Last year, Pirelli debuted a few new mountain bike tire options, proving that pretty much anyone who makes a car tire, also wants to make a mountain bike tire. Amongst Michelin, and Continental though, Pirelli tires have all been much lighter, and cross-country or trail-oriented, even the S “soft” compound version that Gerow tested.
Now they have an even more cross-country minded tire out, the XC RC. The new tire was made to meet the demands of the Trek Pirelli XC team, which includes riders Vlad Dascalu and Samuele Porro.
Pirelli says that Porro asked their engineers for a tire aimed at Olympic cross-country racers, but something that will also stand up to a marathon event.
In October 2019, the Trek Pirelli team got their first prototypes, and they used them at the team training camp in Calpe, Spain.
The XC RCs are a tubeless-ready tire, with 120 TPI nylon casing, available in a LITE and ProWALL version. The ProWALL version has better puncture resistance.
The new tires also have SmartGRIP, a single compound with a high mechanical strength. Pirelli says this should give the tire excellent stability, a long life, and “optimal grip on all terrain.” This can be hard to balance, however. The Pirelli Scorpion R that I tested last year had a very long life, but the compound wasn’t all that sticky anywhere on the tire.
Tread design on the XC RC is inspired by the XC H (hard) and XC M (Mixed), The center blocks have a lower profile, and are closer together for speed. The half-fold and lateral blocks resemble the Scorpion M, maximizing grip during cornering.
The Scorpion XC RC tire is available now at dealers. They come in a 29×2.2″ diameter and width only, also available in a Team edition with yellow lettering.
The LITE casing weighs 610g and the ProWALL weighs 660g. They are priced at $70.