Sunday, March 25, 2012

Heidenau vs Shinko (en)


While I was at the Montreal moto show, I stopped at the Heideneu booth, attracted by the K60 Scout dual sport tires in demonstration.

I really liked the thread pattern of those 50-50 tires.  I spoke to the rep and told him that those tires would be an interesting replacement for my Shinko 705DS…  Whut?! Shinko?  Heideneu are much better than Shinko he told me with a little cocky attitude.  K60s can make 8000 miles no problem and they are excellent under rainy conditions.  I told him that I ran on Shinko 705DSs for a year and they where really not bad for the price.  My argument was lost in the wind.  Never mind.

I had a look at the tire chart.  I saw that I could use the 120-90-17 for my front tire and the 150-70-17 for the rear.  Exactly what I needed to do in order to accommodate a Shinko 705DS on my Versys, in other words: install a rear tire on my front wheel.  Note that I had to raise my front fender to have more space for this high profile tire.

Side note.  Are most of DS tire manufacturers sleeping on gas?Sleeping half-moon  Let me explain.  There are many supermotos and many crossovers on the market.  Both use a 120-70-17 tire size for the front wheel.  However there is only one manufacturer that offers its DS (I mean the real McCoy) tire in 120-70-17 front wheel format: Continental, with the TKC80…and this is very recent, but good luck… this tire is most of the time back ordered.  So, just a quick reminder for all other manufacturers: Light bulbLight bulbLight bulbLight bulbLight bulbthere is a market for this tire size!  End of side note.

So, Shinko-Heidenau…as a matter of fact last week, my front tire showed end-of-life signs.  I would have liked to keep it for another riding season, I even installed a brand new rear 705DS the week before!  However, the front wheel tire blocks are unevenly worn down and I fear that delamination has started: the front wheel was vibrating going back home after work (the effect was like going over a bump on every wheel rotation).  I just could not miss the occasion to compare: I called my dealer to order a Heidenau K60 to replace my front tire.  I should have it installed this week. 

So I will see if the K60 is as good as the Heidenau rep seems to think.  My conclusions on the Shinko 705DS:

  • a good performer on asphalt as well as off road;
  • surprisingly good under rainy conditions;
  • noisy, but not to the point that it becomes an issue;
  • the front tire: non-uniform wear down and started delaminating after 8000 miles (12000km).  The non-uniform wear down issue is apparently a frequent situation with big block tires but still disappointing.  Could having a rear tire installed in front explain this?  Also, the tire ran with lower than recommended pressure a few times, could this explain delamination?

To be continued…

Update: April 4, 2012

I got my bike back today.  Some pictures with the Heidenau (Shinko 705DS rear).


First impressions:

  • 705DS almost looks like a road tire compared to K60!;
  • K60 is a little less noisy;
  • because of the 50-50 thread pattern, K60 vibrates a little more at low speed.  Shinko’s are 70-30.

I probably forgot to mention that I wanted the Scout version of the K60.  The Scout seems to have a extra band in the middle (see top picture of this post).  That will give me another opportunity to compare next year Winking smile.

Now time to get lost in the Lac des Plages (Beaches Lake) area!Open-mouthed smile

Update: May 29, 2012

I had 2 good occasions to try the Heidenau K60.  First, during my first ride heading to Mont Tremblant and another one to Otis, Massachusetts.

The K60 is really good in all situations and surprisingly smooth on paved roads.  I did not feel any difference riding at a fast pace even with the 50-50 knobbies.  So, a good choice for all types of adventure rides.

I would have appreciated a K60 at the rear wheel as well when I had to follow a muddy road.  The 705DS is simply not built for this kind of situation.  I believe the K60 would have been better - but as of today, this is still speculation.

The down side: gas consumption. While I was riding down to Massachusetts, I was under the impression that gas consumption was higher than usual.  I suspect that around 20% more gas was required to run with the K60 on the front wheel.  I therefore have some apprehension installing another one on the rear wheel.

Concerning the performance aspect, the K60 is great!  Oh yeah, one more thing I noticed: the K60 is way better at cornering than the 705DS.  But keep in mind that I am running with a rear tire at the front wheel, the difference could be less obvious if I used a real front tire.

The conclusion so far is that if you are riding on a budget, choose the 705DS – it is cheaper and easy on gas.  The K60 is a better tire performance-wise, but overall costs are higher.


Update: July 16, 2012

I have been using the bike in normal conditions recently (commuting to work) and I discovered that the K60 is not the gas guzzler I originally thought.  My original observation in May when I rode to Massachusetts was that the tire increased gas consumption by 20%.  But now that I have used the bike in normal conditions, it appears that the consumption is the same as it was before - with a Shinko 705DS installed on the front wheel (about 49 MPG or 4.8L/100km).

So, the previous conclusion is still valid: if you are on a budget, buy Shinko’s 705DS, in particular if you do tire installation – however it is not cheaper on gas.

It will be very interesting to see on the long run how the Heidenau wears down.  If it does significantly more mileage than the 705DS, the price advantage may becomes just an illusion – especially if considering that it would require more frequent tire installation @ 50$ each.


1 comment:

  1. do you know supplier with wide offer of motorcycle tires in Montrea, Ca. I have BMW R850R 2003. Thanks!