Last Updated on: August 17, 2023
The first set of Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR went into the bin and a second set came on. Here are some (more) reflections.
Yeah I chose them again for my KTM 890 Adventure. And there are some good reason for that. Reasons not all would agree on. That is how it should be. Everyone is different, have different preferences, riding style, different motorcycles and not the least, different needs.
I have my reasons. Now at ca 14.500 kilometers with these tires, and the second set, I don’t regret it at all. But there are some downsides. Downsides not everyone might like, or tolerate. I’ll come back to these “issues”.
Scorpion Rally STR first set
The rear lasted around 10 000 kilometers. The front tire could have lasted longer. Speculations of course, but maybe more like 12.500 or 13.000 kilometers. Changing tire(s) is, for those of us not doing it ourselves, about practicality. About timing. And about how many visits to a workshop you want.
The rear was still usable at ca 10.000. If I had to ride for another couple of thousand kilometers I would. But with less sense of safety, whether on pavement, especially wet, on gravel or dirt, or offroad. I’d be less adventurous to put it that way.
Some say that factory supplied or OEM set of tires have around 20% less rubber on them. I got that information from someone who’s friend worked for a major tire manufacturer. Whether this is true or not I don’t know for sure. It could look as if the first set had less pattern depth than the second. But I never put them side by side.
Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR is in my honest opinion an ideal tire for mid-size adventure motorcycles. When and if you ride alternatively, on and off-pavement. Directionally stable, plenty of bite, side stability, great handling on wet surfaces, there are many upsides with them.
For sure, there are way better offroad tires to get. Way better pavement or road tires available. But there aren’t many better, or equally good, tires for mixed riding. However, when current tires have done their job it might be time to try something new. We shall see.
Second set on, more reflections
Anyone who rides a motorcycle knows the feeling. Regardless of tire type. It’s almost as if you’re on a new motorcycle. In few circumstances can a new set of “shoes” make something feel as different as it does on a motorcycle.
So also with the second set of Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR. Same feeling, of stability, predictability, of safety. Same feeling of being able to toss at them whatever. Some has said these tires don’t work well on soft surfaces. That they slide sideways if you ride in mud. I’ve just ridden a little bit in mud with the STR.
But I have ridden on spongy, soft and wet ground types. On moss, grass, mixed with rocks and dirt, single tracks with variable conditions. On deep loose dirt with gravel, rocks and whatever else was in the mix. The Scorpion Rally STR second have handled it all very well.
Another thing is that these tires warm up quickly. This is rather critical where I live, and in every country with variable climate, cold weather during spring and autumn.
Scorpion Rally STR downsides
Even if it might sound as if I’m singing the praise of these tires, there are downsides. Aprilia, Yamaha and KTM among others equip their new mid-size adventure motorcycles with this tire. But not on bigger adventure models.
Some find this tire (too) noisy. And they do “sing”. How much, and how this singing or noise manifests itself, depends on the motorcycle. Weight and pressure definitely have something do with it. More weight and downforce = more noise. That and speed. On my bike most of the noise comes from the rear and not the front. Or, that’s what it feels like.
I always ride with custom moulded ear plugs. Even if just on a short ride. Done so for years. You only got one set of ears. Sustained noise will impact hearing. On longer rides, maybe with iPods and noise cancelling. Because I want some entertainment. Noise cancelling will significantly reduce tire noise. Whether from a Scorpion Rally STR set, or any other.
The singing does not bother me, I consider it a minor downside.
Then there are vibrations. 50/50 or 60/40 tires will mean noticeable vibrations, especially at certain speeds. For some this can create sense of discomfort. How the vibration is being transferred, will depend on the motorcycle, suspension, seat and seat padding. And your own “padding”.
Personally, yet without having used the Scorpion Rally STR on real long trips, like down into Europe, I don’t think it’ll be a problem. 500-600 kilometers of mixed riding is fine. But that’s me. Others might find them too vibey.
Be wary of bouncy front
One more thing. Those who ride a motorcycle with 21″ front wheel knows this for a fact. Large front wheels are sensitive with regards to tire symmetry. Many experience issues with hopping or bouncing. Especially at lower speeds. When I got the second set of Scorpion Rally STRs I had to go back. The front tire caused bouncing or hopping.
The issue was acknowledged by my dealer. They changed it under warranty. The new was all fine. So likely a production fault. Be quick to report it back to your supplier if you experience the same.
So there we have it. No need for me to write more about this tire ever (well maybe).
Edit August 17th
Well well, here we are again, there was forgot to mention. When it comes to noise experience, besides of what’s already discussed above, wheel dimensions obviously may play a part too. My former bike, a 2019 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S I felt there was less noise, and less vibrations than on the current. This bike has 19″ front/17″ rear, whereas the 890 has 21″ front / 18″ rear.
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