MAXXIS MINION DHR II TIRE REVIEW
DHR FRONT & BACK?!
Words & Photos by Drew Rohde
Action Photo by Dusten Ryen
The Maxxis Minion is the undisputed people’s champion when it comes to downhill bike tires or a tread ready for aggressive riding. While we’ve ridden our fair share of tires over the years, many Minions included, we recently had the opportunity to hit three different bikes parks with fresh sets of Maxxis Minion DHR II mounted to the front and rear of the new Canyon Sender. Normally we run a DHF/DHR combo, but it seems that the new Canyon Sender CFR (Canyon Factory Race) edition bike comes spec’d with the tires the race team prefers, which is the DHR II front and rear. Obviously, those shredders are a whole lot faster than we are, so we thought maybe they knew something we didn’t. Here’s our experience after 12 days of park riding all over the state of Idaho.
Like the rest of their line, the Maxxis Minion DHR II is available in a plethora or casings, compounds, and sizes. For our testing we ran the 29 x 2.4” WT 3C Maxx Grip DH casing. Yes, also like the rest of Maxxis’ line up, their nomenclature and hot patches can read like an encyclopedia, so be sure to double check the menu and purchase the tires that best suit your application. We suggest not trying to skimp and save weight on sidewalls as they are a vital part of keeping your ride and wheels together. In our opinion, some extra grams are well-worth not having to fix a flat or replace an expensive tire before it’s worn out.
From certain angles the Minion DHF and DHR look nearly identical. The side knobs on the DHR II are borrowed from the legendary Minion DHF but are widened to provide a bit more support. As you move to the center of the tread however, the differences quickly become visible. Large, ramped center knobs alternate in a repeating pattern to offer a paddle-like design. The siped knobs are designed to conform around terrain while the hard-braking edges ensure that you can quickly and safely scrub spend when needed.
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.
The Wolf’s Last Word
We were quite impressed with the Maxxis Minion DHR II’s performance on the front and back of our new Canyon shred sleds. Both the new Sender and Torque were subjected to 12 days of rocky, loose bike park riding from first chair ‘til after the park shut down. We believe the lifespan on the tires is going to be as subjective as the preference of tread patterns, but based on the amount of riding and conditions of the terrain we think the tires did a fair job of holding up. Not great, but not terrible. Obviously, concessions are made depending on whether you’d like traction or longevity, but nobody likes dropping a ton of cash on a tire that’s dead after a weekend either. We believe the Maxxis tires did a fair job of holding up to nearly 46,000 vertical feet on dry, rocky terrain. As you can see, they’ve probably still got at least another hard weekend of bike parking in before needing to be replaced. The smiles per mile given by these tires is pretty solid.
Weight: 1,217g (27.5″ x 2.4″)
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Predictable grip all around
No float zone
Maybe not as good as DHF in softer, damper soil
Doesn’t have that earth grabbing cornering feel of DHF
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