Here’s a fun way for a tire company to create an interesting press release: Send out your test riders to India’s Himalayan mountain range to take on the 17,582-foot Khardung La Pass mountain pass, one of the highest in the world.

It doesn’t hurt when one of your riders is Salvo Pennisi (pictured in the lead photo), who we’ve met and enjoyed his genial and adventuresome personality at several Pirelli tire launches. The former Dakar Rally competitor saddled up on Royal Enfield’s recently introduced Himalayan, which uses Pirelli’s MT60 tires as original equipment.

Begin Press Release

The Collaboration Between Pirelli and Royal Enfield is Growing: PHANTOM SPORTSCOMP Tires are Original Equipment on the New Continental GT 650 and Interceptor INT 650. Following the Himalayan Model Equipped with MT 60 and the Continental GT 500cc with Sport Demon, now the New Continental GT 650 and Interceptor INT 650 will be mounted with Pirelli Tires. To Celebrate the Original Equipment Supply, Pirelli’s Motorcycle Testing Department Climbed the Himalayan Chain to Reach One of the Highest Vehicle-Accessible Passes in the World

MILAN (November 15, 2017) – The collaboration between Pirelli, one of the leading tire manufacturers in the world, and Royal Enfield, the historic Anglo-Indian motorcycle company, is further strengthened: the new models Continental GT 650 and Interceptor INT 650, recently presented at EICMA, will fit Pirelli PHANTOM SPORTSCOMP as original equipment tires.

The new Continental GT 650 and Interceptor INT 650 are just the latest models that Royal Enfield has decided to equip with Pirelli tires. For the Himalayan, another Pirelli tire, the MT 60, was selected, while Pirelli SPORT DEMON was chosen for the Continental GT 500cc.

The new Continental GT 650 and Interceptor INT 650 powered by the 650 Twin will be equipped with the legendary PHANTOM SPORTSCOMP (in 100/90 – 18 M/C 56H TL front and 130/70 – 18 M/C 63H TL rear sizes).

PHANTOM™ SPORTSCOMP is part of a line of historical tires of the Pirelli Sport Classic range, which includes also the MT 60 and SPORT DEMON™ models, destined to respond to the heritage trends and chosen by motorcycle manufacturers and customizers, to equip modern café racers, medium-powered custom bikes and modern classics.

Tires of Pirelli’s PHANTOM line are legendary. They were produced for the first time back in 1977 and redesigned over the years to keep pace with the most modern technologies. Their constant presence and evolution over the years make it one of the most important brands among motorcycle products made by the “long P” company.

With the new millennium, Pirelli revised the PHANTOM SPORTSCOMP radically, combining the sporting origin of the Sportscomp with timeless charm and style, thus giving rise to a Sport Classic line within the Supersport segment.

Among the strengths of this tire include the easy handling and change in direction, stable and predictable behavior under acceleration and braking, being able to transmit power to the ground and regular wear combined to excellent mileage.

In addition, to celebrating and sealing the collaboration with Royal Enfield, an expedition of the Pirelli Motorcycle Testing Department has reached, with two Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycles equipped with Pirelli MT 60 tires, the Khardung La Pass. At 5,359 meters (17,582 ft.) high it has long been considered the highest vehicle-accessible pass in the world.

The adventure was realized by Salvo Pennisi, Director of Testing and Technical Relations for Pirelli Motorcycle Division, and by Vincenzo Bonaccorsi, who for Pirelli is the tester responsible for the Original Equipment projects in the Asia-Pacific area.

In India to support normal working activities with Original Equipment companies such as Royal Enfield, the two Pirelli Motorcycle Testing Department representatives wanted to celebrate in this particular way the supply to Royal Enfield.

Riding two Royal Enfield Himalayan’s fitted with Pirelli MT 60 tires, Salvo Pennisi and Vincenzo Bonaccorsi decided to ride the Himalayan chain; to the Khardung La Pass, one of the highest vehicle-accessible passes in the world in the region of Ladakh, India, north of Leh and considered the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys.

Departing from the town of Manali at midday on Thursday September 28, 2017, after two days and five hundred kilometers of roads and slopes that are so tough and challenging to enter, they are considered in the list of the ‘10 most dangerous roads in the world’. The route took them with forced acclimatization, through the passes of Rohtang (3956 meters above sea level), Nakeela (4711 meters above sea level), Lachungla (5035 meters above sea level) and Kangla Jal (4878 meters above sea level). Pirelli’s adventurers reached the Khardung La Pass at 12:16 pm on Saturday September 30, 2017, summing up in total, 48 hours and 23,968 meters of altitude, thus crowning one of the most iconic dreams of motorcyclists, to challenge themselves in the Himalayas and attempt the legendary Kardhung La.

# # #


Founded in 1872, Pirelli is among the largest global tire makers, and focuses its business on the high end, premium product segment where it is a world leader. Present in over 160 countries, Pirelli has 22 manufacturing sites and employs approximately 38,000 people around the world. Successfully competing in motorsports since 1907, Pirelli is currently the exclusive supplier of the Formula 1 championship, the Superbike world championship, and many other championships around the world.

Pirelli Tire North America (PTNA) services NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) member countries through its Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS) facility and research and development center at its Rome, Georgia headquarters, its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Silao, Mexico and its New York City, Montreal and Mexico City sales and marketing offices. The company manufactures, distributes and markets original equipment and replacement tires for export and domestic car/motorcycle applications (US, CA, MX) and Agro/Heavy Truck platforms (MX).