Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M Race tire review - could this be the big grip rubber you’ve been waiting for?

The latest version of Pirelli’s Scorpion Enduro tire finally delivers on the control and confidence they’ve been chasing

Pirelli Scorpion Enduro Race M
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

BikePerfect Verdict

Super sticky, unshakeably damped and outrageously confident but shockingly expensive, heavy, slow and an edge drifter not a sharp carver

Pros

  • +

    Super sticky dry grip

  • +

    Unshakeably damped high control carcass

  • +

    Decent clearing for dirty days

  • +

    Stable, comfortable and secure at low pressures

  • +

    Decent wear life and survivability

Cons

  • -

    Obscenely expensive

  • -

    Slow rolling

  • -

    Heavy

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Pirelli have finally delivered on their best enduro tire promises after several speedy but slippery, high energy Scorpion editions. You’ll pay heavily for ultimate control from the new Enduro M Race in rolling speed, acceleration and price though.

Pirelli Scorpion Enduro Race M

Big ramped lugs and big spaces in a super soft 42a top compound make the 'M' tread a versatile all weather all rounder (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Design and build

The latest Scorpion is based on a DualWALL carcass which uses two 120tpi (Threads Per Inch) skins with additional rubber reinforcement around the bead (bottom edge). It uses a new SmartEVO DH compound that Pirelli have been developing with their various pro enduro and DH race teams. This lays a very soft 42a compound over a harder base rubber.

The central tread of the ‘M’’ has definite Maxxis Assegai vibes with an alternating two, four arrangement with wide spaced slit (siped) and ramped blocks giving a vaguely directional arrowhead layout. The shoulder knobs are a regular rank of tall buttressed blocks with top sipes for easier deformation of the already soft compound.

The M only comes in 2.5in width but there are 27.5 and 29er versions which is what I tested here. Weight is quite variable (Mick on MBR had a 1323g sample, mine was 1362g) but either way it’s higher than claimed but comparable to a Maxxis Assegai in the same size and similar DD build. 

Pirelli Scorpion Enduro Race M

The Pirelli Scorpion Enduro Race M only comes in 2.5in and unlike a lot of undersized tires my sample actually measured 2.48in (63mm). That gives plenty of volume for comfortable chaos control  (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

Pirelli have always been very well behaved when it comes to fitting and the while it’s definitely sturdy the new Scorpion is still supple enough to pop onto every rim I tried without complaint or tools if you’re careful. Catch and inflation are instant and easy too and I’ve had no issues with burping or weeping while testing, even when running teen pressures.

It’s immediately clear that this is a very different tire to the first Scorpion Enduros which were kinetically very fast but had definite poltergeist tendencies when it came to slamming through travel, chucking bottles out of cages and flinging you off line on bikes that were normally totally calm. The combination of the new carcass and compound has performed a miraculous exorcism though and these new Scorpions are incredibly surefooted and controlled however hard you hit stuff. At 63mm wide on a 31.5mm internal width rim they’re accurately sized and they're impeccably damped and docile even in the most seismic situations. They’re also comfortable, forgiving and supple enough that you get plenty of nuance from the trail and your arms don't explode in rock gardens. A welcome relief after the numb harshness of Pirelli’s HardWALL Enduro tires.

The consistent top compound adds extra stiction and calm from dry through to damp and while the tread can’t quite a dedicated spike for dirty grip it’s fine for most wet/winter riding. It’s really predictable tire too, with a gradual grip to slip when pushed to the limit so while it doesn’t carve as hard as some options it’s more controllable when it does start to let go. 

While the M aren’t as crushingly slow as the T they are still obviously hard work on climbs - particularly on the road/fire road - or even just trying to hustle between turns. At basically $100 they’re hard work on your wallet too, although despite some deliberately hard use - particularly from Mick who took them for a full on week in the Alps - there’s no signs of tread or carcass damage yet. I like the fact the Race versions mean you get the classic yellow Pirelli motorsport graphics too.

There’s a more open ’S’ (Soft but think of that more in terms of loose and loamy rather than wet and sloppy) and ’T’ (Traction, with more obvious driving and braking bars for rear use) options on the same Scorpion Enduro Race carcass too if you’ve got the cash to collect the set. There’s a MUD tread as well but only on the DualWALL+ DH tire.

Pirelli yellow logo

The Race are painfully expensive but at least you get the proper Pirelli yellow logos (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

If you’re after ultimate mixed conditions Enduro control Pirelli have definitely delivered on their legendary motorsport potential with the Scorpion Enduro M Race. It’s got a gloriously grippy tread on an unshakeably controlled, comfortable and communicative carcass that’s brilliant for the most brutal riding. You are going to pay painfully for that confidence with your legs and wallet though.

Tech Specs: Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M Race tire

  • Price: $99.90 / £81.99 / €89.90
  • Sizes: 27.5 or 29 x 2.5in
  • Options: S and T tread options 
  • Weight: 1362g (29 x 2.5in)
Guy Kesteven
Technical-Editor-at-Large

Guy has been working on Bike Perfect since launch in 2019. He started writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.

Current rides: Cervelo ZFS-5, Specialized Chisel, custom Nicolai enduro tandem, Landescape/Swallow custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg