Shinko’s 010 Apex tires are all about providing a bang for your buck. With the rear carrying an MSRP between $135.95 and $165.95 depending on size and the front ranging between $95.95 and $96.95, they’re an affordable option in the performance street tire realm.
The 010 Apex tires sit squarely in the middle of Shinko’s sportbike tire line-up. They’re made to perform well on track in good conditions, but also offer durability and stability for everyday street riding and are constructed from a soft to medium compound. Shinko reps explain further that the Aramid belted front tire and Joint-Less Steel Belted rear are designed with profiles aimed to optimize handling and cornering.
The promise of sporting performance at a reasonable price is enticing, specifically for track duty since breaking-in a fresh set of rubber is one of the great joys of life. For price conscious riders that already covered the cost of the track day, fuel, meals, lodging and incidentals, a new set of tires can be a downright luxury.
So to see whether these Shinkos really do make for a good time on track, we sent our colleague and avid street rider Travis Woolard and his 2015 BMW S1000R to Keigwins@thetrack’s opening day at Thunderhill Raceway to sample a set of Shinko 010 Apex’s and report back.
The size of the Apex tires in this case was a 120/70 ZR17 and 190/55 ZR17 combination. Shinko offers 120/60 ZR17 front tires also, along with a broad range of rear options from 150mm width up to 200mm. All come with a W, or 168mph, speed rating, while load indexes vary depending on size.
Woolard rides every day he can, yielding to four wheels only when ice and snow make the going too treacherous. He started riding off road as a child and seven years ago decided to make the jump to the street. Motorcycles have long been serious business for him, and he’s a capable, thoughtful rider, though this would be his first track day.
Typically, Woolard opts for all-weather rubber since he faces a variety of conditions, including at times relentless, southern Oregon rain. But with the promise of moderately warm weather and a clear, smooth track on the docket he didn’t need to worry about water channeling capabilities. Something affordable with a soft to medium compound that would keep grip through two days at Thunderhill was the order and the 010 Apex tires fit the bill.
The morning of the first day, Woolard set about making sure his tire pressures were dialed for the conditions and his bike’s suspension appropriately calibrated. For that, he sought the advice of Dave Moss of Dave Moss Tuning.
“I took my BMW S1000R over to trackside suspension guru Dave Moss and for $40 bucks he set the sag for my weight, and recommended – cold- 27psi front / 25psi rear.”
In most cases, this is a bit on the low end of the pressure spectrum for a street tire, but because we wanted to maximize the Shinko’s contact patch, and weren’t necessarily worried about wearing the tire out, nor pushing our own limits (after all, this is Travis’ first trackday), the lower than normal pressure was acceptable.
“It was 45-50 degrees and chilly, the track was fresh and cold. So it was an easy rolling session just to scuff the tires, get a little heat into them to wear off some of the tire mold releasing agent. I only accelerated on the straights and kind of coasted the corners. I really didn’t want to jeopardize laying down my street machine.”
This latter sentiment is something that can sometimes get lost on moto-journalists. Of course we don’t want to damage the property lent to us by manufacturers for testing, but when you use a bike as a primary means of transportation, as Woolard does, you’ve got to have a lot of confidence in your tires to let loose at the track.
“During the second session I started to pick up the pace a little” Woolard continues.
“I got a little more lean in the corners but I still wasn’t 100% confident at a full lean. I’m not sure if it was knowing the tires were still new or if it was a “this is my daily rider” thing. The bike didn’t seem to settle in the corners it was kind of chattery and frankly unnerving.
As it turned out, the front suspension needed to be stiffened a bit more and the pressures dropped slightly in the tires (owing to a gauge that read four pounds too high). As a side note, if you haven’t invested in a quality tire pressure gauge, make sure you add one to your toolbox. These refinements brought the machine to its sweet spot and allowed Woolard to really start pressing the Apex tires on track.
“For the third session the sun came out and it was 60, or so, degrees. I gave the tires some hard acceleration and hard braking on the straight section between corners to get some heat in them. Then about Turn 3 or 4 I decided, ‘what the hell let’s see if how this all plays together’ and it was amazing! It was a night and day difference in handling. The bike sucked down in the corners and begged to go faster.
“The Shinko Apex tires with proper pressures were like glue at any speed I went and any lean angle I was at. I progressively got faster and faster and leaned more and more. The smile got bigger and bigger. I did check back with Dave again and he made a slight adjustment to the front forks to stiffen a tiny bit more, and took a quick look at the tires. They were an appropriate temperature wearing evenly across the whole tire.
“The fourth and fifth sessions were equally if not more awesome. The temperature got up to 65-degrees and the sun was out the whole day.
“The Apex tires were flat-out impressive. They handled anything and everything I threw at them. Whether it was power wheelies coming onto the straight, hard braking into a corner or hard acceleration out of a corner they were solid and stable.
“The Shinko’s turned into the corners well, seemed to stand up fine on exit but I did notice on quick side to side transfers I did have to give it some elbow grease to in addition to body weight to get it transfer quickly.
“All in all I was so comfortable on the Shinko Apex’s I forgot all about being on my daily street machine. I’m not a pro and don’t carry “A” class speed, so I can’t speak to the faster classes. But I will use and would recommend the Shinko 010 Apex tire for track days to any novice or even an intermediate rider without hesitation.”
Of course faster riders will likely go beyond the capabilities of this budget-minded sport tire, but if you’re new to track days, or simply just want a capable but disposable tire that won’t hurt the pocket book, it’d be worth your while to try a set of Shinkos.