Despite their go-nearly-anywhere capabilities, most adventure bikes are used for commuting, some weekend travel and even touring. Very few contemporary ADV owners ride much off-road—in fact, most are spending the majority of their time on pavement, which can eat through tires like Joey “Jaws” Chestnut attacking a pile of Nathan’s Hot Dogs.
First introduced about eight years ago at the onset of ADV bikes’ surging popularity, Pirelli’s Scorpion Trail has been one of the more popular replacement tires because it’s better suited to pavement than stock rubber, while still offering some dirt road capability. Meanwhile, in 2014, Pirelli introduced the Angel GT, a sport-touring tire with more of an emphasis on touring than sport, boasting higher weight capacity through sturdier sidewalls and extended tire life.
Which brings us to Pirelli’s latest offering for ADV bikes, the Scorpion Trail II, a next-generation sport-touring tire Pirelli R&D Designer Piero Masani described as a combination of the Angel GT and the Scorpion Trail. “It’s not an evolution, but a revolution,” Masani told the crowd of journalists assembled at Motorcyclepedia, a motorcycle museum in Newburgh, New York, about an hour north of Manhattan. The Trail II takes the pavement-friendly attributes of the Scorpion Trail and combines them with the high-mileage traits of the Angel GT to create a touring tire with sporty characteristics designed for adventure bikes that can, but rarely do, go off-road. Got it?
Like the Angel GT, the Trail II features a 6-percent shorter and 10-percent wider footprint than the previous Scorpion that helps to reduce and level the wear of the tread, ensuring greater mileage without decreasing grip. In fact, Pirelli claims the Trail II improves mileage over its predecessor by an astounding 50 percent. High-angle side grooves create optimal drainage with low noise, while the short, longitudinal central grooves ensure better lateral traction and support, greater stability and reduced, more-regular wear. The new Scorpion also features a new side compound designed to optimize the balance between grip and performance on both wet and dry roads. Interestingly, the sidewall has a dedicated customization area suitable for personalization with a wide range of options including fonts, colors, banners and logos. Finally, the Pirelli Scorpion Trail II comes in a wide array of sizes, ranging from 17- to 21-inch diameters in front to 130-190 widths out back.
So how’s the ride? Smooth. Quiet. And confident, whether aggressively leaning or casually tooling, even with passenger and payload. With nimble steering manners, assured grip and plenty of feedback, these tires are more than ideal for any adventure bike, particularly those that spend most of their time on the road.
For more information: See your dealer or visit pirelli.com/tire/us/en/motorcycle