Vredestein Centauro ST and NS tyre review — first impressions and track riding experience
Big bikes and the tyre replacement muddle. Any sports and superbike owner will have plenty of experiences to narrate, telling you how tyres had to be sourced from around the globe for their bikes. The situation has only gotten sketchier as India now introduces new restrictions on the import of tyres, disrupting the premium and luxury tyre space all together. Global players haven’t been able to work their way around, leaving a huge gap to be filled in the market. A gap that Apollo was quick to fill with their European brand Vredestein, which was introduced in India just over a month ago and almost over a decade after Apollo acquired it.
Vredestein tyres will cater to the big-bike category and rightly so, we were invited to test their Centauro range of tyres at the Buddh International Circuit. And with the growing track day culture in the country it could be argued that this is the perfect place to test the performance of this new rubber.
The Centauro range comprises two tyre types — the ST and the NS. While the ST is predominantly a sport touring tyre, it’s the NS that impressed us more on the track with its road sport tyre character. The ST has a single compound design, whereas the NS gets a dual compound construction at the rear. The centre band is designed to be more durable for longer life, while the side profiles use a more grippy compound.
To try out the Centauro ST, we were given the Kawasaki Versys 650 — one of India’s most popular sports tourers. Unlike many touring tyres, the Centauro ST was quick to gain the optimal heat (in the second lap itself), inspiring confidence to scrape the footpegs around the bends in the second lap itself! Also, while many touring tyres seem overly hard for the track use, the Centauro ST offered softer contact on the side as well as the centre section, something that could allow riders to indulge in hard riding.
But of the two, it’s the Centauro ST that impressed us the most. The grooves are lesser yet longer, and they inspire the right confidence to attack an arena like BIC. From our riding impressions we were able to deduce that they are best suited in terms of duality — they can work well on the street and perform even better on the track, the perfect shoes especially if weekend track riding is your thing. The tyres were quick to gain the right optimal heat, and at the end of the session we were pretty darn impressed by the chicken strips on the side — signs of a great track tyre!
Vredestein states that the equivalent tyre in terms of performance to each would be the Angel GT and the Diablo Rosso II (and the Rosso III) respectively. In addition to their road-performance, Vredestein is also extremely proud of their tyre design that’s been designed with Frascoli. After all bikers love to show off their tyre design as well.
Prices are sure to be competitive as these tyres will be manufactured at Apollo’s facilities around India. Vredestein says they’re positioned at around 15-20 percent lower than the equivalent European brands, and will be made available across 50 of Apollo’s retail partners across the country. The company will also be offering a direct-to-home delivery option, where customers will be presented with some cool-looking tyre boxes.