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Maxxis Minion DHF WT & DHRII WT

Noah Bodman reviews the Maxxis Minion DHF & DHRII WT for Blister Gear Review

Maxxis Minion DHF WT

Maxxis Minion DHF WT & DHRII WT

Dimensions:

  • 27.5” x 2.5” (DHF WT)
  • 27.5” x 2.4” (DHRII WT)

Casing: 3C / EXO / TR

Blister’s Measured Weight:

• DHF WT: 995 g

• DHRII WT: 923 g

Mounted to: WTB Asym i35 (35mm internal), Enve M70 HV (30mm internal)

Bike: Devinci Spartan RR

Test Duration: about 30 days

Test Locations: Whitefish, MT; Nelson, BC

Last fall we published a First Look at Maxxis’ new WT (Wide Trail) option that’s available on some of their tires. The tires are specifically designed with wider rims in mind, and they get a few relatively minor tweaks to the tread pattern to make them work well with the wider stance that accompanies a wider rim.

The First Look covered a lot of the discussion regarding width and the tweaks to the tread, and there’s also some great discussion in the comments, so it’s worth perusing that if you’re interested. Many people (myself included) seemed to be cautiously optimistic about the Wide Trail tires, so here’s what I can report after spending a bit more time on them.

The Ride

My initial impressions have held true: these tires are not worlds different than the regular DHF and DHRII. Switching back and forth between the Wide Trail tires and non-WT versions of the same tires, the differences are noticeable, but subtle.

The side knobs on the Wide Trails feel slightly less squirmy, which is most noticeable on harder dirt. I’m attributing that to the extra support the side knobs have on the WT tires. They also seem to be just a little bit less drifty, which I think is partly due to that side knob support, and partly due to the slightly decreased space between the side knobs and the center knobs.

Rim Width

I’ve now spent a bit of time on the Wide Trail tires mounted to both some WTB Asym i35 rims (which have a 35 mm internal width), as well as some Enve M70 HV rims that have a 30 mm internal width (review forthcoming). While Maxxis says the Wide Trail tires are designed around 35 mm rims, as we discussed in our First Look at Enve’s HV rims, there is a point of diminishing returns on sidewall support at a rim width of about 30 mm.

Going from the 35 mm rim to the 30 mm rim, I can’t say I notice a massive difference in how the tire rides. This gets a little bit tricky just because there are some pretty clear differences between how the two different wheels ride (if nothing else, the Enve’s weigh a whole lot less), and it’s not always evident what differences are attributable to the wheel vs. the tire.

That said, I think the tire felt a little more supported on the wider rim, but the difference is bordering on negligible. And when I say that the tire felt a little more supported, I mean that in a hard corner, I felt the tire flex sideways a little less on the wider rim. But on both rims, I find that I can run relatively low pressure (into the low 20’s) before I really start to find that the casing flex is becoming annoying in corners. I’ve ridden the tires with pressures as low as 18 psi, and while I find that the casing buckles in hard corners and the tire generally rolls pretty slow, it certainly wasn’t catastrophic, though I was riding relatively smooth trails.

Although I could run lower pressures, I was still happiest running around 24 psi front and 26 psi rear, which is the same as what I’d run in a non-WT, Exo casing tire. For the trails I was riding, this gave the right combination of cornering traction and sidewall support, and it also made for a tire that rolled a bit faster. At these pressures on the trails around here, I didn’t have any issues with rock strikes or dinging the rims. But on higher speed, super rocky stuff, I might go a couple psi higher.

Noah Bodman reviews the Maxxis Minion DHF & DHRII WT for Blister Gear Review

Noah Bodman on the Maxxis Minion DHF & DHRII WT tires, Whitefish, MT.

A good question that came up in the comments section of the First Look is whether the WT tires would work well on a narrower rim. I haven’t tried them on anything below 30 mm, but I’d speculate that they’d work fine, though not quite as well as the regular Minions. When mounted to a narrower (maybe around 25 mm) rim, I think the sideknobs on the regular Minions would probably bite into soft dirt a bit better and provide better cornering traction. For 2.5” tires, I think the over / under on rim width is probably somewhere around 28mm. Above that, I’d go Wide Trail. Below that, I’d go with the regular version.

