Traction? Rolling resistance? Weight? Durability? These are all things that run through your head when figuring out what tires you want next. Since I spend all day every day at a bike shop, I try a lot of tires and always try ones that make sense for where I ride, new ones, popular ones and some occasional random experimental tires.
I’ve always been a Maxxis Ardent fan. For the dry/dusty/ loose-over-hardpack conditions that I ride the majority of the time, Maxxis Ardent tires work very, very well. They are light, they roll superfast and have good air volume in the 2.4’’ width. I usually run the EXO version in the rear for extra protection, and the regular TR version in the front to save some weight. I am not a big rider (150lbs) so I rarely destroy tires. Also, most of the riding out here in SoCal is not filled with sharp rocks, so I just about never tear sidewalls.
As I recently wore through my Maxxis Ardent tires and wanted to try something else, I went for the Minion DHR II tires. They are now offered in the size I wanted and I’ve always loved them on the downhill bike. So I figured that putting them on my Yeti SB4.5c would be sweet. And it was!
When comparing weights -
Maxxis Ardent 29 x 2.40 Tire, Folding, 60tpi, Dual Compound, EXO, Tubeless Ready mpn: TB96793100 - Weight = 805g (Used for rear tire)
Maxxis Ardent 29 x 2.40 Tire, Folding, 60tpi, Dual Compound, Tubeless Ready mpn: TB96793000 - Weight = 775g (Used for front tire)
Maxxis Minion DHR 2 K tire, 29 x 2.4" 3C/EXO/TR/WT mpn: TB96797100 - Weight = 955g (Used for front and rear)
Total weight added to my bike by switching from Ardents to Minion DHR 2’s = 330g (0.73lbs)
So there was a pretty significant difference in weight…oh well. The Maxxis Minion DHR 2’s stuck to the ground better than the Maxxis Ardent tires. You would assume this, given the much more aggressive tread on the top and side knobs. I was pretty shocked with the amount of traction gain. I think the main difference is that both Ardents and Minions -- when brand new -- have incredible traction. Minions are a bit better of course, but both are amazing. However, after a month or two the traction I got from the Ardents seems to really fade as the tire ages, hardens and wears out. The Minion DHR II’s just did not fade as quickly. They still shredded rubber of course, but they kept their incredible traction a lot longer than the Ardents.
Overall I think the ¾ pound of added weight is worth the extra traction, especially in the summer, when California gets unbelievably slippery because of dry, loose sandy dirt on top of hard pack. I might switch back to the Ardents in the winter when there is a bit more traction, but for now I’ll enjoy these Minions :)
If you’re considering some fresh tires, check out our massive selection of Maxxis and all the other big dog tire brands. There are a lot to choose from. If you need help deciding on a good tire for you personally, contact us! We eat, sleep and breathe mountain bikes. We ride all the time and many of us travel all over the country -- and even the world -- riding bikes in different terrain and testing out different tires. We are happy to make a recommendation for you based on your bike, riding style and terrain/dirt consistency.
Author: Jeff Cayley - Founder/Co-owner at Worldwide Cyclery