This autumn I tested 2 sets of tyres from the Pirelli Scorpion™ MTB range which were born from Pirelli’s experience and know how in the world of off-road competitions. As you’d expect from this iconic Italian brand, the rubber compound used for the Scorpion™ MTB range is the product of intense research and development that succeeded in attaining absolute performance in both dry and wet conditions.
Use of the exclusive Smart GRIP compound allowed the Pirelli specialists to optimize the design on the basis of the consistency of the terrain regardless of weather conditions, maximizing the performance of the various knob shapes used for the Scorpion™ MTB range, for truly uncompromising performance. All I know is that the knobs work just fine and keep the tyre and the bike firmly fixed to the ground.
I’ve been testing the Pirelli MTB range tyres in all the conditions both wet and dry, hard terrain and mixed. Choosing the tread that best suits the terrain on which the mountain bike will be used allows one to enjoy absolute performance, in both wet and dry conditions. Riding in all conditions it was useful to have the options and I selected the tyre for the preferred type of terrain I ride, with the width of the tyre depending on how rough or extreme I want to ride.
So, I chose the Scorpion™ MTB Hard Terrain 29 x 2.2 for technical terrain, where it’s difficult, rough and on rocky ground with stones and cobblestones, hard compacted earth, gravel, smooth areas, exposed roots etc. The Scorpion™ MTB Mixed Terrain 29 x 2.2 proved itself ideal for mixed terrain, where the surface is a mix of compact and unstable terrain and all intermediate types.
Riding the Transylvania trails of the Bucegi Mountains and Cindrel mountains, which contain not only breathtaking landscapes but all kinds of terrain type, you can have for mountain biking, you need a tyre that sticks and cuts through the trails. For example: hard and soft earth, dirt roads and paths, undergrowth, clay soil, rocky ground, cobblestones, also wood, stone, gravel, smooth areas, exposed roots, etc. The tyres were exemplarily in all conditions and I didn’t have any problem with them, no punctures, no flats and the knobs stuck and molded perfectly on the multitude of terrain I rode. Time for some competitive race testing…
I participated in a mtb competition in the Transylvanian hills, choosing the Scorpion MTB Mixed Terrain because it fitted most and would give me a balance of grip and speed. The route had hard rocky sections where many of the participants had the usual punctures, but with the Pirelli’s fitted I was kept free from issue and able to ride unimpeded. The tyres also performed well on the leafy descent trails, which I had expected to be difficult, but I had good grip and control, enabling me to open things up. When braking, the tyres stay put on the difficult terrain and they don’t have any adverse slip unless your own handling is at fault. They’re a very confidence inspiring tyre and I can feel more confident and in control on the bike, especially when I’m racing and I give my best on the trails. For all 29 models launched, Pirelli recommends 25 mm inner width rims for size 2.2 and 30 mm for 2.4 or larger and these were ideal on the tests. Overall, Pirelli are finally getting back into all cycling genres and these mountain bike offerings will serve you well in the hills. Now for the boring technical stuff.
Details about the tyres
The Scorpion™ MTB Mixed Terrain 29 x 2.2 is a mountain-bike tyre designed for mixed terrain, where the surface is a mix of compact and unstable terrain and all intermediate types.
– the tread consists of knobs with average height and spacing to guarantee excellent performance on a wide range of terrains. It’s tread increases in size and spacing over the Hard terrain tyre.
– it’s rip-resistant rubber compound offering elevated mechanical resistance to reduce cutting and at the same time guarantee elevated performance.
– TUBELESS READY casing designed to dampen vibrations and make low pressure riding more stable with a wider footprint on the ground.
– special Smart GRIP Compound that guarantees an elevated adaptability and at the same time resistance to tearing, offering elevated grip in all weather conditions, be they dry or wet: the best ally for your performance off-road.
– shape of the tyre has been optimised for modern rims made of aluminium or carbon with a wide internal groove.
– it’s good at both penetrating softer ground to generate mechanical grip and conforming over it to increase friction grip.
The Scorpion™ MTB Hard Terrain 29 x 2.2 range is the best choice for compact terrain.
– has shallow densely packed knobs. (When riding on a hard surface it is important to rely on a rubber compound that is capable of offering ultimate performance even when the knobs are unable to sink into the terrain).
– the tread blocks are close together for faster rolling
– the slim and low knobs create friction-based grip and to do this the tyres job is to adapt to the ground shape.
– is made up of small, densely packed knobs and is made with a rubber compound that guarantees grip, high adaptability to the terrain and, at the same time, resistance to wear.
– the height of the knobs has been reduced to limit deformation when cornering on terrain that doesn’t allow penetration, guaranteeing excellent handling as well as a great sense of security.
– the larger the tyre, the larger the side clamps, but the center ones are very close