Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR review

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR is an adventure or dual sport tire that has gained a lot of traction. Why it has, well several reasons. For one thing, traction is very good. Traction in the market as well!

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR: gravel riding in Norway

October 2022: out in the forests on Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR

Those aren’t few, the bikes that come factory fresh with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR mounted, of late.

Think I’ll start this post with a phrasing I’ve used many times before. “It happened on a whim …”. When things happen on a whim, you might, just might, learn new things. Make choices you otherwise perhaps would not have made. This can be a good thing. And if not a good thing, well, you gain some experience, or knowledge. At least. Even if the experiment might cost a (pretty) penny.

When choices are few

Went to my dealer one day late September 2022. The TKC70s (see this post) were fast reaching the end. So also the season. I could have squeezed some more kilometers, or miles, out of them. Made them last for the remainder of the season. But likely at the expense of safety, control and comfort.

When you ride in the Nordics, or Norway specifically, temperatures can be low, at night, in the morning and afternoon. As a result pavement/asphalt is cold. And the time it takes for tires to heat up, much longer. Which effectively means the grip you had in higher temperature might be gone.

Add a mix of wetness, plus a soup of rotten leaves, and you get an unpleasant mix. Especially in curves. It quickly becomes a question of safety. And TKC70, in my experience, require more than other tires I’ve had, to warm up well.

So anyway, the dealer had nothing in stock that I wanted. They checked availability of adventure tires. Several of my preferences were unavailable even at distributors. But I could get a set of Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR. I’d read and seen many good reviews of those. So I thought well, lets try!

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR, first impression

Pirelli Rally Scorpion STR rear

Pirelli Rally Scorpion STR rear

Right at the beginning, the new tires felt very stable and different from Continental TKC70. Which at least on my 2019 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S felt wayward from day 1. Based on the thread pattern you’d easily be tempted to think they would be noisy. Not at all! That was the first thing to notice. They were quiet, even quieter than Michelin Anakee Adventure. Which is one of my favourites.

The Pirellis immediately felt grippy, even on cold surfaces. Having run them in it became a lot more apparent. The waywardness that had annoyed me with Continental TKC70 just wasn’t there. For the first couple of days I rode on various types of pavement. And in doing so grew more and more impressed. Cracks, unevenness, moist or slick pavement, they handled it all very well!

Pirelli Rally Scorpion STR front

Pirelli Rally Scorpion STR front

Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR on gravel & dirt

Finally there was an opportunity to get out on gravel and dirt. There’s a plethora of such roads not too far from where I live. Being early October the sun is low, which means that shaded places, like in woods, offered wet gravel & dirt. These tires are not considered to be ideal on muddy roads.

But on wet gravel and dirt they proved to work very well. By the way, on such roads, mounted on a large adventure motorcycle, both Michelin Anakee Adventure and Continental TKC70 also performs well. But I have to say, the Scorpions continued to impress me. I could ride with confidence, even at relatively high speed.

On wet gravel and dirt in the shadows

On wet gravel and dirt in the shadows

They stick well, and you get very good traction. Braking not an issue at all either. Over the course of the next few days I rode a series of different gravel & dirt roads. In temps ranging from +4 – +13C. Even under such conditions the tires warmed up pretty fast. And that was noticeable. Much more planted and grippy on wet pavement than Continental TKC 70 in my honest opinion.

Preliminary conclusion

I did around, or a little more than 1.500 kilometers on the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires before it was time to put “the orange” into winter storage. Didn’t get to test them under all weather conditions. However, the impressions are good. These tires are not for anyone who wants to go really hard offroad, or on muddy tracks. Then they will slide.

Late Autumn ride with a friend

Late Autumn ride with a friend. Metzeler Karoo Street on the Honda

But as an allround tire they are great. I can understand why Yamaha, KTM and Ducati (to mention some) put these on new bikes. There is a fine balance between pavement roads performance, and dirt/gravel. You can’t please everyone, nor make dual sport ideal for absolutely all conditions.

That said, I will not be troubled by continuing to ride on these. Whether on my current bike, or a new one.

For factory information see this page.


See also

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