I’m not shocked very often these days. But Pirelli’s Scorpion STR Rally rubber has absolutely blown me away over the last couple of months. They appear to suit BMW’s GS Rallye so well that it makes you wonder if they were made expressly for the Teutonic land crab.
On greenlanes and in sticky mud the STRs never left the GS beached, and there were a few moments where the combination of their grip and the GS’s wildly clever Enduro Pro mode would have made me look like an off-road god if I’d managed to keep the look of surprise off my face. But none of that was as shocking as their on-road performance.
Tyres with this level of tread aggression ought to be woeful on tarmac, and yet they were superb. Yes, there’s a slight lack of silky smoothness when buzzing down a motorway, but it’s not at all intrusive, and the grip and control they generate is genuinely impressive. Both front and rear are rock solid when pushing hard at lean. They’re even good in the wet. The way they wear is equally amazing. There’s no tearing on the blocks, and after 3400 miles of predominantly fast road riding, the rear looks like it’s got at least another 1000 in it.
I even abused them on track at Rockingham, where the traction control light almost never went out but the grip never failed me. Amazing.
To replace the STRs I chose a set of Metzeler Tourance Next, a tyre I last used extensively in 2013 when I last had an R1200GS – so I knew they'd suit the Rallye. And they really did.
The immediate smoothness after 3400 miles on the STRs was palpable, and took the Rallye from feeling like a rugged do-it-all go-anywhere weapon, to the ultimate in fast road overland refinement. Grip is superb in all weathers, warm up is fast, and even the BMW's anethesised front-end feel of the Telelever can't mask the feedback from the tyre.
After 1000 miles of use they still look absolutely virgin, and experience tells me they'll happily go to 5000 miles even with a lot of hard use on a fully-laden GS. They're my favourite road-bias adventure tyre currently on the market.
Read more updates on our BMW R1200GS Rallye longterm test bike.
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