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Maxxis Minion DHR II Tires

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Tested: Maxxis Minion DHRII Wide Trail

Rating: Vital Review

by Joel Harwood

Tire choice is a tough one. Every brand has a variety of tread patterns, casings, rubber compounds, and a never-ending list of acronyms. Maxxis led the industry with the Minion DHF and High Roller for eons, and other tire manufacturers were playing catch up. As more riders and bike manufacturers have transitioned to wider rims, Maxxis has updated some of their classic treads with a wider casing optimized for wide rims. Maxxis’ Wide Trail (WT) casing is optimized for rims with an internal width of 35mm, but also seems better suited to modern trail bikes than the relatively narrow 2.3” casing. It’s no secret that we’re Maxxis fans, so when we received a set of Minion DHRII WT tires, we mounted them pronto to see if they were an improvement over a setup we already agreed was solid.

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Maxxis Minion DHRII WT Features

  • All-around performance
  • 3C Compound
  • EXO casing
  • Tubeless Ready (TR)
  • Sizing - 27.5 x 2.4-inch
  • Weight: 900g (3C/EXO/TR)
  • Intended conditions: Loose, loose over hard, medium
  • MSRP: $77.00 USD

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Initial Impressions

At first glance, the tires appear to be nearly identical to the DHRII 27.5 x 2.3 other than the WT label. Being that we had the Tubeless Ready version, we immediately mounted them front and rear on a set of WTB Asym rims with an internal width of 35mm. With a quick blast from the compressor the tires popped into place immediately, without any worries. On narrower rims we’ve always run 28 and 30PSI, but decided to run 25 and 28 in order to test the wide-rims-need-less-pressure theory. Within 15 minutes the tires went from the courier’s hands to the dirt.

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On The Trail

We tested these tires in Squamish, B.C., and rode a wide variety of trail surfaces and conditions. Maxxis indicates that the DHRII is best suited for loose, loose over hard and medium conditions. Although the “R” in DHRII suggests rear specificity, it is a proven performer front and rear in both the EWS and World Cup DH.

Cornering traction is superb. With cornering knobs identical to the often-imitated Minion DHF, we were immediately pushing hard into berms, ruts, and flat corners. The center knobs offer excellent braking, and roll on par with similar tires from the competition. Exactly how a wider rim translates to improved ride characteristics is difficult for many riders to describe, but the recurring themes all relate to improved tire profile, increased contact, and ultimately a more confidence inspiring feel. The DHRII WT tread is identical to the standard version, but knob location has been tweaked ever-so-slightly for better placement on wide rims. The DHRII WT knobs are ideally situated on a 35mm rim, but we also mounted them on a 27mm rim where we preferred it over the standard 2.3” version as well.

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We rode the tires primarily in Pacific Northwest duff, roots, and slab. The knobs are tall enough that they dig into all soil types other than the deepest duff or mud, yet not so tall that they fold unpredictably on rock, root, or hard pack. A recent dry spell allowed us to put these tires to the test in loose over hard conditions with similar success. The Minion DHRII WT is a winner in just about all conditions, and seems to find grip easily. Compared to the much loved Minion DHF, we found that the DHRII is a better choice for riders looking for improved braking performance, but they don’t roll quite as quickly. The Schwalbe Magic Mary is also a worthy comparison, especially with the updated WT casing. Now they’re nearly identical widths, with Schwalbe taking the nod for traction in softer conditions and the DHRII WT taking the nod for rolling speed and performance in firmer conditions.

After months of riding heavier tires, we were somewhat apprehensive with the switch, but the EXO casing held up as a daily driver and beer-leaguer. For most locations, we feel that the EXO casing is more than capable; however we would lean towards the Double Down casing for rugged riding and serious racing.

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Long Term Durability

No issues here. We found tire wear to be similar to the standard casing on a narrow rim, and much improved compared to a narrow casing on a wide rim. The cornering knobs are showing some wear, as are the braking edges on the rear, but nothing that we wouldn’t expect after more than a few hundred miles of riding.

Things That Could Be Improved

No real qualms here, either. We’re willing to bet that some riders will note that the updated WT casing is somewhat conservative, but we feel that the width and volume are very well-suited to traditional and wide rim profiles. Perhaps the EXO casing could be a tad stouter, boosting our confidence when things got mega rowdy or if we were to enter an enduro race on a burly track, but we've yet to experience any issues from everyday riding.

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What's The Bottom Line?

