First Look: Pirelli's New Scorpion Race DH & Enduro Tires

Oct 3, 2022
by Seb Stott  
Loris Revelli will be going for the podium at home in Italy after his 6th place in Mont Sainte Anne.

You may have noticed the Canyon CLLCTV Pirelli World Cup team (the other vowel-phobic Canyon DH team) racing some unreleased tires last season. Along with team mentor Fabien Barel, they have been developing a complete range of tires designed specifically for racing. Now, Pirelli is finally ready to unveil them.

The new line of tires is divided into the Scorpion Race DH and the Scorpion Race Enduro. The difference is the casing construction and weight.

Pirelli's M (mixed-conditions) tire is designed to be versatile and predictable. Photo Credit: Mountain Bike Connection Summer - Mirror Media.

The T (traction) tread pattern is more spaced out for looser conditions. The central knob in the cluster of three can be removed for better mud-shedding and directional stability. Photo Credit: Mountain Bike Connection Summer - Mirror Media.

The Mud pattern (center) is specific for the sloppiest conditions, with well-spaced knobs and a 2.4" width to avoid catching the sides of mud ruts. On the left is the S (soft) conditions tire, which is 2.5" wide and more well-rounded, but still mud-biased. Photo Credit: Mountain Bike Connection Summer - Mirror Media.

There are four tread patterns: M (mixed), T (traction), S (soft) and Mud. The Mud pattern is only available in the DH casing, while the other three are available in Enduro or DH versions.

One of the best metrics to characterise a tyre's intended use is the land-to-sea ratio - the area of the tyre surface that's made up of the tread compared to the rest of the tyre. This number goes from 0.21 for the M to 0.11 for the Mud pattern.

The DH tires are claimed to weigh around 1,450 g in 29x2.5" size, while the enduro line is said to weigh around 1,260 g, depending on the tread pattern. Both are a dual-ply construction with a rubber sidewall insert to prevent pinch flats. The difference is in the nylon threads used to hold the carcass together: the DH casing has thicker threads (60 threads per inch) while the Enduro casing uses finer ones (120 threads per inch). This means the Enduro tire is lighter, faster rolling and suppler over bumps, but the DH tire is more puncture resistant and more supportive in the turns.

For now, they're only available in a 2.5" width, except for the Mud pattern, which is 2.4" only. All are designed to work best with 30 mm rims. According to Fabien, the number of World Cup racers still using 25 mm rims is diminishing and the reason is primarily due to new tires not being well-designed for narrower rims. Pirelli say that when starting from a blank sheet of paper, it makes sense to design tires specifically around 30 mm rims as they're the most popular and they offer more stability to the tire. Pirelli claim they measure up true-to-size at 2.50" (63.5 mm) on a 30 mm rim at 22 psi. That would make them a little bigger than the equivalent real-world size from some other brands, and while I haven't had a chance to get a set of callipers on them, they certainly look plump in the flesh.


The Race DH and Race Enduro tires all share one compound, which Pirelli call SmartEVO DH. They say the rubber compounds in their MTB tires have been developed with help from the brand's motorsports experience. In contrast to the SmartGRIP compound already seen on Pirelli's MTB tires, the new rubber is designed to offer uncompromising race day performance. This doesn't just mean the most grip possible, though, as Pirelli say they prioritised predictability over ultimate stickiness.

The knobs feature a soft (42A durometer) rubber on the outside to help them stick to the trail, with a harder base compound under the surface to prevent the knob from folding under the extreme cornering loads seen in top-level racing and to allow it to absorb impacts effectively. When I talked to Pirelli's engineers, it sounds like the layer of softer compound is relatively thin (to better resist folding), which means the tires will wear down to the base compound relatively quickly. This is the compromise Pirelli made in order to combine stickiness with stability. If you want a tire to last all season in the bike park, look elsewhere.

