Although Pirelli launched its first mountain bike tyres a few years ago, this Scorpion range is completely new. Here's all you need to know about the updated line-up.
On both road and track, the world’s fastest cars and drivers rely on Pirelli tyres. Not only that, the Italian brand has been heavily involved in motocross and supercross racing over the years, winning over 65 off-road world titles along the way. Such a glittering palmares and solid technological foundation ensures Pirelli is perfectly placed to bring its expertise to the mountain bike market. Its new tubeless-ready Scorpion range wraps up decades of tyre knowledge and experience into a comprehensive offering encompassing everything from XC to enduro, all with an eye on puncture protection and durability. For the discerning mountain biker, there is a new choice on the market.
To keep it simple to understand, Pirelli splits the collection into specific categories – XC, Trail and Enduro, each with its own specific tread sizes, casings and rubber compounds. And because they’re the most relevant to UK riding, it’s the Trail and Enduro options that we’ll focus on here.
Beneath Pirelli’s Scorpion Trail umbrella there are four tread patterns to choose from, each optimised for different conditions and terrain types. And although they all run Pirelli’s SmartGRIP rubber and ProWALL carcass, the actual compound and casing construction used is unique to each tread pattern, depending on the properties required.
Scorpion Trail H
Built for devouring the miles on hardpack trails, the 2.4in wide Scorpion Trail H is the perfect complement to a modern down-country bike, and would also make an accomplished rear tyre for summer use when paired with the more aggressive Scorpion Trail S or M up front. With a low-profile, directional tread pattern, rolling resistance is minimised to ensure speeds are kept high. To dovetail with this intended use, Pirelli has chosen a SmartGRIP rubber compound that focuses on longevity and predictable grip on both wet and dry hardpack. This is moulded to a 60tpi ProWALL casing with additional puncture protection, but Pirelli has still managed to keep the tyre weight below 900g.
Scorpion Trail M
Although visually similar to the Trail H, the directional tread pattern on the Trail M is in fact unique, designed to give fast-rolling with enhanced grip in soft and mixed conditions. It’s still very much at home on hardpack, both in the wet and the dry, but by making the knobs taller and further apart, the Trail M finds grip in loose dirt without clogging. Think of it as your go-to tyre for long rides where you need to cover ground efficiently but you’re likely to encounter a wide range of terrain.
Scorpion Trail S
For technical trails and looser, softer conditions where you demand ultimate grip, but want to keep the tyre weight low, look no further than the Scorpion Trail S. This is the exact same directional tread pattern as the Scorpion Enduro S – complete with ramped centre knobs for reduced rolling resistance – but with a lighter casing and a 100g weight advantage. Tall edge knobs help leant-over grip and hold firm in softer terrain. The single compound SmartGRIP rubber is designed to remain predictable as it wears, while the ProWALL casing uses an additional ply for extra protection. The Trail S is available in both 29in and 27.5in diameters and a 2.4in width.
Scorpion Trail R
To complete Pirelli’s trail offering, there’s the rapid, rear-specific Trail R. A low-profile central paddle design aims to give good traction when braking and climbing while keeping rolling resistance low. This is combined with tall edge knobs for cornering grip. As the Trail R is designed for hardpack conditions, Pirelli recommends pairing it with a Trail M up front.
Just as it is in the Trail range, each Scorpion Enduro model gets a unique blend of SmartGRIP rubber and HardWALL reinforced casing depending on its requirements. This is a full bead-to-bead Nylon layer and thick rubber sidewall insert that not only improves resistance to punctures significantly, it stiffens and strengthens the sidewall, helping guard against rim damage, prevent pinch flats and increase support and control in high-velocity turns. There are three tread patterns offered, all of which will be familiar from the Scorpion Trail range.
Scorpion Enduro M
The Scorpion Enduro M shares the same mid-height, mid-spaced tread pattern as the Trail M, designed to work across a wide range of conditions from hardpack to loose dirt. But it gets a different SmartGRIP compound and additional HardWALL casing reinforcement as shared across the Scorpion Enduro range. In terms of sizing, the Enduro M is available in 27.5in diameter and both 2.4in and 2.6in widths, as well as a 29×2.6in version.
Scorpion Enduro S
While the Scorpion Enduro M is designed for rocky, baked-hard trails, the Scorpion Enduro S covers the opposite end of the spectrum; namely loose, soft and loamy goodness. Choose from 2.4in or 2.6in widths in either 27.5in or 29in diameters, all with the extra security of Pirelli’s HardWALL casing and tyre-specific SmartGRIP compound.
Scorpion Enduro R
The semi-slick ‘R’ tread pattern is also available in an ‘Enduro’ flavour, with reinforced HardWALL casing, revised SmartGRIP rubber and a broader size range, covering both 2.4in and 2.6in widths for both wheel diameters.The tread pattern also gets beefed up along the centre and edge knobs for increased bite, although there is a slight increase in rolling resistance as a result. Pirelli recommends marrying it up with a Scorpion Enduro M for an addictive blend of grip and slip, but would make an excellent fast-rolling rear for those summer Enduro races in drier conditions.