Old set of 805/804s after 10,500 miles on left (rear tire) and new on right.
It’s been a long time since I’ve updated the blog. I apologize. It’s sometime hard to keep up with stuff when you are a one man show. I’ve been working over the last year on five books and traveling, which has left little time for other activities.
But, also, its given me time to test my tires of choice, Shinko 805 (rear) and 804 (front). These are dual sport tires intended for sixty percent off road and forty percent on road use.
Ever since I bought my Bonneville T100 back in 2012, I’ve been experimenting with tires, and as time went on I was looking for tires that would do well on the highway but also allow me to go off on gravel roads and trails whenever I found some that were interesting to me. The stock tire were Metzeler Lasertecs (130/80-17 rear and 100/90-19 front). Those tires did well on pavement but were not made for any off road use; they also did not have a very long life, giving me about 6,000 rear and double that front. Still, they did alright, and I kept them on for two changes.)
Next, I decided to go with something more suitable for both street and mild off road use and installed a set of Pirelli Scorpion Trails, which performed well enough on road but still were very limited off road. However, of all the tires I’ve tried I got the best mileage out of the Pirellis, with over 20,000 miles on both front and rear before needing changing. Still, I was wanting to explore more off road when I had the chance, so next up came Continental TKC 70s.
The TKCs did okay both on and off road. They are the tires I had on for my trip in the second half of Northeast by Northwest, a ride from Florida to Colorado and then north into British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies. On that ride, I got the chance to explore some mountain gravel roads and was very happy with the performance of the tires, even though they were intended for limited off road use. I rode Highway 67 from Sedalia, Colorado, down a fifteen percent grade and rode up and down the mountains on Coon Hollow Road near Kila, Montana. They performed well, but by the time I got home, after over 8,000 miles, it was time for a change. They also howled at all speeds, making a continual racket on the road that was a bit annoying.
Finally, I wanted a tire that could tackle most anything off road I might find along my mostly on road trips, as the more I rode the more I looked for those kind of adventures, although they would have to perform well on the highway, which I would be on for over ninety percent of the time. Following the advice of a friend, I tried out some Shinkos. They were intended for sixty percent off road and forty percent on road, so I was not so sure that they would be a good choice for me, but at least they mounted easily and were inexpensive.
The 805/804 combo has proven to be my favorite so far. While I have not had a chance to check them out much on very gnarly trails or gravel, all reports say they do well in almost everything but mud. They are big block tires, so I would expect as much, and the little experience I have had had off road with them has confirmed that. I have, however, put many miles on them on road on both mild and wild routes, including US 129 at Deal’s Gap (aka Tail of the Dragon), where they performed beautifully, feeling planted and solid and an equal to anything I’d had on the bike previously. And here’s the beauty of these tires: first, they are quiet and do not make a sound until above sixty mph and, even then, only a mild whirring Second, and most importantly, I am now changing the first set out for a second, and I have put 10,500 on the old set and could probably get another thousand out of them.
Front tire tread after 10,500 miles, about 2.5 mm at thinnest.
Front tire tread, new, about five mm.
Rear tire tread after 10,500 miles, about 2.5 mm at thinnest. (You'll have to take my word for it, as I held the rule the wrong way.)
Front tire tread, new, about five mm.
The last thing about the Shinkos are they are much less expensive than all the others I’ve tried. I paid $160 with shipping for my new set (yes, set, both tires)! I’ve left the sticker on in the photos to give a well-deserved plug to Rocky Mountain ATV and Motorcycle, where I found the best deal and shipping for free and on my door three days later.
You won’t get huge mileage out of these tires, like did with the Pirellis, because as with most “knobbie” (or "knobblie" if you prefer) dual sport tires, the front wears pretty much equally with the rear, so no going two rears for every front on these. But getting over ten thousand out of any tire is impressive.
It would be hard to do better for a tire that performs and lasts as well as the Shinko 805/804s, not to mention costing you about the same for a set as a single tire in many other brands. I highly recommend them.