Looking for speed, traction, predictable handling and condition-specific design? Pirelli's new gravity-focussed range aims to have you covered, with options for mixed, dry, loose and wet conditions, plus enduro and downhill options.


Italian tyre brand Pirelli has released a whole new lineup of gravity race specific tyres, designed to suit a range of different conditions, from full-on mud to dry and loose, and everything in between. The Pirelli Scorpion Race range comprises four models, with downhill and enduro options.

All of the tyres in the range use Pirelli’s SmartEVO compound, plus enduro or DH specific casing options to provide the optimal blend of structural support, protection and stability.

The range was developed with the expert input of Fabien Barel. The three-time downhill World Champion is known for his analytical approach to racing, and has carried that into his post-racing career, providing technical advice and support to a range of mountain bike brands.

Initial ride impressions

MBR editor Danny Milner hopped over to Italy to give the new tyres a first ride, and shares his thoughts below:

“I rode the new Scorpion Race Enduro M tyre fitted to a Canyon Strive on the rough, rocky enduro trails in Andalo, nestled in the Dolomites, during the Bike Connection press camp.”

“Even running the lighter Enduro casing, I was able to run pressures in the very low 20s (PSI) without impacting the rim on any of the many sharp and square-edge rocks protruding from the trail. There was also good support when loaded up into turns. One of the journalists (a former French enduro champion) managed to blow his tyre off the rim jumping into a flat section, but this may have been more to do with his aggression and overconfidence in the tyre than any shortfall with the Enduro casing.”

“Grip across roots and flat dirt turns was good, with a predictable, consistent slide when the edge knobs let go that was easy to control. On certain sections of damp, mud-washed limestone, the Pirellis floundered, but it’s hard to think of any tyre that would have performed on this surface. What was most noticeable about the new Scorpion Race Enduro M was the grip to rolling resistance ratio. This is a tyre that requires much less effort to get rolling and holds onto momentum for far longer than, say, something with Maxxis’s MaxxGrip compound.”

SmartEVO DH compound

Pirelli have used the SmartEVO DH compound across the new Race range. Originally developed for motorsports, it comprises two layers of compound with slightly different but complementary properties; a soft, high-performance compound on the outside for traction, and on the inside a damping compound to provide support and shock absorption.

These two compounds are designed to work in tandem to produce reactive and precise handling, particularly at extreme lateral loads typical of downhill racing conditions. Temperature also comes into play, with the compound designed to provide consistent performance from freezing to hot conditions.

Fabien Barel provided technical insight in the development of the Pirelli Scorpion Race gravity tyre range

Pirelli Scorpion Race M

Sizes: 29 x 2.5, 27.5 x 2.5

Estimated weight: 1210g (Enduro 27.5), 1260g (Enduro 29) 1380g (DH 27.5), 1450g (DH 29)

There are two M models in the Scorpion Race lineup; the Scorpion Race DH M and the Scorpion Race Enduro M, and while the names give the game away with regards to the intended purpose, these are designed to be the most versatile models in the Scorpion range.

The Scorpion DH M features the Pirelli DualWall+ downhill-specific casing, constructed from double-ply 60tpi casing with cut-resistant reinforced sidewall and rubber bead insert. Soft SmartEVO DH rubber compound on the outside, combined with structural elements and large knobs combine to provide puncture protection, plus absorb small vibrations, larger hits and optimise grip without compromising stability.

For enduro riders, the DualWall enduro-specific casing in the Enduro M tyre is formed of a double-ply 120 tpi casing with rubber bead insert reinforcement. This is designed to provide the ideal blend of lighter weight, suppleness, protection and support for this kind of racing.

And both the DH M and Enduro M have a tread with a central section designed for precise, predictable traction on braking and acceleration, with lateral knobs built for maximum support. Pirelli suggests that these tyres will work well on a range of wet and dry terrain, though particularly favouring wet or dry rocks or hardpack, or mixed and variable conditions.

Pirelli Scorpion Race T

Sizes: 29 x 2.5, 27.5 x 2.5

Estimated weight: 1360g (DH 29)

When it’s all about grip, then the Scorpion Race T tyres in either Enduro T or DH T are the ones to reach for.

Designed to maximise traction while braking, accelerating or cornering, the tread pattern features a central section with special knobs designed to ‘increase traction in every phase of rotation’. This includes a central knob that’s designed to be cut for better mud evacuation, particularly on the front wheel, and larger knobs throughout promise great grip when things are slippery and damp without compromising stability thanks to the use of a stiffer base compound.

As with the Race M models, the DH T uses the DualWall+ double-ply 60 tpi casing with cut resistant sidewall, while the Enduro T uses the DualWall double-ply 120 tpi casing, and both have a reinforced rubber bead insert.

Pirelli recommends these for dry mixed or loose terrain, or wet roots or hardpack.

Pirelli Scorpion Race S range

Sizes: 29 x 2.5, 27.5 x 2.5

Estimated weight: 1260g (Enduro) 1380g (DH 27.5), 1450g (DH 29)

Loam-lovers, this tyre is for you. The Scorpion Race S range is a recommended choice for soft terrain, like loose loam, sand, or where a loose substrate sits over firmer ground below.

Larger, taller knobs dig into the ground to offer plenty of mechanical grip for aggressive riding, combined with the grippy SmartEVO DH rubber compound. And again, stability is achieved by having a stiffer base compound below.

As before, the DH S features DualWall+ casing while the Enduro S has the lighter DualWall option.

Pirelli Scorpion Race Mud

Sizes: 29 x 2.4, 27.5 x 2.4

Estimated weight: 1260g (Enduro) 1380g (DH 27.5), 1450g (DH 29)

The clue is in the name for this range. When things are mucky, wet and extremely muddy, the Race DH MUD is the model to reach for. Unlike the rest of the Scorpion Race range, this one doesn’t come with an Enduro option.

The Race DH MUD comes in a narrower 2.4 width and has high, widely spaced knobs to provide the perfect blend of mechanical grip and treat cleaning. The knobs are designed to be cut to provide increased stability and precision on hardpack wet roots if needed.

Again, SmartEVO DH compound provides maximum grip in deep mud, plus the usual DualWall+ downhill-specific double-ply 60 tpi casing.