When it came time to replace the Dunlop D418 Elite 3s that came with our 2015 Victory Cross Country Tour, we started to shop around. The Dunlops had been a decent tire but we didn’t want to pay $400 plus installation costs to replace them. That’s when we came across the Shinko SE890s on the Motorcycle Superstore website and decided to give them a try. We weren’t disappointed!
By the time we replaced the Dunlops they had about 8500 miles on them and were starting to make a notable buzzsaw sound (apparently this is common if you read various motorcycle forums) and the rear tire had a pronounced flat spot on the center of the tread pattern which was making turn-in initiation difficult. In fact, this had started at around 6000 miles. There was plenty of tread life left on both tires and we had heard that many riders were getting 12,000 miles or more on these same Dunlop Elite 3s – based on estimated remaining treadlife alone we probably could have too but a motorcycle that doesn’t corner isn’t very fun to ride.
Riding Conditions: Before going into specifics regarding the Shinkos, let me describe the conditions that we ride in. The Victory Cross Country Tour weighs about 850 lbs and nearly all of the time we ride 2-up, fully loaded for a weekend tour. That’s an estimated 1265 lbs and a lot of load on a set of tires!
We live in the Phoenix, Arizona area where it is generally warm and dry but frequently venture into mountainous destinations often encountering rain, sleet, and snow – sometimes on the same day! The vast majority of our riding is along back roads and highways, just taking our time and enjoying the scenery. We almost never reach maximum lean angle or accelerate and brake hard.
Price: We paid around $220 for the set.
Reviews: Many reviews on the Motorcycle Superstore website were raving about just how good this tire was, especially at the price point. This, combined with the low price, is the reason we decided to purchase them.
Appearance: I’m sure many riders don’t really care about the way a tire looks but I’m not one of them. There are white-lettered tires, white-walled tires, skinny tires and fat tires. There are even some with just plain weird looking tread patterns. All of these have their purpose and probably look and work well for a specific application. In the case of the Shinkos, as shown in the picture above, they don’t really have any outstanding features, they simply have the appearance of a quality tire.
Performance: As previously stated, we don’t do much canyon carving on our Victory so dry grip has never been an issue with these tires, even on tar snakes (lines of tar used to patch cracks in the road) which Arizona roads are full of. The Shinkos are quiet, smooth, and offer good bump absorption, even at maximum air pressure, unlike some other tires with stiffer sidewalls.
We did experience loss of grip once during a light rain storm. We were pulling out of a gas station at about 15-20 mph and at minimal lean angle and crossed a painted stripe on the road. Both the front then the rear completely lost traction, which was disconcerting, but immediately gained traction again once past the painted stripe.
Tire Life: It has now been one year since installing the Shinkos and they have right at 5500 miles on them. Both tires show very little tread wear. As shown in the pictures below, the front tire is starting to exhibit some cupping which hasn’t yet translated to noticeable loss of performance. The rear tire is starting to get a flat spot which is, like the Dunlop, making turn-in initiation difficult. Because of the flat spot I will be replacing this set of tires soon but would feel safe riding them far beyond their current mileage.
Comparison to Dunlop Elite 3s:
Price: Almost half the price ($220 vs. $394).
Performance: Equal in grip and comfort but quieter, especially when the Dunlop gets worn.
Tire Life: Equal – both start flat-spotting on rear tire at approximately 5000 miles under conditions described.
The Shinko SE890 tires were a great replacement for the Dunlop Elite 3s that came on our Victory Cross Country Tour. They are easy to find and relatively inexpensive, have positive reviews from many different riders, look and perform well, and matched the factory-specified tire for overall tire life. In our experience this is an outstanding tire that we will use again and recommend to anyone riding under similar conditions.