I got a chance to ride the tires briefly at Bike Connection, a press event in Italy, but it's too soon to say how they compare to their rivals. I'll let you know once I've put some miles on them at home. Photo credit: Mountain Bike Connection Summer - Rupert Fowler





124 Comments

  • 198 9
 Can the tire manufacturers please just durometer for rubber compounds, and not names? I see they do post a 42A figure, but I'd much rather see numbers for ALL tire compounds than some asinine marketing/naming convention.
  • 38 5
 I support this. If not from a manufacturer, maybe from a company that provides reviews... Durometer testers are relatively affordable. Seems like something that would be very much up Seb's alley.
  • 34 2
 In order for that information to be most useful I'd also like to know how fast/slow the compound rebounds (Specialized and Schwalbe are doing this at least in relative terms), how temperature affects its properties, how thick the outer layer is and how hard the base layer is (great to see Seb touch on that here). There's a lot going on with tires.
  • 22 0
 @AndrewHornor: True. Personally I'd prefer a reviewer to just say "it's good on wet roots and works OK in the cold", or whatever.
But realistically, I just buy most of the tyres to try for myself Big Grin
  • 4 0
 @AndrewHornor: That checks out. Definitely more to the story than just the durometer.
  • 23 0
 @AndrewHornor: One issue is that rebound rate (hysteretic loses) is dependent on deformation frequency and temperature. Profiling rubber properties is complex. The idea of how fast a compound 'rebounds' has caught on lately with consumers but giving the consumer information that they can actually use to draw a meaningful conclusion from is not easy.
  • 4 2
 @chakaping: same here.. good grip in wet and dry, cornering well, affordable.. BUY.... I don't even wanna know what a durometer is..
  • 24 2
 Just think how many marketing types would be unemployed if they just used facts
  • 26 2
 Durometer without knowing other rubber characteristics is like buying a bike based on it's head angle. But still that's how a lot of people buy bikes.
  • 14 2
 @GTscoob: spec sheet consumers ruin almost as many products as marketing professionals do
  • 3 0
 Doesn't the insert (if any) also have an influence on the rebound rate? So far I've only been riding with Schwalbe ProCore (aside from just regular tubes in the past) and the effect may not be so big. But another wheel I've built turned out to be near impossible to setup with ProCore (Spank Spike with a raised center) so I tried Pepi instead. Was easy to install and sealed instantly even without sealant, but I was a bit too excited with my floor pump and blew the tire off the rim ripping the bead wire. I'll try again once my new tire has arrived but my guess is, the Pepi insert should have a fair impact on the tire rebound, shouldn't it? Or is it primarily in the knobs so would the tire compound still be dominant? Of course not everyone is using inserts but then again I suppose there is still a fair number that does.

As for durometers, I recall Schwalbe used to do that and very often it were different compounds in one single tire. A harder compound in the middle and softer for the side knobs. And sometimes even different compounds in a single knob (so a hard core for stability covered in a softer compound for grip). Even if they give you all the numbers, I can imagine it may still be hard to make comparisons.
  • 2 0
 @Zalgorithm yep. Absolute pain in the hole!
  • 6 0
 @jkiefer: it's not really possible to measure shore hardness with a regular durometer because you don't have enough rubber volume to measure and also some tires have multiple different compounds layered on top of eachother. You need a certain width and thickness of the material you want to measure.
Also different compounds with the same shore hardness can have dramatically different hardness at other temperatures.
  • 3 1
 @vinay: Rebound of the tire - yes. It doesn't affect the rubber compound properties though.
  • 1 0
 @AndrewHornor: Yes! So much more to tires than just durometer.
@saladdodger: thank you for illustrating that while some of us hunger for engineer/inventor-level detail, others do not need this. But having it available would be awesome.
I personally would rather have objective data than subjective. I don’t trust online rider reviews as most of them are from potentially biased sources, or use unhelpful superlatives. I really like what @astonmtb is doing. What happened to MTBR? Is everyone who actually contributed to real reviews then just an ambassador these days?
  • 3 0
 And quit using Mustard Yellow color labels on tire sidewalls PLEASE!
  • 2 0
 @chocolate-thunder: My favorite tire review(s) is the shootout from Outdoor Gear Lab where they rank each tire on a bunch of qualities and also summarize how the ride feels. For the tires I've ridden, their findings align with my experiences.

