Pirelli Scorpion XC RC mtb Tyre 2.2
Mountain bikes have become too comfortable and too safe. To a large extent, the clever people who design these awesome pieces of engineered excellence have taken away a large proportion of that element of “whoa” and “whey hey”, and “how the hell did I stay saddle up there!” Yes, all of the frame technology and superb dampening, the scientifically worked out geometry and the super light wheels and grippy tyres have made the importance of line choice a lost art. Thinking this needed some adjustment, we decided to put a set of latest Pirelli race ready Scorpion tyres on our test bikes this year. Not only did we choose their super fast and flighty, Scorpion XC RC, but we then went for the 2.2 widths – just to add a bit more spice. True to form, the Orbea Oiz XC bike that we ran these tyres on, became an unleashed trail beast that required careful handling, and took us back to those halcyon days where flat pedals on a hard tail taught you the necessary skills of controlling the rear triangle through the pedals.
Release the Hounds
Most modern full suspension trail bikes will be kitted out with 2.4 or 2.6 tyres. Add to this that they’re also heavy on the tread pattern, then you can see why they’re usually super secure. However, by adding the Pirelli Scorpion XC RCs to the bikes here in the Dales and Moors of Yorkshire, we lightened the bike and added a drop or two of white lightening to the fun meter.
Now, when you’re running tubeless or any other tyre, how many of you peeps out there, check the tyre pressure based on ride conditions? Very few of you, I imagine. When you ride in the changeable conditions of the northern National Parks, it becomes routine to check this, as it can make a huge difference. Running these tyres on the hard packed trails, where the tight single track required quick reactions, the tyres ate into the ground and spat it out with venom, allowing us to race along at a rapid rate. Yes, there was an air of “whoa” every now and then, but that’s racing – and, it is after all an adventure sport. The lightness of this tyre and thinner carcass really does improve rider feel and adds to the fun.
Get a grip please
However, when we went for the soggy ground test, across the higher fells, the shorter tread pattern and the widely spaced and small knobs, whilst maintaining their shape, did very little to get us through the mud soup. Yes, it was quite evident that these are a tyre for hard-packed surfaces, and speedy riding on the edge of your saddle – which I guess is exactly what the tyre is designed for. Even over rocks and roots, the tyre compound and tread maintained its shape and grip and allowed me to ride confidently, with just that edge of excitement added. And so, if this is your style of riding, even in winter, then it’s the perfect addition to your own bike. However, it’s a tyre that doesn’t like the gloop – and in truth, neither do I.
Remember, this is a tyre made for the worlds top XC riders, and designed with their input. The Scorpion™ XC RC is designed for the racer who seeks the best performance in all racing conditions while pushing beyond their limits – even me, despite my age!
The Scorpion™ XC RC tread pattern has been designed together with XCO World Cup athletes: giving a low profile, those necessary thick central knobs that offer minimal rolling resistance, while higher lateral knobs allow fast cornering control – and yes, I found this time after time on the hard packed and rocky trails. It’s definitely a tread design with no compromises, which is what mountain biking is all about. If you’d like to ride a Mustang instead of a Donkey, then get the Pirelli Scorpion XC RC fitted and enjoy the ride. Better still, make it a Mustang with some serious issues, and fit the 2.2 – you won’t regret it!