FOR AD­VEN­TURE BIKES $125.54–$196.74 FRONT $145.58–$216.74 REAR

Dirt Rider - - Tested - —Seiji Ishii

Ad­ven­ture bikes place in­cred­i­bly wide de­mands on tires—road and off-road miles, both loaded with gear and un­loaded. Wear and dura­bil­ity are real concerns for those on ex­tended trips in far-off lands where re­place­ments may be im­pos­si­ble to ob­tain. Pirelli ad­dresses th­ese needs with its Dot-ap­proved Scor­pion Rally tires.

The most no­tice­able thing on the Scor­pion Rally rear tire is the short­ness of the cen­ter knobs (11mm tall) com­pared to other rear rally tires. The rear tire ex­cels in softer ter­rain and per­forms bet­ter in mud than other ad­ven­ture-bike-tar­geted tires. Sand and loamy dirt are what this tire wants to eat, ea­gerly dig­ging in dur­ing both ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing. Putting the tire on edge in the soft stuff also yields great re­sults.

Un­for­tu­nately, as good as the rear tire per­forms in th­ese con­di­tions, it strug­gles on hard­packed dirt and gravel. Hard-based dirt roads with gravel on top ex­poses the weak­nesses of this tire, the rear want­ing to slide side­ways when de­cel­er­at­ing, even without the use of brakes. The tire also drifts side­ways un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion and spins on the cen­ter knobs if start­ing from a stand­still on rock slabs. Air­ing down to the mid-20 psi range does help but also raises fears of pinch flat­ting a tube. High­way man­ners of the Scor­pion Rally rear tire are fine, but when loaded with travel gear, the cen­ter knobs vis­i­bly wear quickly (a lot of this due to the shorter start­ing point). Wet roads re­quired cau­tion as the feel be­came vague, es­pe­cially un­der brak­ing.

The Scor­pion Rally front tire was a wel­come rev­e­la­tion, per­form­ing well in all types of ter­rain. Al­though no per­for­mance area was spec­tac­u­lar, it worked well across a myr­iad of con­di­tions en­coun­tered while ad­ven­ture rid­ing. Hard­pack, gravel, sand, loam, and even mud didn’t deter this front tire, al­ways feel­ing pre­dictable. Both straight-line brak­ing and trail brak­ing are de­void of any sur­prises. Ag­gres­sive lean an­gles (for an ad­ven­ture bike) can push the front, and the break­ing point is abrupt, but th­ese sit­u­a­tions on an ad­ven­ture ride are rare. Tar­mac man­ners were in line with min­i­mal squirm­ing, but sim­i­lar to the rear Scor­pion Rally, wet­ness di­min­ished road feel both dur­ing brak­ing and on lean.

Nei­ther front nor rear tire suf­fered a punc­ture, side­wall tear, pinch flat, or chunk­ing dur­ing the 2,000-plus-mile, roughly 50/50 dirt and road test­ing pe­riod (photos are at the end of this pe­riod). Test­ing in­cluded both heav­ily loaded multi-day tour­ing and un­loaded day trips. Air pres­sure var­ied from 26 to 35 psi, de­pend­ing on sur­face, ter­rain, and loads. The rear tire cen­ter knobs show the nor­mal quick­est rate of wear; the front tire wear sug­gests that it can eas­ily last through two rears.

The Pirelli Scor­pion Rally is a wel­come ad­di­tion to the Do­tap­proved tires avail­able for the two-wheeled ad­ven­turer. The rear is best suited for those ven­tur­ing out on mostly softer parts of the planet, while the front is a great al­laround choice. PIRELLI.COM OR CON­TACT YOUR LO­CAL DEALER


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