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Maxxis Minion DHR II – the benchmark hardcore mountain bike back tire

Minion DHR II is the benchmark hardcore ‘fit and forget’ mountain bike back tire for a whole bunch of reasons

Minion DHR MTB tire
(Image: © Guy Kes)

Our Verdict

Slower rolling but excellent all-condition grip in a carcass and size option for every aggro user means the Minion DHR II totally deserves it’s benchmark favorite reputation.

For

  • - Fit and forget favourite
  • - Excellent inline grip
  • - Excellent hard cornering grip
  • - Carcasses for all occasions
  • - Compounds for all occasions

Against

  • - Noticeable drag
  • - Premium price
Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

Awesome aggressive grip, zero sketchy habits and a ton of well-judged carcass and compound options mean you’ll see a Maxxis Minion DHR fitted to more new and well used mountain bikes than any other MTB rear tire. It works well up front in a lot of situations too. So what are the details that make it so good and where does it work best? Slightly binary behavior and slower roll mean it might not be the Maxxis for everyone though and price is always an investment, but it is definitely one of the best mountain bike tires available.

Minion DHR Tread

Big, blocky siped tread is ready to grip anywhere but its not the fastest (Image credit: GuyKes)

Design

The original DHR was a great tire but the release of the Mk II version a few years back was when back wheel Cinders really crashed the rubber ball. The big center blocks got a little bit of High Roller (another leading Maxxis tire model) style ramping to make it look faster which combined with the lean loving L-shape and split square side blocks from it’s big brother, the DHF model. Big gaps and serious sipes (central slots to allow the top of the tread to deform to the trail loads) give it a caricature ‘Swamper’ look and make sure it clears filthy conditions as well as that suggests too.

Specifications

As well as a retread, Maxxis bulked up the carcass options of all their trail/enduro tires at the same time. A light dual-ply DD casing and a ‘silkworm’ wrapped Exo+ casing filled the middle ground between the existing ultra-heavy DH and lightweight Exo. This created a prefect rear and front combo for riders who were hitting stuff harder and harder as bikes got longer, slacker and faster and possibly had ten kilos worth of battery and motor on board too. 

Sizing options expanded to cover everything between XC and Plus and 30mm and wider rims gained a specific 2.4in WT ‘Wide Tire’ version to restore the correct profile and pliability characteristics on a broad base. 

Minion DHR Hotpatch

There are Minion DHR casing and compound options for every occasion from trail to DH (Image credit: GuyKes)

Performance

Tires start becoming favorites by being easy to fit, and while there are always some rims that seem to be a pain, Maxxis blow up without much stress or swearing on most rims we test. The slightly stiffer Exo+ and DD options also seem to inflate easier, although they can be more of a fight to fit at first. So overall, not the dreamiest to fit, but certainly not the worst either. Unlike a lot of tires they blow up exactly the size they should too.

Once on, the stress is pretty much gone. Presuming you got the right carcass weight for your riding (rarely kill a tire = Exo, regular sidewall splitter = Exo+, regular rim dinger = DD, frame breaking, shock blowing animal = DH), your Minion will be a component you completely forget about. It’ll handle low pressures without burping. Give a great balance of traction boosting compliance but still stay supportive when you’re really throttling it through turns. It’s damped enough to add calm and control but doesn’t feel dead and even the heavily reinforced versions aren’t so stiff they’ll hammer your feet or blow bottles out of cages. Compared to similarly though tires at each level it’s an acceptable weight too.

The wide, open, block tread is similarly utterly reliable whatever the conditions. Literally from loose, kitty litter trail center surfaces in summer to dirty Welsh woods in winter, you can go super heavy on the brakes and slam lean angles knowing that a DHR II will let you get away with more than almost any other tire. While the softer triple compounds start to round off pretty quick the well-supported knobs never rip off and while we have seen some warped carcasses, that’s a badge of hardcore honor not an indictment on the casing. 

The only downside is that even with the obvious ramping those big blocks and gaps mean it’s almost a gear slower (sorry, without a Scandinavian rolling drum lab to play with that’s the best anecdotal metric I can give you) under power than a DHF and a gear and a bit slower than a Maxxis Dissector/Aggressor. A DHF is going to slide or slip more easily if you get heavy on the brakes or torque though and all-round Dissector/Aggressor grip isn’t even on the same page.  The amount of sensibly progressive carcass options and sizing gives Maxxis an edge over the ranges from Schwalbe and WTB and makes Hutchinson, Michelin, Specialized, Bontrager, Vee etc. look very restricted in terms of choice.

Verdict

There are very few truly fit and forget tires that excel in almost every situation. The Minion DHR might not flatter fitness, but it’s certainly a tire I know I can always trust to have my back whatever the trail is doing. Crucially the whole range means there'll be one I could recommend to any aggressive rider without worrying they’ll be nothing but ‘totally stoked’. Shopping around should get you a better deal on price too, and even the more basic Dual Compound options are better than most competition.

Tech Specs: Maxxis Minion DHR II

  • PRICE $90.00 / £69.99 (29 x 2.4in WT 3C Exo+)
  • SIZES: 26 x 2.3, 2.4 WT, 27.5 x 2.3, 2.4 WT and 2.6, 29 x 2.3, 2.4 WT and 2.6in
  • COMPOUND: DC, 3C MaxxTerra, 3C MaxxGrip
  • CARCASS: EXO, EXO+, DD, DH
  • DIMENSIONS 61mm (2.39in) on 30mm rim (Exo+ 29 x 2.4 WT)
  • WEIGHT: 1010g (Exo+ 29 x 2.4 WT)

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg