It was 2011.
The MRF rear on my beautiful Pulsar 150 DTSi was punctured once more, and like all squids back then, I really wanted to put in a fat tire. So like all squids back then, I did a burnout to finish the rubber off, and found a shop that promised a 120 section rear.
It was a big shop, owned by a talkative Sardarji. He told me stories of people who had fit 180 section rears, people who had fit car tires, people who had fit tractor tires on their motorcycles. I wasn’t feeling that adventurous, so asked him what he had in 120 that won’t need me hacking off at the swingarm.
“Put this Michelin, it’s great. But I must warn you, this tire will annoy you like a bitch, because like a bitch it’ll never go away. A customer of mine has tried everything from burnouts to slides, the Michelin doesn’t die.”
It’s been more than 5 years and some 40,000 kms, that Michelin Sirac 120 still looks good as new, even though it spent roughly half of those 5 years sitting around in rain, Sun and hail.
When the Metzeler on my Duke 390 exploded while returning back from Bangalore in probably one of the most dangerous nights of my life, I swore never to go back to it. Metz is a brilliant rubber, the ultimate for track lovers, but for a tourer like me it was completely useless. The tire was so badly damaged that I had no time to look around for options. Went to the nearest shop I could find, and put my trust in a Michelin once again.
I put the Michelin Pilot Street Radial 140/70 17. 140 because the 150 wasn’t available, and I had no time to wait. I have made plenty of stupid decisions in my life, leaving a perfect job for a horrendous one, leaving the horrendous one to be unemployed, and riding at night through the mountains in winter with fog and rain are just some of the mistakes that I’ve made in my life, but putting the Michelin on wasn’t one of them.
There’s nothing I can say to you that’ll give you an idea of how beautiful this black piece of circular rubber is. I don’t think of it as a tire anymore, it’s a friend that has helped me do impossible things, see unreachable places, meet improbable people.
In the course of the 30,000 odd kms I spent with it, it rarely ever punctured, survived a rim-bending event, and was pushed to the limit in every conceivable situation, and yet it lived, and helped me live as well, even though I was never nice to it.
For anyone looking to replace the tires on their bike, there’s nothing like Michelins out there. It’s soft enough for the track, hard enough for off-road, and alive enough for touring. It’s the Da Vinci of tires, and there’s nothing you can do that they can’t handle.
Here’s the only way I can show my love for it, an album of things that it helped me do.