In the end even if more numbers and objective facts could be available (great!) I still want reviews that cover subjective impressions. I can't imagine a way to quantify, say, wrist pain caused by a tire (looking at you Wild Enduro Front) or the DHF drift.
  • 2 0
 @jkiefer: U need 4+mm of material for most hardness meters to work. This makes it hard/inaccurate to measure tires. Especially those with multiple overlapping compounds (e.g. vittoria) Measuring single compound tires like these Pirellis should be doable
  • 1 2
 Durometer tells you nearly nothing about the tyres performance so don't even bother lol
  • 1 0
 @AndrewHornor: I've owned several Wild Enduro fronts and rears with over a thousand miles put on and don't recall any wrist pain I would associate to the tire. A few oh sh!t moments braking in steep dry marbles over hard pack though.
  • 2 0
 @MattyBoyR6: I can see it being no problem for most people. I think I have unusually tender wrists. Since the - let's call it discomfort - started when I installed the tire, I only kept it a month, and things went back to normal when I tried a different tire. I now run only trail-weight casings... Butcher grid trail T9 is the nicest ride feel I've found yet, in case anyone reading this is in the same boat.
  • 1 0
 THIS MAN SPEAKS THE TRUTH
  • 88 1
 Pirelli you can’t just name every tire with tread Scorpion
  • 49 0
 Pirelli: Hold my beer.
  • 20 3
 …and yet they did.
“Can I get a Scorpion for my bike please?”
“Why yes sir here you go”
“There is no way a Scorpion Rally STR will fit my mtb!!!”
“Sorry. Im confused”
  • 5 0
 @gaberoc: *Negroni sbagliato
  • 3 0
 Literally no other names?
  • 1 1
 I think it's great that I can have the same tyres on my Maverick as the nukeproof on the tailgate. I do hope these are better off road than the ATRs though.
  • 3 0
 WAG: It's easier to only have to trademark one name.
  • 63 6
 I don't mean to hijack anything here, but will Pinkbike acknowledge that Alicia Leggett is in the ICU?
  • 12 0
 I've wanted to know this too. It was all over the mountain biking subreddit and there was a link to a GoFundMe. Even if they're preserving her privacy, an acknowledgment that it is legit would be helpful to people who might want to donate.
  • 3 0
 Link to subreddit?
  • 5 4
 this is important, but very non-Pirelli-related
  • 2 0
 @MarcusBrody: thanks for sharing
  • 2 1
 Been wondering the same thing. Pocket Outdoor corporate policy?
  • 53 0
 these are alicias coworkers and friends. give them time and let them handle it as they see fit
  • 3 0
 @MarcusBrody: it’s legit, I know Chelsea kimball the creator of the go fund me. Chelsea was at the event so she witnessed the crash.
  • 3 0
 @kroozctrl: Cool, thanks a lot. I saw it had her name on it, but I didn't know sort of proof you need to set up a GFM. As I didn't see it on any media website outside of Reddit and it wasn't on Chelsea Kimball's IG (though she referred to the crash), I wasn't sure.
  • 4 0
 Man this is so rough to hear. Loved her content and personality on the PB Podcast + Vids. Seemed like a great egg. I wish her and her family well. I’m sure PB and her family will handle it in a way that best suits them - as they should. WA has some really great hospitals. Only time will tell with neuro injuries. Trust the docs, spend all the time with her you can, and know the whole community is behind you .
  • 6 0
 Before @kroozctrl weighed in, I reached out to Chelsea on IG and she confirmed that everything was on the up and up, so no doubly no worries about the GFM if you want to donate.
  • 3 8
flag mknott9 (Oct 4, 2022 at 0:08) (Below Threshold)
 Kinda sad someone who’s job is to ride bikes has to rely on outside funding to get the care she needs, outside should be ashamed.
  • 4 0
 @mknott9: the post in there mentioned she does her insurance through work, but this is to help with other expenses.
  • 34 0
 We need red, yellow and white for soft, medium and hard compounds. Dun da dun da dun, dah dun dunt dut.
  • 1 0
 Perfect
  • 13 0
 And also a C1 to C5 but only make 3 of those available on any given weekend, for less confusion
  • 3 0
 That is pretty much what Schwalbe do. Quite surprised pirelli didn't find a way to copyright or. Specialized definitely would have!
  • 12 0
 Also, a blue full wet tire that no one actually buys or used.
  • 5 0
 @Nimasterj: Or you do ask for wet but they stick inters on anyway
  • 1 0
 @dne87: "I told you, these tires have no grip man!"
  • 26 1
 Nice of them to name a tyre after my best trick.
  • 22 0
 Can I get 8 Miles on the Mom's Spirelli's?
  • 5 0
 As long as you don't vomit on the trail, I'd say you could go until your knees get weak
  • 3 1
 @giovenji-mtb: ...or till your palms are sweaty and arms are heavy. On the surface he looks calm and ready to drop drops but he keeps on forgetting where to ride down
  • 1 0
 @schalkt1: you better not lose yourself
  • 18 0
 Needs to come with a calendar. Each tire shown holding a beautiful berm.
  • 1 1
 +1000
  • 17 1
 Looks can be deceiving, but these tread designs look 20 years old. Back then people thought MTB tires had to look cool and didn’t care if they worked.
  • 9 2
 yeah they look super cheap and walmarty
  • 15 4
 Getting pretty close to looking like a minion. Might almost be good now.
  • 7 0
 The mud tire looks like an old WTB Velociraptor!
  • 4 0
 @jwestenhoff: damn me I remember those things, used to ride as I loved the name, then I used a real tyre and realized how shite they were. Ah dumb, young me.
  • 3 0
 @p0rtal00: I want velociraptors in 2.5/2.4 for 29ers, just for the nostalgia. They should have named the verdict/judge combo the Velociraptor II F/R.
  • 1 0
 Looks like my old wtb moto raptors.
  • 4 0
 Unless they're costing a few shekels less than the competitors, why bother. Most will go for Maxxis methinks.

