maxxis minion dhf doubledefence

Review: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 WT DoubleDown Tyre

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Maxxis has a growing range of Wide Trail (WT) mountain bike tyres, including several options with the more robust Double Down casing. To make sense of the range, we gathered the Aggressor, Minion DHF, Minion DHR II and Shorty in their respective WT Double Down outfits, and gave them to our resident rubber-punisher, James Vincent, for a mini-shootout. Over to James!


The venerable Minion DHF is one of those tyres that Maxxis got absolutely bang on, right at the very beginning. Since its introduction over a decade ago, the tread pattern has hardly changed, only being adapted slightly to fit different carcass widths. It’s also been copied a lot.

Originally designed to withstand the rigours of downhill racing in loose and muddy conditions, the DHF has since found favour across pretty much all genres of mountain biking, with the exception of XC racing where light-weight and fast rolling are preferred over all out grip and durability. The familiar tread pattern incorporates ramped centre knobs for lowered rolling resistance and aggressively siped side knobs to increase gripping edges, cornering traction and generally just keep you pointing in the right direction.

manitou mattoc maxxis minion dhf doubledefence hunt
This Minion DHF is the 2.5in Wide Trail size with a DoubleDown casing, and sticky 3C MaxxGrip rubber.

The DHF is available in a myriad of wheel sizes, widths, compounds, and casings, in a multitude of combinations that are far too many to list here (to see all possible permutations available, jump over to the Maxxis website).

Out of this extensive range, we’ve got our hands on the Minion DHF 27.5×2.5in Wide Trail 3C Maxx Grip Tubeless Ready Double Down (phew). Optimised to work on 30-35mm wide rims (internal), the tread pattern is still very much a Minion DHF, with the same rounded profile and knob shapes, just with everything repositioned to fit the wider carcass.

Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5 WT DoubleDown Tyre Specs

  • Designed for rocky, loose and loose-over-hard trail surfaces, dry to wet conditions
  • Size tested: 27.5×2.5in WT
  • Actual weight: 1215g
  • Measured width: 2.45in
  • Rubber compound: 3C MaxxGrip
  • DoubleDown casing (120tpi)
  • Also available in 26in & 29in diameters, 2.3-3.0in widths
  • RRP: £69.99
manitou mattoc maxxis minion dhf doubledefence
One of the most recognisable treads going.

Installation

As with all Maxxis tubeless ready tyres, I had zero problems installing the DHF and seating it on the right sized rim. Maxxis are usually one of the better tyre companies in this regard, and the slightly stiffer sidewalls (thanks to the DoubleDown casing) meant things were even smoother than normal and I was able to get it up with just a regular track pump. Good times.

Although I initially set up the DHF on the front wheel with 25psi, as I expected I was quickly able to lower pressures with no side effects – you’ve got a little bit more carcass and sidewall stiffness from the DoubleDown casing, so the tyre still holds its shape well and won’t collapse under you when pressures get lower.

manitou mattoc maxxis minion dhf doubledefence james vincent maintou mattoc
James and the Minion DHF, both in their natural element.

Performance

Regardless of compound, casing or width, I’ve always found the DHF to be fantastic when things are moving along quickly – it’s a truly great high-speed tyre for a reason and excels in all but the worst conditions. This WT optimised version is no different, keeping me on the straight and narrow.

It copes well on rocks (whether they’re wet or dry), and it thrives in drier conditions from soft loam through to rocky hardpack. Really anything but super thick claggy mud.

When things get steeper and more grip is needed, the ability to run lower pressures thanks to the DoubleDown casing is a godsend and I was able to claw back a bit more traction. Not to mention the big part the 3C MaxxGrip triple compound rubber plays in this tyre – it’s super soft, really nicely damped, and sticks very, very well indeed to wet rock.

manitou mattoc maxxis minion dhf doubledefence
The sticky 3C MaxxGrip rubber sees the Minion DHF pinch and grab the trail assertively.

While the Minion DHF is great when things are moving at pace though, front-end braking control on super steep, low speed technical trails can be a bit lacking thanks to those ramped central knobs. But I’m talking about those trails that are borderline rideable in the first place – the ones where your backside gets buzzed by the rear tyre on a regular basis.

For most riders, this won’t be an issue. But if your idea of a good time involves throwing yourself down steep wooded chutes or nailing rocky north Lakes tech, you too might welcome a little more traction on the front.

manitou mattoc maxxis minion dhf doubledefence james vincent manitou mattoc
On the front, the DHF isn’t so confident when pointing down steeper, softer and muddier trails.

Durability

It also wears pretty quickly. Although the centre knobs are ok, after four months of use the shoulder knobs are looking rather blurry around the edges – I guess that’s the price you pay for sticky performance, but I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. I should point out that the 3C MaxxGrip compound is as soft as it gets from Maxxis. For durability and speed, the 3C MaxxTerra or 3C MaxxSpeed are faster and harder-wearing compounds.

Given the sticky compound, I ran the Minion DHF up front and up front only. However, with a firmer compound, the DHF also makes for a great rear tyre when paired to something like a DHR II or Shorty on the front. It offers lower rolling resistance than those two other options, and it has a nice consistent feel to its cornering.

manitou mattoc maxxis minion dhf doubledefence
You want durability? The DoubleDown casing is properly tough.

Otherwise the Minion DHF hasn’t given me any cause for complaint at all – even at silly low pressures and after numerous rim strikes, I’ve yet to put a hole in it, it has proven resistant to cuts, and in spite of the knobs looking a bit tired, they’re all still there.

Overall

There’s a reason why the Minion DHF is one of the most copied tread patterns going – it’s one of the grippiest and best cornering tyres out there for charging hard on rocky trails. Factor in the soft 3C MaxxGrip compound and the low pressures you can get with the DoubleDown casing, and unless it’s particularly sloppy, or super steep and loose, you’re unlikely to be wishing for more traction.

Review Info

Brand: Maxxis
Product: Minion DHF 2.5 WT DoubleDown 3C MaxxGrip
From: Maxxis, www.maxxis.co.uk
Price: £69.99
Tested: by James Vincent for 6 months

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Having ridden bikes for as long as he can remember, James takes a certain twisted pleasure in carrying his bike to the most inaccessible locations he can find, before attempting to ride back down again, preferably with both feet on the pedals. After seeing the light on a recent road trip to Austria, James walked away from the stresses of running a design agency, picked up a camera and is several years deep into a mid life crisis that shows no sign of abating. As a photographer, he enjoys nothing more than climbing trees and asking others to follow his sketchy lines while expecting them to make it look as natural and stylish as possible. He has come to realise this is infinitely more fun than being tied to a desk, and is in no hurry to go back.

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