Pirelli announces partnership with Fabien Barel for mountain bike tire development

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Pirelli has announced a technical partnership with three-time downhill (DH) mountain bike (MTB) champion, Fabien Barel, to aid the manufacturer in its development of a new line of Scorpion MTB tires for use within DH and Enduro racing disciplines.

Having launched its Scorpion MTB tires two years ago, Pirelli is looking to introduce a new line of tires after spending the intervening years researching and prototyping various products. The company has called upon Barel – with his vast experience in the field, including three DH world championships and seven national DH championships – to aid in the final stages of the tire’s development.

Pirelli says that Barel’s knowledge of the discipline, teamed with his skills and technical expertise, makes him an ideal partner for the company, where he will help with the continuous improvement of current and subsequent products.

The new Scorpion tire has already made its way into the racing world, with prototypes having been used by Barel himself, along with several teams and athletes on the EWS (Enduro World Series) and World Cup DH circuits during the 2021 season.

DH mountain biking is a highly demanding sport, which makes it an ideal testing ground for product stress, with tires being pushed to the uppermost limits of reliability and grip. Pirelli says that parameters such as absorption and low rolling resistance should not be overlooked during development, as these factors could play a huge part in a sport where individual performance is so high and time gaps between contestants are so small.

Pirelli already has a presence within MX, WRC and multiple other two- and four-wheel disciplines, so the move to DH MTB is the next natural step for the company.

“Pirelli is a global leader in tire production. When it comes to racing, having competencies from the best is great for everyone as it brings the sport and performance forward,” commented Barel. “I’m a great believer in Pirelli’s technical skills and their ability to interpret the needs of the mountain bike world in the best-possible way. There’s already a solid line of Pirelli MTB tires on the market, and my job is to help complete it with models dedicated to racing, which will hopefully lead to the successes that the company has already achieved in many other sports. Take Formula 1, motocross or superbike, for example. The clear objective of these new tires is to reach the top of the podiums.”

Find out more about Pirelli’s new road and race bike tires in the latest issue of Tire Technology International magazine

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKi Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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