Review | Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.4 Wide Trail and 2.3 | Ride Report

Maxxis Minion DHR II is an all-round, all mountain tire that works both ways. One of the go-to tires for a wide range of terrain and conditions, Maxxis DHR II is now available in a new, wider, grippier 2.4 “Wide Trail” design. Here’s how it rides, as a rear and front.
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This review covers the Maxxis Minion DHR II in the new 2.4 Wide Trail width, as well as the 2.3 version. I’ve tested this tire on 26″, 650B and 29, in SuperTacky compound (26″), 3C MaxxTerra (26″, 650B, 29) and Dual (650B, 29), all in EXO casing.

Maxxis DHR II 2.4

DHR II 2.4 on front

Maxxis DHR II 2.3

DHR II 2.3 on rear

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Minion DHR II – the designation stands for the classic Minion DownHill Rear tire, revised version (II). The DHR II’s predecessor, the DHR, was widely considered a sub-par choice compared to the all-time favorite DHF (“front”). The DHR II, however, was an instant hit. With its stout side knobs, courtesy of the Minion DHF, it provides ample cornering grip, and its square center knobs bring another level of braking traction to the trail. With rolling resistance more than acceptable, what’s not to like? 

Nothing. In fact, the DHR II is so good that I like to ride it on the front, as well. Why not take the DHF, you may ask? Maxxis certainly knows a lot more about tires than I do, and if they decide to give their tires designations like “front” and “rear”, you might as well stick to the advice, right?

Not exactly right, in this case. But let me explain:

DHR II as a Front Tire 

The original, 26″ DHF 2.5 is an old design and pretty narrow by today’s standards. It is a good tire with a great profile, but against a true 2.5 tire, it looks like a poor little thing. Its ETRTO 55-559 sizing indicates it should run about 55mm wide – that’s smaller than the company’s newer 26″ DHF 2.3 and smaller than the DHR II 2.3 at 58-559 – whereas the 26″ DHR II 2.4 measure 61-559. So going for a DHR II over a DHF is a smart choice if you’re on 26″. I’ve been riding the DHR II 2.4 on my 26″ bike for several years now, enjoying its ultra grippy SuperTacky compound on the front and 3C MaxxTerra on the rear. It is an awesome combination for dry to intermediate conditions (where the Shorty is the better choice), and I especially value the braking traction it provides. 

Recently, Maxxis not only introduced a couple of really big tires (Highroller 2.8, anyone?), but has gone wider on its classic tires, as well, in combination with their Wide Trail design to have the tire profile better match the wider rims many riders are running nowadays. Maxxis adds the sweet spot for Wide Trail is around 35mm internal width, but I found ~30mm to be a very good fit. So we now have tires like DHF 2.5, Shorty 2.5 and DHR II 2.4 for 650B and 29er, and, with the exception of the DHF, for 26″, too (thank you, Maxxis). As said, the 26″ DHF 2.5 is still the old, narrow design, but on the other wheel sizes, you have free choice to go wide with each of the three.

Does that imply running the DHR II on the front is just a workaround, because a wide trail DHF is not available for 26″? Is 26″ the only wheel size to run a DHR II as a front tire? Not necessarily. In fact, depending on the capabilities you are looking for in your front and rear tire, you might rather want to put the DHF on the back and the DHR II on the front of your bike.

DHR II vs. DHF

Compared to a same-size Minion DHF, the Minion DHR II offers roughly the same cornering grip, but significantly better braking traction. On the other hand, the DHF has better directional stability and rolls a little better. So it really depends on what type of limit you want to push: If you’re going for outright speed on faster trails, the DHF is probably the better choice on the front. But if you want to push the edge in super steep and technical terrain, I think you should try the DHR II. The braking traction nicely supports whatever front-wheel braking you can afford to keep in control. The steeper and more challenging the terrain, the less useful your rear brake gets – and when it gets really nasty, your front brake is the only thing between control and crashing. That’s why I believe the DHR II is even more valuable as a front tire. The DHR II works wonderfully as a rear tire, too, offering plenty of cornering and braking traction in all situations. But if you care a lot about rolling resistance, want to run a similar profile on both ends and don’t mind the occasional question by a fellow rider, try mounting the DHF on the rear and the DHR II on the front. 

Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.4 Review Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.3 Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grip

Grip is amazing – the sturdy profile has you finding grip where you thought you’d skid and slide at best. The DHR II is a tire with wide limits, one that provides plenty of control, and even though its boundaries are defined, it is a good-natured, well-meaning tire that will not let you down when you’re riding on the edge. The 2.4 has bigger knobs and takes an already excellent tire one step further into gnarland.