BTW, I'm fond of Schwalbe's naming convention: Magic Mary, Big Betty et al.
  • 5 0
 ehhhhh, I'll stick with the Continentals, that recently replaced my Michelins, that recently replaced my Maxxis. Supply chain issues rule over all.
  • 3 0
 what Contis you're running ? How do you like them so far ? Curious and looking for more feedback
  • 2 0
 @souknaysh: i jump in if you will. I recently replaced my e13 lg1s with conti argotal super soft (front) and conti kryptotal re soft(back). The Argotals are insane gripwise they roll ok too, they are pretty hard to mount though. The soft compound rolls very good and grips ok. If you go with conti, just get the supersoft, that compound is nuts. The soft is a bit disappointing imo.
  • 1 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: Thank you appreciate the feedback. Ordered 2.6 Argo Enduro soft and 2.4 Krypto DH soft. Bought what was available but still fired up to give them a try.
  • 1 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: Good to know I wasn't the only one having a tough time mounting the Argotals.
  • 1 0
 @evanwoodard: certainly not, there is even a productfeedback from a customer on a german onlineshop-website stating that he could mount the tires as the inner diameter is too small. The LG1 s were worse to fit to be honest, still big sturdy levers required.
  • 1 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: agree on the Argotal Supersoft. (was also really hard to mount on my (carbon) wheels)

Disagree on the Soft though. At least for a rear tyre: I run the Krypto R Soft Enduro on the rear,
very good grip and surprisingly little wear so far.
  • 1 0
 @FloImSchnee: i got the exact same combo, the Krypto R Soft works great in the dry, on slick surfaces not so much, it also pings of wet roots, something the softer compound does not do. If you touch the thread its obvious that the supersoft rebounds way slower than the soft. The soft feels and rides a bit like a Vittoria. (which has also a good gripping long lasting and fast compound).
  • 6 0
 @seb-stott any word on prices?
  • 4 0
 My car came with Pirelli PZ4 tires and they were crap compared to Michelin PS4S for a similar price (expensive). That makes me not want to run Pirelli MTB tires.
  • 1 0
 If I remember well, pirelli mtb tires are built by hutchinson, so they should have good quality. But the compound is supposed to be pireli's.
  • 1 0
 I've run Pirelli P4's for awhile - I wouldn't call them crap but do agree that Michelin is a better option.
  • 6 4
 Its really nice to see so many viable options, for gravity biased riding, from different manufactures. Maxxis is so boring. Dhr2 and Assegi/dhf are good tires but its like McD for fast food
  • 10 3
 Boring because they are very good at delivering a quality product which does exactly what they are designed to do? Choice is yours to look elsewhere if a brand of tires is too 'boring' for you, that's the beauty of the times we are in for the bike industry. Plenty of choices out there for you.
  • 4 0
 Except that McDs is terrible at being what it claims to be (food) and is actually just cheap and available. Makes it more Mike Bear than Maxxis.
  • 2 0
 @VPS13: Maxxis has had some notable QC issues over the past couple of years. Particularly wobbly casings, which were always a problem of theirs, but have gotten worse recently.

They've gotten a good deal more expensive, don't offer DH casing tires in anything but MaxxGrip. MaxxGrip tires also have a pretty horrendous wear rate as a rear tire, and tend to chunk off entire knobs once they're beyond a certain point. On top of all of that, where I live people seem to be shredding DD and DH casings from them at a surprising rate.

