Pirelli has taken their wide-open approach of developing street and sport bike tires to Motocross. Tapping the testing talents of riders like Justin Barcia, Andrew Short, and even Chad Reed, Pirelli has developed competitive tires at the highest level. Best part of all, Pirelli continues to bring race winning technology, tread design and compounds to riders like you and I with the Scorpion MX lineup.
Pirelli’s race-bred Scorpion MX range now covers the full spectrum of terrain, from sandy loam to rocky hard pack, and everything in between. Taking a quick glance at Pirelli’s full line of off-road tires, the letter and number naming convention might be a bit much to take in at first. Don’t be discouraged, every tire does a fantastic job providing traction and control in its purpose built terrain, and we’re going to match each tire with the proper conditions!
Starting with the heart and soul of the Scorpion family, the MX 32 (not to be confused with the Dunlop MX3-S or MX32) is your go-to intermediate motocross front and rear tire combo. As the name states, the MX 32 Mid Soft shines in loamy and sandy soil. Utilizing a bow-tie like center knob design, the 32 grips well under acceleration and braking. Wider gaps between the knobs allows the tire to self-clean efficiently. More impressively, riders are finding these soft-intermediate tires to hook up and stay predictable in even harder conditions, especially when there’s loose soil on a hard base (typically found during the later motos on race day). The MX 32 comes in multiple sizes from mini-bikes to big 450s. We’ll go into more detail about sizing later.
Building off of the MX 32 Mid Soft success is the all new MX 32 Pro specifically designed for your high horsepower 450’s and 250 race bikes. The “Pro” edition of the MX 32 tire differentiates itself with larger blocks, allowing the tire to transfer easier from soft and mid to mid and hard. This benefits pro riders as they get comfortable with one tire that can do it all, and benefits the average rider by providing an all-around great feel and traction in a wider set of conditions. Keep in mind, the MX 32 Pro is a rear tire only, that can be paired with any of Pirelli’s Scorpion MX front tires. Another thing to note, is the tire comes in only two sizes (120/80-19 and 110/90-19). Again, the Pro is really only meant for race bikes ideal for 450s and modified 250s with a 2.15 rear wheel.
Hard, blue-groove dirt, square edges and loose gravel are a tire’s worst enemy. Pirelli’s answer for that is the MXMH (Motocross Mid-Hard) 554 tire, specifically created to be as durable as possible in these demanding conditions. The MXMH 554 does its best work getting power to the ground on compact soil, mostly found in dryer areas of the country. Pirelli combats knob tearing by incorporating knob links, or bridges, a common issue found with other brands in the hard dirt.
Pirelli’s goal with the Extra X was to provide excellent durability and wear, with solid traction in just about every terrain. Pirelli told us the MX Extra X is the tire for riders who are “racing for fun” and need a good, all around tire, that they won’t have to replace every month. We’ve been able to test a handful of these tires and can say they hit the nail on the head. We’ve found the MX Extra X tire to perform well in slick hard pack, rocky trails, wet roots and loamy motocross tracks, all while showing minimal wear. Pirelli offers a mini version called the Extra J, which delivers the same durability and multi-surface traction. The Extra X/J are easily the best value dirt bike and off road tire for the weekend warrior.
Pirelli takes a different approach to sizing than traditional motocross sizes. At first we were a bit skeptic, however once we learned why and what each size is designed for, we were extremely impressed. First and foremost for each size tire, there’s a different tread design. It’s not a one size fits all sort of thing you might see others use. Because each size tire is meant for a specific bike, Pirelli adjusts the tread design, block size and support accordingly! Now, let’s get to the tricky part. Like we said, Pirelli doesn’t use the exact same tire sizing as say Dunlop or Bridgestone, so don’t be surprised when you see a few new sizes, because that might be the perfect size for your bike! Here’s a list of the big-bike tire sizes from smallest to largest:
Pirelli wants us to make sure you are extremely mindful of rim width and the corresponding tire size. If you squeeze a wide tire meant for a 2.15 inch rim on to a 1.85 inch rim, you’re going to have handling issues. First off, the tire will bow upwards to fit onto the rim, raising the rear and actually putting less tread down. So don’t assume putting a bigger tire on will give you more of a footprint, so to speak. Inversely, placing a skinnier tire on a 2.15 inch rim will flatten out the tire, and affect the handling and traction negatively as well.
No matter the terrain, bike or riding style, Pirelli has an excellent tire for you. Unrivaled attention to detail for each tire size and model, puts them at the head of the pack for motocross and off road tires.
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