Trail II Review

Dec 30, 2015 View Comments by

Pirelli’s new SCORPION Trail II tire lineup is designed for the latest generation of adventure touring and enduro street motorcycles and is a direct successor of the previous SCORPION Trail series. They were developed for models such as the Aprilia Caponord, BMW R 1200 GS, Ducati Multistrada, Honda Crosstourer (VFR1200X in the U.S. market), Kawasaki Versys, KTM Adventure, Suzuki V-Strom, Triumph Tiger, and Yamaha Super Ténéré. These models are increasingly being purchased by riders who strictly use their bikes on-road but, if necessary, may also face stretches of dirt and light off-road riding.

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These machines are powerful and tend to quickly “chew up” knobby tires on the road, wearing them out quickly and getting less than ideal performance in their typical environment, which is mostly pavement. The new SCORPION Trail II is best suited for bikes used primarily on-road and provide high mileage and consistent performance, with excellent wet grip. According to the Pirelli folks, the open tread pattern creates good handling, comfort, and grip in all riding conditions including dirt, along with stability at high speeds. The tires are intended to tackle even long journeys, yet be capable of handling unpaved surfaces.
This market segment for sporty street tires, which have some dirt capability, was perhaps born when Ducati introduced the first Multistrada, a machine destined for serpentine mountain roads and even racing up Pikes Peak. Partnering with Ducati on that project, Pirelli developed the SCORPION Sync in 120/70-17 and 180/55-17 sportbike sizes.
The first generation SCORPION Trail range featured a dual-compound tread only on the wide 190/55-17 size. Pirelli states that it was the first company to use a dual-compound rubber in enduro street tires. This was the beginning of a new era of street enduro motorcycles such as Ducati’s Multistrada 1200. Today, the company applies this technology to all of the rear tires in the SCORPION Trail II lineup.
Pirelli decided to create tires with more on-road performance, but an off-road look, with particular attention to handling prowess on pavement. The SCORPION Trail II profiles are derived directly from those used in the company’s Angel GT sport-touring line.
pirelli tires_Set isometricSCORPION Trail II’s tread pattern has a more aggressive look than a typical street tire and combines features of a dirt tire with those of a sport-touring one. The side grooves of the new SCORPION Trail II are said to be for quick evacuation of water in case of rain, while the layout and “binary open” shape of the central grooves not only assists in water drainage, but also ensures better traction, greater stability, and more regular wear. Compared to the first gen SCORPION Trail, the new gen two tire has a wider center section, which employs a compound intended for higher mileage, without compromising cornering performance. The side compound finds the optimum balance between performance on dry and wet roads.
A shorter, wider contact patch area helps to reduce and level out tread wear, ensuring greater mileage. Still, by switching to new profiles it was possible to improve handling. Thanks to the structure developed to enable the center and side compounds to work optimally, the new SCORPION Trail II delivers peak performance, even at full load or with heavier motorcycles. This combination should improve wet performance over its predecessor and make it comfortable for long trips and winding roads with extra assurance for adverse weather conditions.
Pirelli offered us an opportunity to try the tires on various adventure touring bikes in the Hudson Highlands near West Point, NY. I tested both a new BMW R 1200 GS and a Ducati Multistrada. Conditions were dry but cold, with temperatures just above freezing. In fact, in some places snow flurries were swirling about, although there was no snow accumulation on the pavement. However, this did show us that the tires warm up quickly and provide remarkable traction right away. While some of the moto journalists were riding aggressively, nobody took a spill, which is a testament to the grip of these tires.
Trail II tires are nicely made and give the bikes a nimble feel, with good neutral turning capabilities. That is, the cross-section shape provides a healthy compromise between straight-line stability and the ability to pitch it into a corner. The bike tips into a turn readily, yet feels planted and confidence inspiring on long fast straightaways. They hold a line well while leaned far over, with no drama. Strong braking doesn’t upset the traction, and it was hard to get them to break loose. Although we didn’t have them long enough to determine the rate of tread wear, the tires should at least wear longer than their more knobby counterparts. Sizing and pricing varies depending on model of bike.
Retail Prices
Front: $110 – $145
Rear: $150 – $200

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