When it comes to dual-sport tires, there’s a sliding ratio based on their intended on-road vs. off-road use. Most adventure touring bikes are fitted with 90/10 tires as original equipment, on the assumption (backed up by market research) that most owners do 90 percent or more of their riding on pavement and only about 10 percent off-road.
Such tires typically have large, closely-spaced tread blocks with a tread pattern that has more in common with a sport-touring tire than a knobby, and the tire compound(s) favor on-road grip and longevity. Most 90/10 tires work great on the street or well-graded dirt roads, but you’ll want to avoid sand or mud.
But in the case of an aggressive dual-sport bike like my 2017 KTM 690 Enduro R, its OE tires were 10/90 knobbies with small, widely spaced tread blocks. (Unable to bear parting with the 690-R at the end of our long-term test, I bought it from KTM.) They hummed and squirmed on the street, but were fantastic off-road. The biggest downside of 10/90 tires is that they don’t last long–the rear was shagged after 1,600 miles, and the front tread blocks had become wedge-shaped due to aggressive braking on pavement.
Needing fresh buns for the KTM, I opted for the middle ground. About two-thirds of my miles are devoted to commuting or just getting to/from off-road riding areas, so tires with a slight on-road bias should be quieter, provide more grip on the street and last longer than the 10/90 knobbies.
Shinko’s 700 Series tires have a 60/40 on-/off-road ratio and a heavy-duty four-ply carcass. The tread is made up of irregularly shaped blocks arranged in an interlocking pattern, with larger tread blocks in the center of the tire, smaller blocks on the shoulder and half-depth reinforcements connecting the blocks on the shoulder for cornering stability.
At freeway speeds, the Shinko 700s are quiet and smooth, and on dry and wet twisty roads they lay down a well-planted footprint with minimal squirm. Off-road they perform admirably, scrambling over rough, rocky terrain, dirt tracking around corners and slicing lines through muddy sections with confidence.
With nearly 600 miles on the Shinko 700s, they’re well scrubbed-in but show little wear. It’s too early to tell how many miles I’ll get out of them, but other Shinko dual-sport tires we’ve tested have lasted at least as long as major competing tires.
One of the most attractive features of Shinko tires is their price: 700s retail for $61.95 for the front (one size: 3.00-21) and $73.95-$85.95 for rears (four sizes: 4.60-17, 5.10-17, 4.60-18, 130/80-18). With a load index of 51 (430 pounds) for the front and 62-67 (584-677 pounds) for the rears, Shinko 700 Series tires are suitable for heavy adventure bikes as well as lighter dual-sports.
For more information, see your dealer or visit shinkotireusa.com.