OK, this brand has been somewhat controversial, so I decided to try them just to see... The truth is that in recent years I've been "economically challenged" (read: mostly broke). I needed new tires, and since my current bike (1994 VFR750) takes a 170 rear on a 5" rim, RTO's (180 race take-offs) were essentially not an option. What's the least expensive decent tire I can get? I decided the retreads (forget the name) were out of the question; I wanted to at least have the security of tires manufactured as cohesive units. A bit of research over the last few months (anticipating the need for replacements) revealed a brand I had not previously heard of, the Shinkos. Rumor has it that Shinko is a major/huge Korean industrial manufacturer, that purchased the technology, molds, rubber compound chemistry, etc. from Yokohama when they ceased production of motorcycle tires. *I have not been able to substantiate this*. Yokohama has long been a major player in the tire game, including various forms of motor racing. The Shinko's price was significantly less than the next-best-thing; they'll have to do. Besides, I'm a curious type, and consider myself objective, pragmatic and realistic. I'm not especially brand loyal for bikes or anything else - I simply demand function. I want things that work. A little history: I've been riding street/sportbikes at a very high level for more than 25 years and around 1/2 million miles. Almost every bit of it has been very hard & fast, in some very demanding situations, including Autobahns, Alps, Nurburgring, Spa and other racetracks. I've likely ridden more miles 2-up, and more miles in rain than most riders have ever ridden all together. Even 2-up and in rain I usually ride as hard as I can get away with. I don't have a "Mellow" setting... I ridden many Dunlop models, from K91's, K291's, K391's, etc. up to modern Qualifiers, D207's (various types) etc. I've mostly used (& absolutely prefer) Metzelers, with extensive experience on ME77's, ME33, ME99, ME88 and newer models including Rennsports. On my R1 (no longer own) I used primarily Pirellis (manufactured alongside sporty Metzelers nowadays), including Diablos, Diablo Corsas and SuperCorsas. I've also had a few Michelins and Continentals in the mix, as well as any number of OEM fitments. Bottom line - I've used everything from cheapo rim protectors, average/commuters, serious Touring tires, and many sport/supersport tires including DOT race rubber. I've been known to slide both ends, usually intentionally, and leave blackies at will - I can push most tires as hard as they'll take. It is with all of this in mind that I decided to take on the Shinkos. I've got a good background of experience and knowledge for comparison. Most importantly, I've reached an age and mindset that I'm no longer as concerned with tiny differences and perceived advantages - I just effing ride the damn thing as hard as the bike and tires will take. I don't make excuses, and I'm somewhat amused by all the concern about "needing" the stickiest tires available, when most riders can't use the grip they have, and couldn't tell the difference anyway. I've lately been riding my 14 year old $300- rat-bike, on Metzeler Z6 RoadTecs, alongside kids half my age on R6's with racing tires, and scraping hardware and boots doing it! So, back to the Shinkos. I had wanted to get the 009 Raven sport-touring model, Shinko's hardest compound/longest wearing, but when it came time (& my strained budget allowed...), I needed tires NOW. My local FBS (friendly bike shop) had the 006 Podiums (sport tire) the next day, and I couldn't wait any longer. They were about $200 altogether, mounted & balanced (wheels off the bike). Link to info: http://www.shinkotireusa.com/product/index.php?category=1 Initial Impressions: For break-in, I frankly wasn't all that cautious. I'm not sure why, perhaps due to the bike's forgiving nature (although not as communicative as a real sportbike) I just didn't feel like tip-toeing. I set the front pressure at 31, rear as 33; a little low (I usually run 33/36) to better ensure some heat build-up to speed up the process. I rode a total of 180 miles on a 70ish degree day, almost entirely twisties. The first 8 miles were surface streets at 40mph, and a slab section at about 65. A 5 minute stop to fuel up (I'm always thinking about heating/cooling cycles), and immediately into some tight, slowish twisties (Skyline). Fairly gentle on the tighter bits and the tires were fine. After about 7 miles of twisties (15 miles total) I started to pick up the pace - cornering deeper (lean angle) but still gentle on the throttle. At about this point I experienced a couple of minor slides; 1 each from the front and the rear. To be fair, I was probably pushing a little harder than advisable on brand new tires with only 15 miles. I noted an interesting characteristic to the slides - smooth, predictable and very easily recovered. Not the least bit sudden. I've long admired Metzelers for their recoverability when just over the limit, the Shinkos seemed very comparable, although this was at a much lower speed/aggression level due to the newness. As the day went on I steadily picked up the pace. (Apiary to 47, then 202 towards Astoria). I later noted that the front end was extremely stable; maybe too stable... Rock solid in a straight line, completely unaffected by whatever convolutions the road surface threw at them. They delivered decent feedback; a little wooden compared to SS tires (not unexpectedly), but not quite as numb as the (excellent) Metz Roadtecs. Feedback was probably on par with any other good "Sport" tire. It did seem however, that the front tire might be heavy. I got the sense that a big part of the rock solid stability came from increased gyro-effect from extra weight. I'd be curious to get an actual weight comparison to other comparable front tires out there. Turn-in/turn