Point them at any trail without fear. GW photo.
Maxxis sent TGR the Minion DHF/DHR II plus tires for some testing and we have to admit, the combo works as good as advertised. They brake and corner like no other tire we've tested.
Size: 27.5 X 2.80
DHR II (rear)
Size: 27.5 X 2.80
Notice the deep sipes on the center knobs. GW photo.
Maxxis' Minion DHF (front) has long been the standard for beefy, relentless rubber. Before the DHR’s (rear) redesign to DHR II, many folks might ran the DHF front and rear. Now, of course, with the rear's better rolling resistance and braking, the combo is run more regularly.
Both tires feature 3C layups (3 types of rubber in the layup, softest on top, firmest near the casing), MAXX TERRA formulation (meaning a harder overall rubber matrix than their Maxx Grip and softer than Maxx Speed) with a pliable EXO insert in the sidewall for cut protection.
The new DHRII 2.8 sports some of the most aggressive rear paddles I've seen. GW photo.
For the tires' 2.8 'plus' width, Maxxis bulked up the knobs and optimized the carcass for wider rims. And in this case, more of a good thing is… way more of a good thing.
I set them up on some terrific 35mm internal-width Atomik Chubby 43 carbon wheels with i9 hubs. I mounted the wheels on an FSR Stumpjumper 6 fattie with 150mm travel in the front and 135mm in the rear—a bike I reviewed earlier.
They give your bike a super menacing look. GW photo.
This combo created one of the most unstoppable rides I’ve ever been on. For years we’ve all repeated the mantra, "the most noticeable place to splash for performance improvement is wheels," but this tire combination really brought abstract statement into reality for me. I don’t think we’re paying enough attention to tires.
The 2.8 Minions provided an incredible level of grab. Sure, I’ve now ridden a few fatbikes, but those tend to be remarkably different; they’re running rounded-profile tires with low, even knobs. And you don't generally get them up to reckless, eye-watering speed. The Minions sport knobs of doom with shoulders of glory. You can ride them over anything with impunity and brake with absolute certainty. You will not slip. They take the guesswork out of cornering in slick, loose or pretty much any conditions. You’re staying on.
The rear tire just grabs everything. GW photo.
DHRII's (rear) paddle knobs down the center have less rolling resistance compared to the DHF, but also provide increased braking when the trail gets loose. It’s just phenomenal. You stop quicker than you think you will. You can spend less time on the brakes before a hard corner. It also means you can enter corners with more speed because the knobs will hold through it.
Again, the rear rubber warehouse. GW photo.
I’ve ridden Specialized Purgatory plus tire combinations, Bontrager Chupacabra plus tire combinations, and Vittoria Bomboloni plus tire combinations. The DHRII/DHF plus combination has them beat in terms of grip and sidewall support.
To be fair, some of those are designed to be lighter, faster rolling more all-around tires. At almost 1000 grams, the Minions are still lighter than wire-bead, hard-casing DH tires (which can a pound more per tire), but aren't featherweights.
Though damn, the Minions' sure do inspire confidence. It allows you to let your bike go faster. If you want to drift a lot, these may not be for you. But if you want the most grip I’ve been able to find to date, these are your jam.
Please make sure you run them on a rim with 30-40mm of width otherwise the profile will be weird. I was right in the middle, with 35 and it felt perfect.
They run about $95 bucks each. So this doesn't come cheap. But plus tires are more expensive than regular width, and this tire is worth it.