I have been very happy with the mountain bike tires that I have been been running, Maxxis Ardent on one bike and On-One Chunky Monkey on the other. Over the years I've had no issues and based on the cost of tires and length of search for a new one, I was always hesitant to try something new. Veloorangutan started carrying the Pirellis and I was intrigued by the tire, so I gave them a spin on my Orbea Occam. After 3-4 technical rides, on the BCGB Greenbelt and a speed lap at Walnut Creek, I think these are a great tire for Austin riding.
First and foremost these were a bit heavier than the Ardents that I took off the bike. The Scorpions clock in at 920G and the Ardents are supposedly ~805G so that is a pretty significant difference.
They definitely feel heavier in the hand but that difference really disappears on the bike. From a rolling perspective they actually feel faster and do not feel like they are holding me back at all. The good news with respect to the weight is that the difference in weight is (in my opinion) all in the sidewalls. The sidewalls feel significantly beefier so those chunky rock gardens on the Cheesegrater or the lave rock ledges of Lake Georgetown should be less of an issue for these tires.
Pirelli brags the "ProWall" sidewalls have a layer of nylon to reinforce the tire and help protect against cuts. Maybe we need to do a trip up to Bentonville and run these on The Ledges because they eat sidewalls for breakfast.
The tread itself is not that chunky compared to either the Ardents of the Chunky Monkeys.
The lower profile lugs provide plenty of boost for speed, lowering the rolling resistance. I've picked up quite a few personal bests on segments with these on the bike, without trying. Typically a lower profile tire would not provide as much grip on the ledges and other features that we have here in Austin, but these tires have been incredibly grippy. They remind me of the old school Blue Groove tires that were all the rage until we all realized that they has such a short lifespan. Based on the feel of the tire, especially after a few rides, I think they are still going to last significantly longer. Time will tell on how long, but I am cautiously optimistic based on their performance over the past 2-3 weeks.
One area that was a challenge was getting them on the wheels. I have DT-Swiss wheels and these were a bit of a challenge to get on the wheel. I base some of that challenge on the overall stiffness that the sidewall brings. In that realm, I am happy to trade off a little mounting difficulty in order to get some better sidewall protection. Once installed, a quick blast of air seated the tires effortlessly and the tire held for an hour or two on the first try - without any fluid. With some Stan's added, they have done a great job of holding air between rides. Even with my rear wheel that I know has some slow spoke leaks, the tires hold the pressure well.
I am a typical old guy trail rider, so way more cross country than downhill. These are great tires for that type of rider and I would believe that the Scorpion downhill/enduro tires would be better suited for more aggressive riding. Pirelli has a variety of different models to choose from. The Trail M's that I am using are 2.4" only which is fine with me because I am on 2.4's on all of my other bikes. Interestingly, because of the lug profile being a lot lower, they look and feel "smaller" but do not feel any less adequate.
I am more inclined to run these at lower pressures. Typically I was running 28-30 pounds, front and back, because I was not interested in burping my tire. With the more aggressive sidewalls I am down closer to 24-26 pounds and have no issue whatsoever.
The bottom line is that these tires are a good alternative for the Austin trails in my opinion. I'll be interested to see how they handle Bentonville in the fall, but for the twisty, technical, and ledge/root-filled trails that we frequent, they are right at home.