BMW First look - Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tyres

First look - Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tyres

If you spend most of your time on the tarmac but also want a capable tyre for some gravel trails and dry dirt track then the Scorpion Trails II will have you covered

ADVENTURE tourers are often bought by middle-aged men with dreams of the Dakar, but in reality these bikes spend more time on the motorway than in the mountains.

The tyres available for such bikes reflect that – most are mainly road biased, while the remaining few are knobbled and no good for distance road riding. I’ve yet to find the Unicorn of dual sport rubber.

As an everyday rider – both on road and off – I needed something that would take me to the end of the road and beyond. So I opted for Pirelli’s Scorpion Trail II, a tyre that promised to deliver on the daily commute as well as the gravel track.

I decided to fit the new tyres myself – in part to prove that I could and also to save the 50 quid it would cost to get them fitted at my local garage. After two hours of struggling my BMW F800GS had its new shoes on and was ready to ride. In my haste to swap the rubbers however I’d pinched the front innertube. I made it almost 70 miles before the tyre dramatically de-rimmed on the M4. No damage done, and it was back to my make-do garage for a do over. While the tyres are designed to be tubeless, they require tubes on the F800GS due to its spoked wheels.

Take two and I hit the road. Immediately, I noticed a night and day difference between my old Heidenau K60 Scouts and the new Scorpion Trail IIs – although that is possibly due to the former resembling rectangles after nearly 10k of mostly commuter miles. However, the new Scorpion Trails instantly gave a smooth ride, giving me confidence in corners and breaking even on damp February roads. At higher speeds the tyres were smooth and stable, and unlike my previous pair didn’t break out in judders while coasting to a stop.

The Pirellis consist of a fairly soft compound that quickly gets up to temperature, which certainly makes them feel more like road tyres. They are fully up to the task of increasing lean angle on a twisting road and a wider central contact patch than its predecessor promises longer durability without sacrificing grip.

On a recent tour of the Lake District, Gus the GS and I hit the trails. The Pirellis were great for going from small poorly surfaced roads to hard packed gravel tracks. However, as underfoot loosened, the tyres lacked the depth and width of tread to shift enough gravel and I began to lose both confidence and momentum. Mud and wet grass proved particularly tricky for the heavy bike and high PSI, but not altogether impossible.

I’ve now covered 500 miles on the Trail IIs and I’m still impressed by their versatility and performance. They may not quite be the unicorn of dual sport tyres that I was looking for, but they make a fine work horse, providing grip wet or dry with the capability to take the gravel track when the road runs out.

If you’re like me and spend most of your time on the tarmac but also want a capable tyre for some gravel trails and dry dirt track then the Scorpion Trails II will have you covered. But if you’re venturing on more aggressive terrain, then maybe consider something chunkier, like the Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T or Metzeler Karoo 3.