Pirelli's new XCO-obsessed Scorpion XC RC tyre

Pirelli Scorpion XC RC MTB tyre
Pirelli's latest Scorpion is fast on the straights and secure in the corners (Image credit: Pirelli)

Pirelli has added more bite to its XC mountain bike range, with a new Scorpion tyre.

Although the current trend in XC tyre design is for wider treads and larger-volume casings, Pirelli’s engineers and designers have prioritised different outcomes with the Scorpion XC RC.

This new 29er tyre is purposed to deliver low-rolling resistance and optimal efficiency over off-road terrain. Instead of trending towards the newer 2.3- and 2.35in XC tyre sizes, Pirelli has opted for a narrower 2.2in casing.

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Shaped to work best with a 25mm internal diameter rim, Pirelli’s Scorpion XC RC is a dedicated racing tyre. Despite many XC carbon wheelsets now ranging up to nearly 30mm of internal diameter, Pirelli has remained committed to delivering a tyre which is appropriately sized for riders who value a low-mass wheelset above all else.

This new tyre’s casing was selected to optimise Pirelli’s Scorpion XC RC tread pattern, which was found to work best at 2.2in. Broadly similar to the Scorpion XC H and XC M tyres, the RC’s centre tread blocks are slightly lower in profile and distributed in tighter groupings.  

Pirelli has also ensured that the tyre’s edge blocks are adequate for the demands of modern XCO tracks, which is where it envisions the Scorpion XC RC to come into its own.

Riders will have option on two variants of the Scorpion XC RC. For those who are willing to sacrifice puncture resistance for lower mass, the Scorpion XC RC Lite, weighs only 610g. If you frequent technical trails and XCO tracks, littered with sniper roots and rocks, Pirelli offers the Scorpion XC RC with its ProWall reinforced casing, at 660g.

Like most XCO racing tyres the Scorpion XC RCs can be run front or rear and if sidewall graphics are important to you, there are ‘team’ variants too, with Pirelli’s iconic yellow branding. Pricing for the new Pirelli Scorpion XC RC is €59.90.

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for MBR.com, Off-Road.cc and Cycling News.