Monday, July 12, 2010

FJR gets a new pair of Sneakers - Shinko

The FJR was approaching 19,000 miles and in need for a set of new sneakers. Coming up in September we have the beginning of your Silver National Park Tour starting in Salt Lake City, UT. It always seems that the big trips always start while I am part way through a set of tires. Not enough miles to throw them away, but not enough miles left to complete these large trips on them. It’s July and between now and August 23rd, we will put on around 5000 miles going here and there. The trip out west will be around 4,000 miles so trying to do the tour on these tires would put them at the limit of the tour of duty.

While the FJR is new to me, tires are not. I have run Dunlops, Michelin, Metzler and Bridgestones. Bridgestones came on both the FJR and Nomad and are not particularly well thought of in the cycle community, commonly referred to stones. I had a set of Metzlers mounted to the Nomad and IIRC they were better than the stones. Well I had a Stone on the rear because the Nomad has a weird size and didn’t have a comparable Metz. On the Connie I have had Dunlops and Michelin. Dunlops seemed to be a quicker handling tire than the Michelins. On the Connie the Michelin developed a vibration to the tires right around the 7K mark, however the tread seemed to have a ton a miles left in them. The vibration was so bad, I went with Dunlops as the preferred choice, even thou the Michelins seemed like they would provide more mileage. Added miles are useless if the tires just don’t feel good.

As a reader of the FJR Forum one tire had reared its name, called SHINKO. Just the name might keep some people at bay. The more I read about Shinko Ravens and given the situation I was in knowing I would replace the tires no matter what before going to Salt Lake City, what the heck I said I would give them a try. If I hated them the cost was not so large to make you get your money’s worth.

Michelin Road Pilot 2 for front and rear will cost around 453, including mounting. Shinkos will be about 296. Given the expectation of the Michelins to be about 9,000 miles, if the Shinkos go 5,888 miles it will be a push on cost.

First impression of the Shinko (keeping in mind I had Bridgestones mounted) are silky smooth. They turn into a corner quick and without surprises, kept their line thru the corners effortlessly, and instill confidence thru the corners. On the highway they tracked nicely, not effected by what the road throws at you. No bobbing or tracking unwanted lines that may be in the road.

The Stones seemed to have to be worked thru the corners forever wanting to stand the bike straight up. Shinko’s simply went where you wanted them to. Point them and they go. For now I am giving the Shinko’s an A. Time will tell if the stand the test of time.

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