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!
Sequels are quite often tyred (sorry) extensions of great films, focussed more on extracting more money from the cinema going public, with few exceptions. And let’s not get started on prequels or remakes. Really, what was once a brilliant concept, is exposed as a weak idea on repetition, and it takes real skill to prevent them becoming formulaic and dull. And what was once a brilliant concept, is exposed as a weak idea on repetition, and it takes real skill to prevent them becoming formulaic and dull.
Fortunately, the DHR II suffers from none of these issues. In fact, this sequel is actually a lot better than the original.
While the original DHR wasn’t particularly well received, the Minion DHR II is a completely different beast. It’s less rear specific than before, and many riders I know have taken to running the DHR II up front as well as out back. The shoulder knobs have been nicked from the DHF (though widened slightly), while the centre knobs are heavily siped for extra hold and braking traction in the loose stuff.
On test here is the Minion DHR II 27.5×2.4in Wide Trail 3C MaxxTerra DoubleDown option. As with the Minion DHF also on test, the DHR II is also available in a mind boggling array of widths, casings and compounds that are far too numerous to list here, so again, head over to the Maxxis website to see the full range.
Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.4 WT DoubleDown Tyre Specs
- Designed for rocky, loose and loose-over-hard trail surfaces, dry to wet conditions
- Size tested: 27.5×2.4in WT
- Actual weight: 1135g
- Measured width: 2.4in
- Rubber compound: 3C MaxxTerra
- DoubleDown casing (120tpi)
- Also available in 26in & 29in diameters, 2.3-3.0in widths
- RRP: £69.99
I’m a big fan of the Minion DHR II and it’s been my go to front tyre for quite some time now, so I was super excited to get this new Wide Trail version fitted and out on the trails.
Popping it onto the right sized rim (30-35mm is the ideal internal rim width for the ‘Wide Trail’ tyres from Maxxis), it went up first time with just a track pump and a squirt of sealant. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here, but Maxxis tyres really are up there with the best for ease of fitting!
Interesting side note; thanks to the lacklustre performance of the original Minion DHR, a lot of folks thought the Minions came as a pair and ran a DHF up front and a DHR at the rear, with some riders forgoing the DHR altogether and riding a DHF front AND rear. Except that the original DHF was actually designed as a freeride tyre (Down Hill Freeride) and the DHR was the race tyre (Down Hill Race), so not front and rear specific at all.
In our collective experience, you can run either tyres front or rear – it just comes down to the conditions and your preferences.
Out on the trail, and you’ll be pleased to read that the latest Wide Trail version is just as good as the old one, if not better. The deep tread blocks dig in and find grip in all but the filthiest conditions. A Shorty is still the tyre of choice for ploughing through the winter clart, but even then, the Minion DHR II is still a solid all-year-round tyre.
This has to be one of the best cornering tyres I’ve used – it is utterly reliable and sure-footed on a variety of trail surfaces. The combination of those slightly wider DHF cornering blocks with the deeper centre tread gives tonnes of traction, even when the rocks are big, loose and surrounded by scrabbly dirt or mud.
Braking traction is noticeably better than the Minion DHF. Point the bike down a nasty steep chute, and those short, wide and siped centre blocks pinch and bite the trail with more available edges than the DHF. The steeper and looser the descents, the more useful the in-built braking traction of the DHR II is – both on the front and on the rear.
For this reason though, I generally prefer the DHR II up front over the DHF. It is a slower rolling tyre, and it feels pretty rumbly at lower cruising speeds – something that is particularly noticeable on the road and hardpack dirt. But I’m not out winning XC races or challenging for KOMs on the climbs anyway, so that’s a price that I’m willing to pay.
I also don’t find that the narrower width of the DHR II is that much of an issue either. Yes, the 2.5in DHF has more volume, and when placed side by side is noticeably larger, but these are both pretty chunky tyres – particularly in the WT version.
Are there any downsides? Well, it is slower rolling than the DHF, and it doesn’t appreciate being ridden into dry stone walls at speed. I had a pretty nasty crash at the ‘Ard Rock Enduro, where the front wheel of my hardtail was violently ploughed into a wall, which resulted in a hole in the tyre. I sealed it up with a tyre plug, and it’s been holding air ever since. Otherwise the DoubleDown casing has provided good sidewall support that’s allowed me to keep the pressures relatively low, without losing much of the tyre’s structure through the turns.
In terms of general wear, the 3C MaxxTerra sits in the middle of Maxxis’ 3C range in terms of gooeyness. Compared to the gooier 3C MaxxGrip on the DHF I’ve been testing, the tread blocks on the DHR II are looking fresher – which is to be expected given the firmer rubber compound. It hasn’t worn as well as the dual compound Aggressor though.
Though the Minion DHR II gives you all the traction you would ever need out back, it performs equally well up front. The aggressive tread pattern delivers supremely controlled cornering grip and incredible braking traction, which really comes into its own the steeper and rougher the trail surface.
It isn’t quick rolling, nor is it the best in proper gloopy mud, but it is highly dependable across a wide range of conditions for those who don’t want to change tyres multiple times a year.
|Product:||Minion DHR II 2.4 WT DoubleDown 3C MaxxTerra|
|Tested:||by James Vincent for 6 months|
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