Dual-sport and adventure-touring bikes are always A compromise. They tend to work better on the street or in the dirt, with hard riding on the less-favored surface becoming a test of one’s mettle and skills. Street-legal enduros are usually buzzy at speed, squirrely on pavement and have rock-hard saddles. Their more street-oriented brethren are usually heavy, less nimble off-road and vulnerable to damage in rough conditions.
Just as it is difficult to build a motorcycle that will do it all (well), it is no easier when it comes to making tires. When faced with the prospect of riding 2,000-plus miles on pavement and a couple hundred miles on gravel to, from and during the Firstgear Colorado motorcycle ride, I needed tires that would handle freeway mile-burning, canyon carving and light-duty off-road riding. The Suzuki V-Strom 650 has a 19-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear. The Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires, the latest addition to its Enduro Street tire line, fit 18-, 19- and 21-inch front wheels and 17-inch rears.
Pirelli uses a long pitch tread design to achieve good performance on and off road. The tread pattern is irregularly shaped, with large blocks that put down a stable contact patch and deep grooves that improve wet grip. Having more of a street bias, the radial carcass and zero-degree steel belt provide stability and smoothness at high speeds.
After being mounted and balanced at Howdy’s Cycle Sales in Ventura, California, the Scorpion Trail tires performed very well for the 2,600 miles I logged on the V-Strom 650. I comfortably cruised the freeway at speed and I railed through technical Colorado twisties with confidence. Coupled with the V-Strom’s ABS system, wet, slippery conditions were no problem. They also worked well on gravel roads with tight turns and irregular surfaces.
For the heavier V-Strom 1000 perspective (bike, not the rider), Rider former Publisher Jim Hansen shared his experience: I found myself impressed with these new-age “semi” off-road/on-road tires. The Scorpion Trails had me convinced that Pirelli has developed a really good tire for adventure bikes–one that demonstrates excellent on-road performance while making the heavy V-Strom more sure-footed on easy dirt roads. The unique tread pattern gathers more than a few second looks from fellow riders as they combine a sportbike profile mixed with deeper treads.
If you are ready for new tires for your adventure-touring machine, check Pirelli’s website to see if they have your bike’s sizes. Retail price is $155.95-$184.95 front and $203.95 rear.
For more information: See your dealer or visit www.us.pirelli.com