System. It’s a cutting-edge innovation when it comes to creating tyres for performance bikes. Considering the soft compound of the tyre, it may comparatively last less in terms with other series. However the price quotient is expected in such a way that even a person who isn’t an enthusiast biker but a daily commuter can afford them. ‘A product made in India for India’, MRF Masseters have been designed to target the younger sector of riders who love corners and even if you don’t love corners yet, you’ll definitely start loving them. They stand for what they were made for, to ‘Rule Every Curve’. It’s the perfect tool to shape one’s cornering skills and makes your weekend getaway more exciting.