After purchasing Yokohama Tires in 1998, the Shinko Group built up an impressive tire portfolio for the motorcycle and scooter aftermarket. The Korean company now offers 64 distinct street, off-road, and track products in such disparate segments as dragracing and trials, touring and motocross, cruisers and enduro, sport- and adventure-touring, and more.
Shinko’s 003 Stealth Radial tires are go-fast street radials intended for contemporary sportbikes. They’re narrowly focused, with two 17-inch front sizes (120/70 and 120/60) available in either standard street and ultra-soft track compounds. The rear choices are a bit broader, with eight different sizes – six 17-inch sizes (three available in ultra-soft), 180/55ZR18, and 120/80-12 for minibikes. We fitted a pair of standard-compound Stealth Radials to a Yamaha FZ-09, a 120/70-ZR17 F003RR up front ($137.95 list price) and a 180/55-ZR17 R003RR in back ($201.95).
Inflated to Yamaha’s recommended pressures (36 psi front/42 psi rear cold, far above racetrack settings), the feel of the tires was immediately appealing, providing light, natural steering dynamics at all speeds (they’re rated to 168 mph). Initial turn-in response was quick, and the transition to full-lean linear was predictable and reassuring. The Stealths worked well together and complemented the FZ-09 chassis, just one of many similar models for which they were designed. At the pressures noted above, the ride quality was somewhat firm, suggesting a stiff sidewall befitting the needs and intent of a no-nonsense performance tire.
On the subject of tire construction, the Stealths have nylon sidewall belts front and rear. Tread construction includes two nylon and two aramid belts up front and one nylon and three aramid belts in back to handle both weight and power. For our particular application, the tires’ load capacity is 520 lb front and 805 lb rear, giving a total allowable bike/rider/cargo weight of 1,325 lb – more than enough for even an FZ in serious sport-tour mode.
We threw miles at the Stealths in the city, on the freeway, and up and down snaky mountain roads. In aggregate, the tires encountered most everything that sport riders normally would – with the exception of rain (thanks for nothing, Mr. Drought). However, for this eventuality, the Stealths’ particular “slick/dimple” tread design incorporates multiple columns of short, mostly closed-ended drainage grooves. Positioned from the tire centers all the way to the edges, these small sipes provide maximum rubber footprint while still remaining DOT compliant – an ideal formula for high-performance road or track duty.
Overall, Shinko 003 Stealth Radials provide good sport performance at a reasonable price.