All this to say. They are good, and are the standard for a reason, but they're far from perfect, and a little competition can't hurt!
  • 4 0
 Those dudes sure love their scorpions. Every tire is a scorpion but every scorpion isn’t a tire… or is it?
SCORPION!
  • 9 4
 26” tire?
  • 4 0
 I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.
  • 1 0
 Your people are going extinct, btw
  • 2 0
 @skiboot1: it’s a catch 22 really. On one hand a new bike is 7000$ and on the other that same bike but a few years older is 900$ I’m just picking up them bones I guess
  • 6 2
 This naming convention is too...plain. I conti understand.
  • 4 2
 I'm too tyred to care any more...
  • 4 1
 I agree. The marketing team has not added the Maxxis number of buzzwords yet. The complete model names need must be too large to Schwalbe-for they are ready for primetime.
  • 1 0
 OMG WTB!
  • 5 0
 Panaracer Smoke anyone?
  • 2 0
 That's going back a few years.
  • 5 0
 Smoke ! Dart ! The answer to every tire question.
  • 2 0
 @preston67: MBUK used to rave about them, I put some on my bike and got three pinch flats in three rides. And that was me at my teenage weight Big Grin
  • 4 1
 Will they rock you like a hurricane?

Or will you black out from hitting the deck?
  • 1 0
 In New Mexico, that's "Rock You like Al Hurricane". He's a local Tex-Mex legend, so famous even heavy metal bands from Germany write songs about him.
  • 3 0
 The side knobs seem kinda small compared to the center knobs.
  • 3 0
 those are some heavy tires
  • 2 0
 Wait until they come out with 32" and 36" tires!
  • 2 0
 Their Enduro tires are almost what the new Continental DH tires weigh (mid 1200g's).

Which means the casing weights are about what the Schwalbe Super Gravity tires weigh.

And now I'm just left wondering which casing is more supportive, and resistant to damage (ie, are the continental DH tires as robust as the enduro casings from Pirelli and Schwalbe... or did Continental do some magic here).
  • 1 0
 That's exactly what I'm looking for personally. The Michelin Racing Line tires are the best I've found so far. Curious to try these, because the Michelin tread patterns are a bit more square than I'd like.
  • 2 0
 I'm here for it, cause 1200g is about my budget for weight on an enduro bike anyway. I'm not about to put a 1000g tire on and blow it off the rim or bust a wheel the first run I drop the hammer. And if it's a trail bike, I wouldn't want a super sticky compound anyway.
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: I think its worth pointing out Schwable's Super DH casing is truly ridiculous- I think it is a solid step up from a Maxxis DH casing, and if I remember correctly, wc riders have raced (and won) on super gravity tires. Ofc Maxxis is also bizarre where DD and DH casing are quite close in weight as well. Tire casings are such a mess
  • 2 0
 I am just so glad that Maxxix make 1000gram DHR2's in sticky compound for us lighter riders. Thank you Maxxix!
  • 2 1
 I find buying tires confusing with all these different compounds and sidewalls.. that used to be much easier..
  • 9 0
 WTB are refreshingly simple with their tyres: hard or soft compound, quite tough or really tough carcass. That's it.
  • 4 0
 @chakaping: too bad their tires sort of suck, though. I've heard good things on the meatier options, but my general experience with several tires is the leak air like crazy through the casing, sealant be damned, and they where pretty fast.
  • 1 0
 @Glenngineer: Just talking enduro tyres here, no such problems with recent years' tyres for me.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: Teravail as well. Casings come in Light, Durable, Extra Durable, and rubber comes in Fast or Grippy. At the very least I know what it’s supposed to do when I buy it.
  • 1 0
 @Glenngineer: yup - Trail Boss is a fairly decent tyre, but I got so bored of more sealant being outside the sidewalls than inside, that I just binned the tyre
  • 1 0
 @Hayek: Sounds good, how do you rate their tyres?
  • 1 0
 The Tire looks fine, tho it looks like the guy in the last photo took a little slide out.
  • 2 0
 They like diagonals
  • 3 0
 That's one way to make it not look like a minion
  • 1 0
 These give me old Continental vibes
  • 1 0
 Cool, now maybe I can find some Conti Kryptotal Enduro Soft front 29".
  • 1 1
 This is clearly an ad. Shame on you Pinkbike/Outside.
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