I bought a 2004 BMW R1150RSL last week for a VERY good price. It needed a bit of love and the top of the list was tires. The rear Metzler Z6 was severely cupped and the front tire was on its last legs. This bike exhibited extremely poor handling. It simply would not stay down in a left hand turn. And following a line around a corner was nearly impossible. I was convinced it has major suspension or frame issues. But before I could deal with that, I needed new tires.
Not wanting to spend a fortune on tires, I did some research and found a company called “Shinko”. A bit more research found that this is the former Yokohama motorcycle tire company. I’ve used Yokahama tires on my Porsche and my pick-up trucks for years. The Price of the Shinko tires was almost unbelievable.
A search led me to the new Raven F009 Sport Radial tires.
Bike Bandit is my “go to” for tires and I was pleased to see they carried this brand. I ordered two tires on Sunday and they were at my door Tuesday AM!
Both tires, including shipping (and using my AMA 10% discount available at Bike Bandit) came to $157.33!!!!!! (120/70ZR17=$58.49, 170/60ZR17= $80.99, Shipping = $17.85)
Now, for that price they must be Stinko tires…after all, we all know you get what you pay for. When the tires arrived I had a couple of motorcycle buddies over my house. We opened the box (yes, Bike Bandit ships tires in a box..nice!), and inspected the tires. They looked great.
I quickly mounted them up and balanced. The rear tire needed no weights. It was perfect. The front tire needed 1/2 oz to make it perfect.
Once mounted up it was off to the local empty parkinglot to scrub them in. A bunch of figure 8s and I was ready to go. I went to my local highway cloverleaf (a great place to test tires…:whistle, and started a series of loops, getting lower and lower as I went. The results were great handling and not a bit of slip or wiggle. I can tell no difference from these tires and Avon Storms (my current favorite tire) that are on my VFR or the Metzler Z6 that are on my Moto Guzzi V11 sport.
After about 20 minutes of this it started to rain. Just a light drizzle. This was a perfect opportunity to test wet adhesion. Although it wasn’t a downpour and I couldn’t test hydroplaning (not that I’d want to!) I can tell you that the grip was excellent. No issues.
All the strange handling that this motorcycle was exhibiting completely disappeared.
It was like it was on rails in the twisties and held a line perfectly. I’ve never experienced tires having so much effect on a motorcycle. Or maybe it was because I wasn’t riding the bike as the tires changed over a period of time. I bought the bike with bad tires and experienced the results immediately.
Time will tell how these very inexpensive tires will perform in the long run. I’ll keep this thread updated with wear and anything else that might help others with a buying decision.
It’s July 31, 2009 and I have 1000 miles on the Ravens. I took a trip down to Tennessee to attend the BMW Owners Rally in Johnson City. I rode the snot out of the twisties on all kinds of surfaces and in all types of weather. The Shinko 009 Raven tires performed flawlessly. So far I’m very impressed with this tire…….Stay tuned