initiation was light and smooth, with deeper turns ramping up very nicely - they rolled in very predictably. However, in quick left/right transitions, the front didn't want to snap from side to side as quickly as I intended. I made a riding adjustment to anticipate this and give a solid countersteer to all turns, especially slalom stuff. They just need a firm hand when ridden aggressively. A couple of relevant thoughts: I didn't measure it, but by my calibrated eyeballs, the rear tire appears noticeably wider than the Metz Z6 that had just come off. This alone will cause slower steering. I had also made a couple of significant changes to the bike's geometry. I had previously been riding with the Gen-Mar handlebar risers, which raise the bars 3/4'' (about 20mm), however this is accomplished by raising the the fork stanchions in the triple-clamps by the same amount. I've long been a fan of raising fork tubes to quicken steering, but this is substantial for this bike, in fact a little too much. So I removed the risers at the same time as the tire change, but decided to leave the stanchions raised about 3mm, instead of perfectly flush as stock - a slight increase. Effectively lowering the fork tubes compared to what I was used to actually make the steering angle (rake) shallower and would tend to slow the steering. That, and the lower tire pressure both may have contributed to the front end feeling a little too stable for my tastes. To be honest, I'm probably a bit more discerning than most riders; most people probably wouldn't even notice it. However, I've decided to raise the fork tubes back to a total of 10mm showing, in order to split the difference (coincidentally, the exact amount that worked best on the R1). In the interest of testing, I'm not going to alter the tire pressures or suspension settings for now until I've had a chance to observe the tube height adjustment. I suspect that increasing the tire pressures and maybe front spring rate (preload) may help minimize the heavy feeling front end. On my ride I did some exploring and found a delightfully twisty ribbon of asphalt out near Astoria (Olney) that frankly reminded me of Christmas ribbon candy or tinsel draped over the X-Mas tree branches. As I tend to do, I picked up the pace until I was fairly attacking an unfamiliar road, on unfamiliar and brand new tires (about 60 miles at this point). Again, a couple of minor but gentle slides and the same heavy feeling front end. I rode down the coast and came back in on 53. I decided to hammer 53 (who can resist?!), at least the tighter bits before the junction of 26. I worked the throttle hard (the V4 has great useable torque that allows early acceleration). The rear tire gave no real surprises, and surprising grip when I was actually trying to break it loose (good and warmed up by now). I only got a couple of minor twitches when I was expecting more. I noted that the front end gave good (if not great) grip, and had lightened up somewhat, no doubt aided by making the rear end squat under throttle, which further confirms my suspicions about necessary adjustments. I let the tires cool down for about 15 minutes during refueling, latrine break, etc., then slabbed 26 back to (??-the road that leads back to 202/Jewell). I took 202, 47, through Vernonia then Timber Rd, crossed 26, through Timber, then back to Gales Creek, and a lap around Hagg Lake. A moderate/quick pace, but not really pushing it. The front end seemed a little lighter, or maybe I had simply gotten used to it and subconsciously adjusted. Grip was very good throughout. I picked up the pace again on some of my favorite backroads that I don't know the name of, and over Bald Peak and home. There is a favorite little dip into a rising 90-degree right, with a bend to the left over the crest that I like to hit hard. A few years back a left a big unintended blackie until the crest, on the R1 wearing SuperCorsas (I had a witness behind me who shall go unnamed, but he may remember the construction workers that almost attacked us with shovels when they saw it!). Admittedly the R1 (tuned for max torque by EDR) made it easy, but the Shinko wouldn't break loose under the VFR's torque. I hammered Bald Peak from the Newberg side back to Scholls fairly hard, and the tires worked admirably. During the entire day they did not want to stand up under as much trail-braking as I dared with new tires, and I get the impression they won't. Overall grip was just fine, even on sketchy concrete-y and gravelly surfaces. To be honest, I still held a bit in reserve and didn't really punish them due to being brand new and still working out the mold release agent. I would say 6-7/10ths for the most part, with occasional 8-8.5/10ths. The chicken strips are about 1/4" on both sides front & rear - not bad for first ride. I absolutely did not notice any truly insufficient grip when really asking for it and fully warm; the few tiny slides I noticed I attribute to pushing a cold, brand new tire a little harder than perhaps I should have, but I wanted to know how they would behave when slid - Very well, I'd say. A couple more heat cycles to fully condition them and I'll hit it harder just to probe their limits a bit more. I'm also curious about wear. I do see just a tiny bit of worn edges on the front tread blocks at the end of the day, but to be fair I've always been one to work the front end hard, and for that reason I focused my aggression on the front. We'll see how it goes. All in all, I'd say a perfectly adequate, if not inspiring, set of tires, with more than adequate grip for most, at a very reasonable price. I think for the target market these represent a very good value and have more capability than most buyers will need. I'm planning another ride in the next day or two, to consider the effect of the front end adjustment noted above. I'll plan on updating this review periodically.