I've never written a long term review of a tire before, but I figure I'd start with one that I haven't seen on the forum yet. For reference I'm about 155 pounds soaking wet and ride pretty conservatively. I tend to get 9-11k out of my rear tires but I've only run the stock Trailwings (11k) Metzeler Tourance (10k) and two Battlewing BW502 (9 and 10k). I will be comparing the 712 to these tires.
I ordered my 712 from Rockymountainatv.com for about $65 shipped (after I bought an oil filter to get over the $75 mark for free shipping and was installed by my mechanic during a valve check. The tire as far as I can tell is bias ply (no R mark on the 150/70/17). On the tire itself it is labeled as "Shinko 712R", so I'm at a loss for whether it's radial or bias. Regardless, I've put about 100 miles on the tire, 40-50 have been on windy mountain roads, the other 50-60 on freeway slab and city streets.
Initial impressions after 100 miles:
After the first 70 or so miles and the slickness of it wore off, it started to feel like I was riding a motorcycle again rather than a bull. This thing was slick! More so than the BW502 I had just tossed. After the initial wear in period, though, I'm having a hard time distinguishing it from either the Metzeler or the Bridgestones. I'm not particularly picky when it comes to tires and I thought that the BW502 handled better than the Metzeler Tourance - the Shinko seems to be right up there in terms of grip. What I'm more concerned about is longevity and wear pattern. Leaning in to corners gave me no pause and I was able to test the limits of the "chicken strips" a little. Seemed just fine for the $90 total I paid to have it shipped and put on (BW502 was $152 - I brought a loose tire in saving 25). One of the reviews I saw on Revzilla that I liked and rang true was "It's black and round" - great value for money but not going to get you anywhere that a more expensive and technical tire will. So far so good. Pics below!
Tread at the center patch seems to be pretty deep. I like it.
More to come in a few thousand miles! Let's see how this thing holds up.