Not to be confused with the tackier, racier Race model, the Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M is the brand's mixed conditions trail and enduro mountain bike tyre. In many cases, this tyre hits the markers and should provide excellent and reliable traction through a range of scenarios while rolling surprisingly efficiently. However, its window of excellent traction is comparatively slim and its casing can feel rather harsh.
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Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M - Technical details
The Scorpion Enduro M sits in Pirelli’s recently refreshed range of mountain bike tyres and beneath the S, which is built for soft terrain. It uses a mid-sized tread profile that’s somewhat tightly packed and should make for a top rear tyre when paired with the S.
They come in cheaper than the impressive Scorpion Race Enduro M variant I tested a little while ago but there are some differences – the most obvious being the shoulder knobs that alternate as opposed to running in a straight line. The rubber compound is also a little harder and uses Pirelli’s interesting single-compound design throughout the tread. The benefit is that the chemical grip should stay consistent as the tyre wears. This tyre also sits rounder on the rim.
The Enduro M benefits from the ProWALL carcass, while also available in HardWALL. The former (on test) gets enhanced sidewall protection for resistance against pinch flats and to boost support at low pressures. It then boasts extra protection from an extra layer of nylon for even more stability when cornering and puncture resistance. This tyre has a 60tpi construction.
HardWALL ups the protection even more by gracing the tyre with a hard rubber insert above the bead.
Available in 27.5 x 2.6in, 29 x 2.4 and 29 x 2.6, our 29 x 2.6in is claimed to weigh in at 990g.
Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M - Performance
Inflating the Enduro M on both ends of the bike was an absolute breeze and seated without issue. I’ve been running these tyres with the Reynolds Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro wheelset that comes with a 30mm internal width and even still, the tyres sit with a pronounced round profile (this is rather refreshing given the number of new tyres that are popping up on the market come squarer).
This round profile does two things in practice which come as a considerable benefit of this tyre. First off, it reduces rolling resistance, resulting in a tyre that’s surprisingly easy to pedal about, given its weight, reinforced build and softer compound.
This character makes for a tyre that’s born for the bike park as it’s eager to corner but without giving up an inch of grip through the berms and undulations.
Performance does translate very well through to natural trails but, where tracks like these are unpredictable by their very nature, the limitations of that round profile start to show through. It’s in damp off-camber sections where the Enduro M doesn’t cling with quite the tenacity of squarer profiled tyres, which is understandable and, perhaps, furthers my argument for a Race Enduro M-style tread pattern with SmartGRIP Gravity rubber compound.
Speaking of compounds, I’m a fan of SmartGRIP Gravity. It’s a much more stable rubber than the SmartGRIP compound tested on the earlier Pirelli Scorpion Enduro S. At speed, it’s confident and it tracks very well, keeping the wheels pointed where intended. Its rate of wear is appreciable too as after a few months of testing, riding bike parks and my favourite home trails, clear signs of wear are yet to set in.
Braking performance is appreciable. Some tyres perform better on the brakes but the Enduro Ms provide plenty of bite and control.
As a tyre that’s designed for mixed conditions, it gets pretty interesting. It’s very much a jack of all trades, master of none but when it’s working within a certain window, it’s damn good. As the moisture level in the trail fluctuates, the Enduro M hardly misses a beat, summoning up all the traction you could need. However, it’s when the conditions get damper and dryer that the tyre starts to get unpredictable.
Rolling through wetter patches of soft trail, the tyre is very quick to break traction owing to its mid-sized tread profile. Often, such sections are easy to avoid but doing so can break flow, and it can get a little frightening as the front wheel slips momentarily through small patches of wet slop. In bone-dry conditions, grip under braking begins to suffer, especially at the rear of the bike, where the tyre is keen to lock up and throw the rear of the bike sideways. These are at the more extreme ends of the trail dampness scale but tyres such as the Maxxis Assegai tend to cope with such situations more confidently. Regardless, the Enduro M’s ability to clear mud is without fault.
Pirelli’s efforts to protect the tyre through cool inserts in the sidewalls and similar tech haven’t gone unnoticed. I’ve bottomed out the tyre multiple times to the point where I was certain that I’ve cracked a rim (big up Reynolds) only to find that both rim and tyre have completely shrugged off the impact. It’s made me wonder why an even burlier carcass would be needed but it’ll be appreciated by those who ride much harder than I do.
But due to the tyre’s enhanced protection, the casing isn’t as plush or compliant as others. It’s a trade-off but, when tackling consistently jagged terrain, arm pump can become a problem. Some tyres offer more compliance with similar levels of protection, however.
Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M - Verdict
The £65 price tag on this Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M makes entry into the Pirelli ecosystem more affordable and makes it a very viable option against the tyre giants, Maxxis and Schwalbe which both offer great tyres but for more money. And given the grip-to-wear resistance that it offers, it’s a wise investment.
But there are cheaper tyres out there that work better in a wider range of conditions, such as WTB’s Verdict. At £55, it rolls well and provides better traction under braking but grip isn’t as consistent throughout the width of the tread.
An extra fiver will get you a 2.5in Maxxis Assegai with similar EXO+ protection and a softer 3C MaxxGrip compound. This tyre makes the Pirelli a bit tougher to justify because it offers better performance in wetter and dryer conditions while providing a similar level of predictability when cornering for not much more money. Its rubber compound will wear faster and roll slower, however.
If consistent grip and longevity are what you look for in a trail to enduro-focused tyre, the Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M is a very worthy option. The predictability, hard-wearing compound and puncture protection are out of the top drawer.