The year of the tire continues, as the RT needs new shoes. This follows the Dakar episode recently. This time, once again, it is due to the age of the existing rubber. Based on the date codes, the tires go back to the early 1990s. Although the tread does not seem to be in bad shape, there is a little sidewall cracking on the rear. This was fine for my shakedown runs, but not so fine for any long distance or high speed runs. A local shop produced a front tire, which was an Avon Super Venom for $30 !! However, it proved difficult to find a matching rear, so I opted for a Shinko which had very good reviews. We are clearly at the point where you cannot just dismiss non-Japanese Asian tires as cut rate and substandard.
I know that having mismatched tires is not ideal, but the kind of mileage that this bike is going to see and the fact that it is a touring bike to begin with makes me more comfortable with this choice. Besides, and new tires are far superior (and safer) than what I found on this bike, much less the original rubber as it shipped from the factory.