Pirelli have been chucking a lot of effort and time trying to put their recent range of rubber on their best mountain bike tires and MTB trail tires. The latest versions get a softer compound that definitely helps grip in wet/cold conditions and they're faster rolling than they look. Durability is good too and ProWALL and HardWALL options provide a useful pedal/protection split. The stiff carcass makes them a harsh ride in the rough.
Design and construction
After less than positive feedback from reviewers and other users riding in colder, wetter conditions, Pirelli have significantly softened the SmartGRIP Gravity rubber compound. Just because it’s called ‘Gravity’ don’t expect it to be equivalent to Maxxis MaxxGrip, it’s more of a shift from the XC MaxxSpeed mix to all round MaxxTerra style stick. If you want proper sticky then you need to look at the Enduro Race tires with SmartEvo DH grip. There are extra reinforced e-bike spec tires too.
You’ve also got several tread options on the Scorpion Enduro now, but we’re concentrating on the S (Soft conditions) and the M (Mixed). Both look pretty similar with an alternating tall ‘arrow-ish’ knob format with slight ramping on the front face. The M gets intermediate knobs between the centre and shoulder tread and full sipe cuts across the knobs compared to a small top slot on the S blocks.
Both tires are available in ProWALL and HardWALL versions which are 200g heavier on average. That's because the HardWALL uses a full wrap of unspecified ‘protection’ textile and butyl reinforcement above the rim, while ProWALL only has the protective layer up to the shoulder tread and no butyl.
While the M is available in 27.5 x 2.6 and 29 x 2.4 and 2.6in sizes, it only comes in basic blackwall. The S is available in 27 x 2.4in too as well as ‘Race’ style with signature Pirelli yellow graphics or the retro look ‘Classic’ brown wall tested here.
The stiffness of the carcass is obvious when you’re fitting even on the ProWALL, so have your tire levers ready even if you’ve got iron thumbs. Once persuaded on though they seal and inflate easily with a solid snap into place. At 59mm/2.3in, the S ProWALL and HardWALL Classic are within spitting distance of the claimed 2.4in size, while the M HardWALL only blew up to 56mm/2.2in on the same internal rim width.
Unsurprisingly, that highlights what’s already a harsh and clattery ride when you start slapping into square edge rocks or even just roots and stutter jank. While it’s more pronounced on the wrap reinforced HardWALL as you’d expect, the ProWALL I ran on the front still felt like I’d added a big twist of low-speed compression damping to the fork. Even at below 20psi, the Scorpions still have a definite sting too and that’s literally the same feedback we had from the previous generation of these tires.
If you can handle the harsher ride and significantly more suspension bottom out than normal, then they are very fast across the ground in the same way as a harder compression tune can be. The carcass stays stable and airtight even at super low pressures too and I had decent puncture proofing results from long term use of the previous gen.
The other positive news is that it didn’t feel like I was rolling bad dice every time the trail got wet or cold either. Even with the lack of compliance and ‘ground molding’ from the carcass the Scorpions, I worked towards a mutual trust that things would turn out OK most of the time. Not gluey and forgiving like the Specialized Hillbilly I’ve been swapping between, but enough to keep up a decent speed down wet, rocky woodland descents where I’d no idea what was buried under the leaves and not get caught out too many times. The relatively deep and gappy tread worked well back when things were loamy and loose rather than soggy, so in terms of grip they’re a decent all-rounder now.
I couldn’t feel any palpable difference in pace between the S or M treads though. I didn’t get enough dry rock to play on to see if the more extensive siping was obvious there, but it didn’t in intermediate/slower speed situations.
Pirelli’s latest generation Scorpion tires are significantly grippier right across the wetness/heat range. They’re still only average not amazing in the wet and cold, but if dry, dusty and hot are your normal conditions they'll definitely suit. Similarly the percussive harshness of the ride feel – particularly the HardWALL versions – won’t suit fans of damped ‘stiction’ or plush comfort. It does make them much quicker rolling than you’d expect from looking at the tread though and they’re safe, stable and durable even at low pressures.
Tech specs: Scorpion Enduro S & M 2022 mountain bike tires
- Price: $89.90 / £64.99 - £69.99
- Sizes: 27.5 x 2.4 and 2.6, 29 x 2.4 and 2.6
- Options: HardWALL, ProWALL
- Colors: blackwall, 'Classic' brown wall and 'Race'
- Weight: 29 x 2.4in Enduro S ProWALL 940g, 29 x 2.6in, Enduro M HardWALL 1180g