Take home point: great tires. We hope to see the Wide Trail casing across Maxxis’ entire lineup, and we would even run the DHRII WT on more traditional rims. Gains are marginal compared to the 2.3” version, but they’re still worth the upgrade when it comes time to purchase your next set. With excellent cornering, braking, and predictability you’ll be hard pressed to find a negative review of the DHRII WT.

For more details, visit maxxis.com


About The Review

Joel Harwood has been playing in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia for the last nine years. He spends his summer months coaching DH race groms in the Whistler Bike Park, and guiding XC riders all over BC. He dabbles in all types of racing, but is happiest while blasting his trail bike down trails that include rock slabs, natural doubles, and west coast tech. On the big bike he tends to look for little transitions and manuals that allow him to keep things pointed downhill, rather than swapping from line to line. Attention to detail, time in the saddle, and an aggressive riding style make Joel a rider that demands the most from his products. Joel's ramblings can also be found at straightshotblog.com.

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10 comments newest first

I've been running these back to back against Schwalbe tires (both Magic Mary and Nobby Nic). They get the nod on cornering and braking but lack the air volume and 'float' of the Schwalbe tires. Not to mention, they're heavier. Schwalbe needs to make something that corners really well and rolls faster than the MM.

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Interesting observation. The volume of the DHR2 2.4" is slightly larger than the Schwalbe NN & MM 2.35" (61mm vs 60mm) according to the figures from both manufacturers, so I'm wondering why they would feel different in terms of volume and "float". This might be down to the rubber compounds used, as Schwalbe is well known for having softer and slower rebounding rubber than Maxxis, and perhaps that's the case in the Trailstar vs Maxx Terra. I would suggest the 2.5"(63mm) Shorty or DHF in 3C Maxx Grip if you are looking for those features, as they use a higher volume casing with slower rebounding and tackier compounds. Even though they are heavier, I have found the EXO sidewall preferable to Snakeskin when it comes to puncture resistance and sidewall support. In terms of longevity, the Maxxis tires are superior and in my opinion this a greater advantage than the 45-65 gram weight penalty. Schwalbe does make a tire than corners better and rolls faster than the MM: the Dirty Dan. You just have to take the time to trim the knobs down to achieve this aspect. Unfortunately they don't make it in Snakeskin/Trailstar so once again you pay a weight penalty but increase stability, grip and puncture resistance with the SG/Vertstar version.

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Well said, and great suggestions to try in the future. Expensive experiments but huge returns. I still have both sets installed on the same rims (31.6mm ID), so I'll take a measurement. I was bottoming out the rim using the DHR II ocassionaly while the Nobby Nic never caused an issue. I completely agree on the sidewall strength - Maxxis takes the win. If Maxxis makes the DHR II in a larger volume casing, I think that'll be the ticket.

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I agree, a DHR2 in a 2.5/63mm casing with Maxx Grip rubber would be stellar. It's completely possible that the Schwalbes have a higher volume (perhaps due to a taller casing) than the Maxxis of comparable size. I firmly believe excellent tires are probably the best investment one can make to improve the ride of any bike. With the 30mm ID rims and 2.5" WT Shorty's I've been on, I finally found that a trail bike rim/tire combo that comes close to mimicking the all-out grip of a DH tire without the weight penalty. Hopefully I will get the chance to try out some WT Double Down versions this season for the rougher, higher speed trails I occasionally ride. There are still some trails where I still prefer to run a 2.3 rear on a (lighter) 23mm ID rim for lower rolling resistance and weight, but in conjunction with the 3C 2.5" WT on 30mm ID rim up front. Those with a keen eye will have noticed this type of set-up on Damian Oton's Devinci from the recent EWS rounds, although he's running a 23mm ID front wheel with 2.5 WT Shorty and 21mm rear with a Highroller. http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/13494113/

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I've got some 2.5 Shorty WT's on 30mm internal rims and they are grip monsters. The 3C MaxxGrip compound on them is like a combo of Super Tacky and Slow Reezay from what I understand, which is grippier and slower rebounding than previous single-ply MaxxGrip tires.

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So if I understand this correctly, the difference between these and the previous model is basically like the difference you feel between DHF 2.3 and DHF 2.5?

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That's about right assuming that the casings are the same. I have always preferred the added sidewall stiffness of a DH casing, in addition to the footprint. I think the WT will just about replace the 2.3" in a fairly short time.

