Although we’ve ridden countless DHR’s on the back with DHF’s up front, it was the first time we recall having a fresh set of DHR II’s front and rear. We noticed some pretty significant changes in handling, but believe that each tire could have its own applications. Our fresh Maxxis DHR II tires hit the dirt at Tamarack Resort for the first stop of our second season filming the North American Bike Park Review Tour and they got right to the task. It was early August and Idaho hadn’t seen rain in a month, so the park was dry and loose. Conditions we know quite well.
The Minion DHR II seemed to handle the terrain quite well and rolled fast on fire road transitions from trail to trail. When it came time to film on some of the Blue Flow trails that were nicely groomed and hard pack, the tires seemed to roll a bit quicker than the more spaced out DHF. Obviously the input is quite subjective, but the knobs of the DHR II are a bit tighter and seemed to smooth out the hard pack trails and keep a more constant level of contact. Likewise in hard park berms, the tires seemed to hold well and didn’t squirm or roll.
As we moved onto the DH tracks, and more technical terrain, the tires were still ready to shred. Deep, sandy soil, decomposed rock fields and even sandy pitches were all navigated with ease. While I love the DHF in most applications, there is a certain level of float in the tire’s lean that can take it off some rider’s lists. The float zone lives in the shoulder of the tire when neither the center knobs nor the shoulders are full engaged. It leaves a somewhat vague, understeer feeling that can unnerve many riders who aren’t committed to really dipping the bars over to allow the shoulder lugs to dig in. Also, in some terrain conditions, this style of cornering just isn’t possible, specifically in the Southwest where loose-over hard pack terrain can have riders more upright and steering rather than leaning.
The DHR II does not have this float zone and therefore gives riders a more consistent feel of grip and traction no matter where on the tire you’re rolling. We believe this will make the tire a favorite for a broader spectrum of riders and those who want a predictable and stable feel. Thanks to the borrowed and widened DHF knobs, the DHR II still offers that great bite and penetration when it comes time to learn it over, but we think we’d stick to the DHF if we spent a majority of our time on damper, richer soil.