One of the greatest French gravity riders is helping the Italian brand with its new tyre design.
Pirelli has a tyre technology legacy that dates to 1872, but its presence in mountain biking is a lot more recent.
Despite numerous successes in motorsport, Pirelli only delivered its Scorpion mountain bike tyre range to market, in 2019.
Although it possesses enormous technical resources and R&D assets, the Italian tyre giant is mindful of respecting the challenge, in designing mountain bike tyres.
With the diversity of terrain types and complexity of contact patch dynamics, Pirelli wishes to expand its mountain bike offering with a new gravity tyre.
The brand’s most gravity orientated tyre is current a Scorpion Enduro S, but riders can soon expect an expanded range of Pirelli gravity tyres.
Working with one of the best
Three-time downhill world champion, Fabien Barel, has been hired as a consultant by Pirelli, to guide the development of its new gravity tyre range. The Frenchman’s success in downhill and enduro racing make him excellently qualified for the role of a tyre project consultant.
Where Barel perhaps has the edge, over some other former professional gravity racers, is his astute technical background. With an engineering degree and deep understanding of both riding and tyre dynamics, the French gravity riding legend is keen to add value.
Pirelli hasn’t divulged much detail concerning its new gravity mountain bike product range, but from the official images of Barel’s test session, the tread and casing shape is visible.
Pirelli going for a progressive breakaway?
One of the prototypes has an interesting distribution of sipes, across its tread blocks. On the edge tread, only every alternate block is siped, whilst the centre tread has a sequence of horizontal and vertical sipes, on alternate tread block rows.
Pirelli’s prototype #1 tyre has all its extreme edge tread blocks siped, whilst the secondary row of transitionary blocks aren’t siped.
What we could be looking at, are two tyres for different purposes, with one being front specific, and the other intended for the rear.
The casing shape of these new gravity prototype tyres appear to be slightly rounded in profile, instead of square. This could indicate that a more gradual grip-to-slide transition is desired by the Pirelli design team.