Sometimes it's not given much thought but the tires are the one component that actually touches the ground. This one bike part can decide whether a ride is great or...not so great. Our friend Cole shares his thoughts on his new Maxxis Minion DHR II tire. Check it out!
Last year, at Interbike, Maxxis announced a slew of new tire sizes and casings. I perked up especially high for this one because they added a lot of support for 29ers that previously wasn't there. Now (or soon in some cases) you can get a Minion DHR II or DHF in 2.3, 2.4, or 2.6 in just about any casing you can imagine.
Prior to switching to my current setup, I had been running a 2.3 Double Down Minon DHR II in the rear with a 2.5 Stiff-as-hell DH casing Assegai on the front. No, that's not a jab at the Assegai, in fact, it's my favorite front tire, but the DH casing on it just doesn't roll fast enough for anything other than balls-out gnar at high speeds. I decided to go a bit more "trail" friendly (no, don't call the Ripmo a trail bike, its raced in the EWS) by switching my setup to a 2.6 DHF EXO (no plus) in the front, and this 2.4 DHR II EXO+ in the posterior.
The bike instantly felt more fun and quicker on downhills too, even gnarly ones. I experimented quite a bit with different front tires, yet I am dead set on the Minion DHR II as my rear tire. Whereas other less knobby tires will occasionally give you a little jolt of sliding (without you actually being in danger of crashing I might add), the DHR II slides exactly when you tell it to, no more and no less. I prefer this level of control, even on regular in town trails because it gives me the freedom (and the balls) to use only the rear brake on many intermediate descents.
Now for tonight's main attraction, EXO+ casing. You're all wondering: "can I run this instead of a Double Down and still be fine" The answer is...maybe. While I love this middle of the road casing and fully intend to make it my full-time rear tire, it's not bulletproof. On the Dragon's Back ridge trail I hit the rock garden and promptly heard sealant spewing from my rear. The Dragon's Back rock garden filled with jagged rocks ready to gobble up some tire sealant.
Now I'm fully willing to admit that I may have had too little pressure in my tire which is usually 24psi, may have picked a bad line, who knows, flats happen, plug it with bacon, move on. After this, I began researching tire inserts and decided to order some Mynesweepers which are a much cheaper alternative to Cush Core or any of the other competitors. (full review coming soon!) I had always had it in my head that I would pick one of two setups. Either Double Down casing, no insert, or EXO+ casing with an insert. I'm now running the ladder and believe it's my optimal setup, because you get all the benefits from the insert while keeping the weight around what a Double Down is. After making this adjustment, I scaled to the top of Dragon's Back once again to session that same particular rock garden, making 7 passes on it without a hiccup or a burp.
Overall, the Minion DHR II in EXO+ casing is, in my opinion, the best choice for the all-around bike that will be doing trail and bike park duty. It has an equal amount of tradeoffs and benefits in both directions and inspires confidence on both types of terrain.