The Pirelli Scorpion XC RC Team Edition 2.4 tire boasts a 10 percent wider footprint than the Scorpion XC RC 2.2 but utilizes the same low and fast-rolling center block formation that transitions to wider shoulder lugs. The extra girth promises improved grip and cornering speed thanks to the ability to run super-low tire pressure but this has done little to affect rolling performance.
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The carcass construction takes on the same blueprint as the narrower XC RC tires with a supple 120tpi casing and SmartGrip rubber compound. Like many of the best XC tires, it can be had in two sidewall options: Lite and ProWall. As the nomenclature suggests, the Lite foregoes any kind of protection to minimize weight and maximize speed, while the ProWall incorporates another layer of woven-nylon at the sidewalls for extra protection against cuts and punctures. I tested them in various trail conditions to put the casing and tread to the test.
The Pirelli Scorpion XC RC is available in one size only (29-inch) but two widths: 2.2- and 2.4in. The latter adds 50g over the lighter 2.2in tire. On my scales the 2.4in Scorpions weighed in at 748g a pop. The Pirelli Scorpion XC RC Team Edition 2.4 are distinguishable by way of the yellow Pirelli and Scorpion wordmark logo on the sidewalls, which double up as a distinctive and aesthetically pleasing color play – especially when looking at the somewhat duller options out there.
The Scorpion XC RC’s tread layout has been designed to work best in dry conditions and naturally excelled when put to the test at the loose and dusty Minley Manor trails. Since that race, I’ve used them in muddier conditions and have come away mighty impressed with their all-round ability. The tire itself has been optimized to play best with internal rim widths of 30mm but still paired well with my Bontrager Kovee Elite 23mm carbon rims.
When it came to this particular tire design, Pirelli called upon its decades worth of experience in motocross and rally to come up with the SmartGrip compound. The result is a tire that benefits from both puncture resistance and all-weather grip properties. As a result, the Scorpion XC RC is pretty adept at riding in varied conditions: dry, loose and wet terrain included. While most of my testing was relegated to dry and grippy trails – conditions best suited to the tread pattern – it managed just fine in the wet and didn't clog up entirely. This however, is obviously dependent on just how sloppy things are but in the mild, northern hemisphere colder season conditions, it will manage just fine in the mud.
The fast-rolling center-tread pattern delivers exceptional straight line speed. Even up steep, punchy climbs the Pirellis deliver – thanks to the huge traction afforded by running lower tire pressures. The wider shoulder lugs come into their own when things get more sinuous, delivering feelsome cornering grip. Flick it into a corner and the tire bites hard – you can feel it gripping, sometimes even hear the shoulder lugs as they fight for traction – which allows you to push harder and faster.
In fact, for a tire as wide and heavy as the Pirelli Scorpion XC RC Team Edition 2.4, they are as responsive as more lighter rubber options such as the Vittoria Mezcal and Bontrager XR2 Team Issue.
The Pirelli Scorpion XC RC Team Edition 2.4 tires prove wider doesn’t necessarily have to be slower. The exceptional traction benefits afforded by running lower pressures – something that has even greater potential on wider rims – far outweighs the benefits of lighter tires. At 748g a piece, it might not be the lightest or cheapest XC tire on the market but it is the most complete. If you’re looking to improve your cornering speed without sacrificing climbing efficiency, you can’t go wrong with the Pirelli Scorpion XC RC. That said, if the Team Edition 2.4 is too wide or heavy for your liking the regular and lighter 2.2in version is a worthy alternative.
Tech Specs: Pirelli Scorpion XC RC Team Edition 2.4
- Price: $90 / £60 / €74
- Wheel size (inches): 29-inch
- Compound: Dual Compound
- Carcass: ProWall
- Dimensions: 2.4in
- Weight: 748g (29 x 2.40)