Pirelli Collection: 10 of the Best Tyres from Pirelli

The best bang for your buck when it comes to performance upgrades is likely a new set of tyres. We’ve ridden and picked a handful of the best options for South African terrain.


Cross-Country

10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
Image: Trek-Pirelli

10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
The Prowall casing (shown) has an additional layer in the sidewall for protection.

Scorpion XC H

29 x 2.2 | 29 x 2.4

The fastest roller of the Pirelli XC range and a popular option for racing snakes. The ‘H’ has tightly packed knobblies that are very low in profile. This tread pattern maximizes rolling speed and is perfect for hardpack terrain (aka: a lot of what SA has) in wet and dry conditions. Used as a front or rear, the H is available in a 2.2 Lite casing with minimal protection, or a 2.2 / 2.4 Prowall for more technical race tracks. Weights vary from 640 to 800grams. RECOMMENDATION: Go with the 2.2 Lite if you ride on smooth trails like Hilton, Knysna and a fair portion of Jozi.


10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
The go-to for World Cup XCO athletes.

Scorpion XC RC

29 x 2.2 | 29 x 2.4

Your no-compromise race option for all conditions and all tracks. The XC RC is available in a Lite or Prowall version with the latter offering just a little more protection which is ideal for rougher race tracks. The close spacing and low-profile center knobblies maximize rolling speed whilst the beefier shoulder tread will help you corner with confidence. Weights vary between 610g and 700g.


10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
Marathon or Down-Country versatility.

Scorpion XC M

29 x 2.2 | 29 x 2.4

When conditions vary. Expecting a little rain, soft terrain, hard terrain or even a little loam on the train?l Then the ‘M’ is your go-to XC setup. This all-condition race (or training) option works well as a front or rear setup and, in the Prowall version, will handle just about anything that pops up on the trail. RECOMMENDATION: The 2.4 is a ‘fast-as-hell’ Down-Country setup that we found surprisingly robust.


Trail & Enduro & eMTB

10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
Image: Gary Perkin

10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
Ideal for loose trails – dry or wet.

Scorpion Trail S

27.5 x 2.4 | 29 x 2.4

Dropping into soft trails (wet or dry) and searching for maximum grip and confidence then the Scorpion ‘S’ is a winner. Taller knobblies with wide spacing ensure a solid bite into soft terrain to minimize drifting and help you carry speed. The Trail S features Pirelli’s Prowall carcass with weights of 870 and 950grams – depending on which wheel size you run. RECOMMENDATION: The carcass is very robust so lower your pressures to further improve performance.


10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
Fast-rolling, high-volume shredder.

Scorpion Enduro M

27.5 x 2.4 | 27.5 x 2.6 | 29 x 2.6

Looking for a fast-rolling, big volume gravity tyre with a carcass that’ll handle anything your local run chucks at you? This is it. Shorter knobblies are reinforced with a bridge structure to prevent squirming. We found they shed mud pretty well. RECOMMENDATION: This is a strong tyre – so drop those pressures to improve performance AND it’s a great option for those lighter (sub 20kg) eMTB’s.


10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
Virtually indestructible.

Scorpion eMTB S

27.5 x 2.6 | 29 x 2.6

Looking for the strongest eMTB specific option on the market? Well, this could just be it. Pirelli has developed an eMTB specific sidewall (Hyperwall) that we feel is virtually indestructible. This Soft terrain iteration offers incredible climbing traction, braking performance and corner grip. Whilst the tread pattern is designed for softer terrain – strangely enough, it performed well across a variety of conditions.


Road

10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
Image: Troy Davies

10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
The featherweight World Tour race tyre.

P Zero Race

700 x 26c or 28c

Available in black or classic sidewalls, this is one of the tubeless tyres regularly used on the World Tour. Pirelli has found a way to reinforce the tyre without adding weight and has refined the compound to perform in wet and dry conditions. Weights start at a mere 205grams. RECOMMENDATION: If you go tubeless, optimize your marginal gains by using less sealant as the PZero’s seat and seal brilliantly.


10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
Wallet-friendly, regular tubed clincher.

P7 Sport

700 x 24c, 26c, 28c and 32c

A derivative of the P Zero Race, the P7 is a fit-and-forget everyday training or endurance option. At 250grams it’s still pretty light and what’s more – it’s light on the finances too. The sipes are designed for a little extra bite in chilly conditions.


10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
A long-lasting all-road tubeless option.

Cinturato Velo

700 x 24c, 26c, 28c, 32c and 35c

An all-road, tubeless tyre suitable for racing, training or long-distance adventuring. The Cinturato has impressive flat-resistant properties and despite its versatility is no slouch on the tarmac. Tubeless installation is easy peasy and you won’t need much sealant either. Weights start at 280grams. Did you see our comparison VIDEO on tubes Vs tubeless?


Gravel

10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
Image: Gary Perkin

10 best bicycle tyres from Pirelli
The gravel staple.

Cinturato Gravel H

650b 45 or 50 | 700 x 35c, 40c, 45c

Most of SA’s gravel riding is done on compact surfaces – the stuff that the Cinturato ‘H’ was built for. Short, closely packed knobblies, with a compound set for wet or dry conditions, contribute to a smooth ride with excellent grip. Plus, the contact patch is a decent size which improves climbing traction on those sketchy, steep roads to nowhere. Weights start at 435grams and yes, it’s tubeless.