Selecting tires for V-Twin cruiser and touring motorcycles can be tricky, as they require both grip and durability, and they should look good too. Happily, Shinko SR999 Long Haul Tires handle as good as they look. The tread has rain grooves that run in an alternating diagonal pattern, almost like claw marks, and the styling nicely complements my Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic. But more importantly, those grooves evacuate water efficiently for reliable wet-weather grip, which is essential on the west coast of Florida where I ride. It may be called the Sunshine State, but the Gulf of Mexico regularly sends frog-choking storms our way.
V-Twins like my Harley are heavy bikes, and the SR999 Long Hauls carry the weight of the machine, rider, and gear very well thanks to their reinforced carcass, aramid belting, and rubber compound, which was formulated for high mileage and confident grip in a range of conditions. The SR999 tires are available in diameters ranging from 15 to 21 inches and in numerous widths. The load index ranges from 54 (467 lb) for an 80/90-21 front to 84 (1,102 lb) for a 180/55B18 rear.
A set of SR999 tires were installed on my Softail by Ricachet, one of the best mechanics in Tampa, at HellBenders Motorcycles (HellBendersMotorcycles.com). Soon after leaving the shop, we had a typical surprise Florida storm roll in. I had barely scrubbed in the tires before the skies opened up, and I’m not ashamed to admit I was squeezing the handlebar pretty tight as I merged onto Interstate 275.
But as I got up to speed, I noticed…nothing. No squirm, no hunting for grip, just steady cruising like it wasn’t even raining. The Shinkos rolled along smoothly and felt stable and reassuring.
After that initial wet ride, I started racking up the miles. The SR999s exhibited good stability, gave me confidence in sharp turns, and provided an all-around smooth ride. And despite the reinforced carcass, I didn’t feel every bump in the road like I’ve felt with other tires. They handled most of the rough spots on the highway – seams, cracks, gouges, and potholes – without drama.
This is my first experience with Shinko tires, and while I was initially reluctant to try an unfamiliar brand, I’m glad I did. After a few thousand miles on the SR999s, they have exceeded my expectations, and I feel more confident and safer with them on my bike.
Shinko SR999 Long Haul tires are available in a range of front and rear sizes and are priced from $114.95 to $269.95.