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I run the dhf 2.5 wt's in the double down casing in the front of my hd3 mounted on ibis 741's with a 35mm internal width and they are great. I would love to run this dhr2 wt in the rear but I destroy tires in Arizona and need to be able to run a double down casing in the rest also. Any idea if Maxxis will offer this in DD anytime soon?

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I have a set of WT tires (DHF/DHR2) on some 25mm internal hoops and l like them a lot more than the 2.3s I had.. The WT tires hook up well, even on narrower rims than they're designed for (32-36mm) and they're more stable at higher speeds.. the 2.3s felt drifty.

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2 member reviews

Nice rear tire

Rating:
The Good:

They roll pretty decent and are very predictable going downhill. I run about 30psi and haven’t had any pinch flats and wear seems good.

The Bad:

I have had traction issues when climbing and the dirt is dry. I have to make sure I’m in the saddle with weight over it.

Overall Review:

Good tire and will definitely buy it again

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0 comments newest first

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Good grip to weight ratio

Rating:
The Good:

Tread design, ease of install, lighter weight than the DHF.

The Bad:

The sidewall doesn't hold up to rough trails.

Overall Review:

Initial Impressions

The Maxxis Minion has been a favorite tire of mine since 2011. I have used it quite aggressively and had great performance.  I purchased a new bike in 2016 that came specced with this as the rear tire.  The idea seemed good to me.  A slightly lighter tire in the rear with a different tread pattern designed to bite more for pedaling grip etc.  I had already spent a lot on my bike and I didn't see any reason to switch.

Function

Installing the DHR II doesn't take too much effort.  Their tubeless bead holds well while still being easy to put on the rim and take off when needed.  The tread pattern does well while pedaling and I have always felt confident in the corners.  The DHR II provides a lot of traction.  I would suggest it for all mountain riding.  It has handled bike park days really well too.

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Durability

The two durability issues that come up with tires are tread wear, and sidewall punctures.  The DHR II has a performed well for me with the tread wear.  I have gotten approximately 500 miles of riding on the tire each time.  It would have lasted longer if it wasn't for unlucky sidewall slices.  Both times I punctured the sidewall were on trails with really sharp rocks.  Maxxis offers another version of this tire with thier double down wall reinforcement, but at $65-75 depending on sales etc, I hoped to see this tire have better sidewall protection.  I have gone through three of these tires in two years, so that isn't awful considering how much I have ridden on them.

Bottom Line

Maxxis makes a great tire, and the DHR II is no exception.  It is the perfect tire for a rider who is looking to maximize grip and keeping the weight in control.  The price is a bit high for me but they last a long time barring any sidewall trouble.  If you ride exclusively downhill or have tons of sharp rocks on your local trails, I would consider another option.  

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Specifications
Product Maxxis Minion DHR II Tires
Riding Type Downhill, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Wheel Size 26", 27.5" (650b), 29"
Tire Width
  • 2.3 inches
  • 2.4 inches
  • 2.6 inches
Tubeless Compatible Tubeless Ready (TR) available
Bead Foldable
Durometer 3C MaxxTerra, 3C MaxxGrip, Dual Compound, Single Compound, or Super Tacky Compound options
Sidewall 60 TPI or 120 TPI Dual Ply
EXO, DD (Double Down), or Butyl Insert casing options available
Weight
  • 1 lb 10.6 oz (755 g)
  • 2 lb 4.7 oz (1,040 g)
Miscellaneous 3C MaxxTerra
An intermediate compound configuration that is softer and offers more traction yet provides better treadwear and less rolling resistance.

3C MaxxGrip
Uses the softest rubber compounds to offer more grip and slow rebound properties for improved traction in downhill applications.

EXO Casing
A cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant material added to the sidewalls. This densely woven fabric is lightweight and flexible, ensuring that tire performance is unaffected. Good for rocky trails where there's the chance of sidewall cuts and abrasion is high.

Double Down (DD) Casing
The next step in the evolution of the dual-ply tire casing for enduro racing. Two 120 TPI casing layers reinforced with a butyl insert provide the support and protection of a downhill tire but in a lighter package.

DH Butyl Insert Protection
An extra piece of butyl rubber that extends from the bead of a downhill tire up into the sidewall helping prevent pinch flats, protects the rim from hard hits, and adds sidewall stability.

Wide trail (WT) Construction
Optimizes the tire tread layout and profile on wider rims (30-35mm inner widths).
Price
  • $64
  • $91
More Info

Maxxis website​

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