Maxxis has a growing range of Wide Trail (WT) mountain bike tyres, including several options with the more robust DoubleDown casing. To make sense of the range, we gathered the Aggressor, Minion DHF, Minion DHR II and Shorty in their respective WT DoubleDown outfits, and gave them to our resident rubber-punisher, James Vincent, for a mini-shootout. Over to James!
Rims, fork stanchions, cassettes, axles, post-Christmas waistlines. You name it, it’s getting wider.
As rims have gotten wider though, tyre design needed to follow. Mount a ‘traditional’ 2.3in tyre (what used to be the go-to all mountain/hardcore trail/enduro tyre width) on a rim that has a 30mm internal width or wider, and the knobs are likely to end up in the wrong place. Those previously perfectly placed shoulder knobs can end up near the top of the casing, with the mohican-like profile leading to poor handling and decreased traction as the barren sidewalls are brought into contact with the ground. This is also known as: Not Good Times™.
What we’ve got here then is a quartet of what Maxxis has dubbed Wide Trail (WT) tyres – tyres designed specifically for new-school rims measuring 30-35mm wide internally. We’ve got an Aggressor 2.5 WT DoubleDown, a Minion DHF 2.5 WT DoubleDown, a DHR II 2.4 WT DoubleDown, and finally a Shorty 2.5 WT DoubleDown.
In short, these four enduro-capable tyres, and the various combinations they can provide, will cover pretty much any trail condition you’re likely to come across.
Just to clarify for those wondering – these are not Plus tyres – that denomination is reserved for 2.8in and up. Nor are they semi-plus (perhaps also known as ‘Plus-Minus’, or ‘British Plus’ as we prefer to call it), which covers the trendy 2.6in tyre width. While Plus tyres are brilliant for everyday trail riding, they’re not quite so aggressive as a narrower tyre. If you’re racing enduro events regularly, or you find yourself regularly hunting out the steep stuff in your local woods, then these 2.4-2.5in width tyres are the ticket.
The other common denominator between our four test tyres is that they’re all equipped with Maxxis’ reinforced DoubleDown casing. One step, erm, down from a downhill casing, a DoubleDown casing is on average 15% lighter than a 2-ply DH tyre with the same tread pattern, yet offers significant impact protection over an EXO casing.
A butyl insert at the bead provides this extra protection, right at the point where most sidewalls get damaged, while the tops of the sidewalls are left relatively unprotected to save a bit of weight. That’s not to say these a featherweight XC tyres though – each of these four tyres tips the scales at well over 1100g!
All four tyres were mounted to a variety of rims measuring 29-33mm wide internally, including a set of Hunt Enduro Wide wheels, some E*13 TRS hoops, and Spank Oozy 345’s. We also tested them on both hardtails and full suspension bikes, and over the six month test period they were ridden across a wide variety of conditions from the Lake District, to BikePark Wales, Whinlatter, the Ard Rock Enduro, Dyfi Bike Park, the Quantocks, and finally the Mendips.
So with the tough casing, and wide-rim specific profile, how have these tyres performed on the trail? And perhaps more importantly, which is the right one for you?
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|Product:||Aggressor, Minion DHF, Minion DHR II, Shorty (all Wide Trail, DoubleDown casings)|
|Tested:||by James Vincent for 6 months|