Ultimately, for any bike where I’m running a rim that’s relatively wide (28+ mm), I think I’d pretty much always choose a Wide Trail tire over the regular version. That said, for most of my “normal” trail riding, I think those wider rims and the wider tires that go with them are somewhat overkill; they’re heavier, and they roll pretty slowly. But the Wide Trail tires aren’t to blame for that. They roll similarly and they’re about the same weight as the regular version, it’s just an inherent downside of a bigger tire.

Durability

There isn’t any reason why it should be noticeably different, but just to confirm, I haven’t found there to be any difference in the wear rate of the WT tires vs. the “regular” Maxxis tires. The same goes for the sidewalls; I haven’t torn anything yet, and the casing construction on my EXO WT’s is the same as on any other EXO casing Minion.

Downsides?

I’ve yet to find any downsides to the Wide Trail tires themselves. But I do certainly notice that wide tires on wide rims don’t roll particularly fast. Even mounting them to the Enve wheelset, which largely offsets the weight penalty of a wider, heavier tire, the big squared-off Minions feel pretty cumbersome on flat or rolling terrain (not to mention climbs).

This certainly isn’t news, and it isn’t something that’s specific to the Wide Trail tires. But if you’re reading all of this and thinking that wide tires on wide rims sound really nice, you should know going into it that all that cornering support comes with a penalty. Whether or not that’s worth it depends on your priorities, and perhaps your fitness.

Bottom Line

For anyone who has happily run Maxxis tires in the past, I would be very surprised if the Wide Trail version brought about a significantly different reaction. While Maxxis says that the Wide Trail versions are designed for 35 mm wide rims, I’d say the WT’s would work well on any fairly wide rim—anything over an internal width of 28 mm.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of the Maxxis Minion series of tires. They’re well put together, they hook up well in a pretty wide range of soil conditions, and they’re one of the most predictable tires on the market. And while the Wide Trail tires are currently only available in a few varieties, it’s very likely that more tires in the Maxxis lineup will be available in WT form soon. Right now, especially if you’re already on the wide rim bandwagon, the Wide Trail versions of Maxxis’ tires are some of the best tire options out there in the 2.4-2.5” widths.

4 Comments

  1. cunningo July 31, 2016 Reply

    Noah,

    If you were buying a new wheelset right now, would you buy one with an internal width of ~26mm or ~30mm?

    Comparing a few wheelsets, the weight penalty for the wider versions (say i9 enduros) is minor.

    If I’d like to be able to run Maxxis Ikons for a race and then switch to DHFWT/DHR2WT or anything in between, would the 30mm rim work against me due to limited tire options, or could I run the “old” 2.2 and 2.3 tires with good performance on the wider rims?

    It sounds like the drawbacks of the wider rims would be 1)more exposed sidewalls with traditional widths and 2)changes in some tread pattern that would reduce cornering thresholds and cause more rolling resistance.

    What would you do?

    Thanks,
    Owen

    • Noah August 1, 2016 Reply

      Hey Owen,

      You’ve pretty much pinned down the tradeoffs. Personally, I’d go with a ~26mm (internal) rim. For most trail riding I do, I prefer 2.3″ tires – they’re lighter, they roll faster, and with a good tread pattern, they still give pretty good grip. While you can certainly put a 2.3″ tire on a 30mm rim, it makes for a super square profile and you end up riding on the side knobs of the tire even when you’re not leaned over. I’m of the opinion that 2.3″ tires don’t work all that well on rims over ~27mm wide. Plus, even though the wider rims don’t weigh *that* much more, it’s rotating weight, so it’s more noticeable. Aside from that, 26mm rims aren’t exactly narrow – people have been running 2.5″ tires on those rims for a looong time. Sure, you get more sidewall support on a wider rim and the 2.5’s corner a bit better on a 30mm rim, but they still work ok on a slightly narrower rim.

      Long story short – like you said, it’s a trade off. Personally, I lean towards a narrower tire and narrower rim to save some weight and roll a little faster, but there’s plenty of people who trend the other way. It really just comes down to your priorities.

  2. Zbynek August 2, 2016 Reply

    Hi,

    does it make sense to go Minion DHF WT with 27 mm internal width rims?
    Is there any potential benefit comparing to 2,3″ tire?

    Thanks

    Zbynek

  3. Chris October 30, 2016 Reply

    Can a 2.4 (standard) minion dhr II (exo tr) perform well on 23mm internal ? Im considering going more robust up front rather than my current 2.3 exo tr dhf ?

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