Pirelli's Scorpion 2.4" LITE range might be just the tyres that your down-country bike needs.
Why would I use Pirelli Scorpion 2.4 LITE anyway?
That's the $99.99 question - why try something new if you're used to the tyres you have anyway? Changing tyres and getting the right tyre pressures are one of the easiest and cheapest performance enhancements you can make.
When riding the Pirelli Scorpion 2.4 LITE range I mostly had dry conditions, but I rode a very wide range of soft, mixed and hard conditions. I did lots of hills, plenty of rock, and rode over plenty of sharp and pointy things. I rode on the road a bunch, and ran barely enough sealant according to any recommendations. I really liked how the 2.2" Scorpions rode last year, and used them at the tyre launch on the slopes of Mt Etna, at home, and even for some events near Forrest in Victoria. They never disappointed.
The 2.4" LITE options are perfect for those who want a larger tyre though, be it for rougher terrain, or just to have the larger contact patch. Pirelli have designed their casings to be more supportive, so using a digital pressure gauge and and the 2.4" LITE tyres could even be the answer to very supple suspension - using your tyre just as much as your fork or rear shock. 2.4" tyres really are an excellent choice between or beyond the tape.
I think PIrelli's strengths lie in three key areas - the casing, the rubber and the tread patterns.
The ProWall 120tpi casing is supple but strong, and best of all it has proven to be just about airtight. Pirelli call their tyres Tubeless Ready, and it's nice to have a tyre seal up so easily. In this case sealant will work on punctures, not to just keep air in there in the first place. The casing is also very supportive for a 120tpi casing. Some can be too soft, and not let you really run lower pressures for traction. I ran abou 1.5-2psi lower than I would in similar 2.4" tyres. I had no burps, no cuts, no leaks, no weird squirming.
The SmartGrip rubber is wearing exceptionally well. I don't have any big rock slabs to ride nearby (that I know of?) so while Ben and Ryan were left wanting something a little more tacky on the rock slabs of Canberra, I found the traction was excellent, especially with the wear rate. You can get fresh tyres for a lot less than $100, but if they don't last that long, or work that well, is it actually better value? I'd say probably not.
Lastly, I really like the tread patterns. When I first heard about the conditions specific range, I thought Pirelli were suggesting that you set yourself up with a Rear specific, plus one of each for the front. But maybe two Soft, Mixed and Hard as you can use them on the back and what if that suits your conditions?? Well, you could do that, and I'm sure people would.
But the idea is that you choose the models for how you ride most of the time - the concept is to make choosing the right tyre a whole lot more simple, and to pick one that actually suits you and your trails the best. The Mixed front and Hard rear are what I'm riding a lot now, although I really did like how burly the Rear was. The Mixed front and Hard rear is the combination I would pick for general XC/trail riding in my area.
But, if I knew I was hard on tyres then I'd stick with the Rear specific. If I was a little more talented about going fast, I would choose Hard front and rear. And if I was heading to Maydena on my Revolver again, I'd opt for the Soft on the front, Rear on the back, and pack a Mixed as a spare. That might also suit heading to Derby after Maydena as well, where the Mixed front would work better on all the rock.
The Pirelli Scorpion tread's performance windows have significant overlap with each other so you won't get caught out. I think Pirelli have done an excellent job with their Scorpion range, and I'm just as impressed with the 2.4 LITE options as I was with the 2.2 models.
Each tyre costs $99.99 and your shop can get them in from FE Sports. If you're keen to see more details about each model in the Pirelli Scorpion range, head to the FE Sports website.
If you're truly after something light and racey, then Pirelli also have the XC RC in 2.2" widths. They use the ProWall 120tpi casing with some extra 120tpi reinforcing. There is also a Lite model which does away with the extra sidewall protection, coming in at about 600g! I've got both of these fitted up on some wheels and will have a review coming for those as well.