Cornering

The DHR II got the DHF’s famous side knobs, so it comes as no surprise that it corners on rails, just like its bigger brother. Everybody who has been running the DHF for a while has grown accustomed to the pleasant feeling when the side knobs hook up. One moment you felt you might lose it, the next you’re firmly in your comfort zone. Cornering on Minions has always meant control and confidence, and the DHR II wears its Minion badge with pride. 

Braking 

This tire shines everywhere, but braking is the DHR II’s forte – here, it outperforms most other tires, including the legendary DHF. The 2.3 offers outstanding braking traction, but the 2.4 takes it to another level. Especially on the 2.4 version, braking is like throwing an anchor. Where you’ve previously lost traction, the DHR II lets you know you’re not even close to the edge, with ample braking power at the tip of your fingers. Running a 2.4 on the rear seriously changes the way your tire breaks away – in that it doesn’t, mostly, and you better have an equally capable tire on the front. If you like to slide your rear a lot (you shouldn’t, for the trails sake), this is not your rear tire.   

Stability

The DHR II is long-lasting and the EXO casing is sturdy enough for most uses. If you’re shredding super rocky terrain all week, you should think about a wire bead casing tire, but I had very little flats or punctures, and I’ve used almost a dozen DHR II tires on different bikes. The casing is not as comfortable as some others out there, but it works well. As always, Maxxis tires were easy to set up tubeless (whether they carry the TR designation or not) and not prone to burping. 

Rolling Resistance

It is really just fine, in my opinion. I’m used to running a lot of tire, so you might differ. But considering its capabilities, the DHR II is still fairly lightweight. It may roll a little worse than the DHF, which means it probably rolls a little worse than your current rear tire, but you’ll likely get another level of braking and cornering, as well. In any case, it is worth it.

Weight

As a 650b, the 2.3 tips the scales at 790 grams, a very respectable weight taking into account its capabilities. The heaviest folding bead casing DHR II is the 29 2.4 at 955 grams, still a tire that I’d not consider heavy for all mountain use, especially given its agreeable rolling resistance. 

Maxxis Minion DHR II Terrain Conditions

 

Terrain & Conditions

As a rear tire, I’m running the DHR II in both widths throughout the year, unless there is a mud fest. On the front, I’d trust the 2.4 most of the year. It finds its limits only when the ground is soft, deep and loamy, when most tires utterly fail and you’re wondering whether you should mount intermediates or true mud tires. Everything else, from rocky terrain to soft forest trails, the DHR II handles perfectly fine. It is a real all purpose tire that you can take along for long backcountry rides, as well as more descent-minded days, and a wire bead casing is available, as well. 

Tim’s Take: The DHR II is exactly what most riders are looking for in an all-round, all mountain and enduro tire: Amazing grip, outstanding braking traction and reasonable rolling resistance, all in one sturdy package. In the 2.4 width, you get bigger knobs, too, so it is a formidable front tire, as well. Outside the wet season, there’s little reason to look elsewhere. 

 

Tech Information

Manufacturer: Maxxis

Model: Minion DHR II

Wheel sizes: 26×2.3 – 26×2.4 (tested) – 27.5×2.3 (tested) – 27.5×2.4 (tested) – 29×2.3 (tested) – 29×2.4 (tested)

Weight: 895 (26×2.4) – 790 (27.5×2.3) – 900 (27.5×2.4) – 855 (29×2.3) – 955 (29×2.4) (weights according to manufacturer, EXO Protection, 3C MaxxTerra compound except 29×2.3 (Dual and 3C MaxxTerra) and 26×2.4 (SuperTacky and 3C MaxxTerra)

Price (MSRP): 53.50 € (26“) to 69.50 € –  $78

    • Chris on August 19, 2016 at 01:11

    Reply

    I have the dhf 2.3 3c exo (26) on the front and its a total beast . Now i just need to figure out if i want a dhrII or dhf 2.3 dual compound on the rear . what would be better as an all year around set up other than an occasional ardent 2.25(r)?
    Flatish midwest terrain , damp wettish , greasy conditions but never soaking wet / muddy .
    *Trails close when muddy*

    1. Tim
      • Tim on August 19, 2016 at 06:33
      • Author

      Reply

      I’d suggest trying the DHR II 2.4 on the front. For damp wettish and greasy terrain, the Shorty might be a good choice on the front, as well. On the rear, I’d prefer the 2.3 DHR II over the DHF for the better braking traction, unless you want to minimize rolling resistance.

        • Chris on August 27, 2016 at 17:30

        Reply

        Wouldnt the side knobs of a hrII 2.3 (3c)bite better in damp to soft conditions soil than the bigger knobed 2.4 dhrii as a front tire ?

        1. Tim
          • Tim on September 24, 2016 at 20:02
          • Author

          Reply

          Thanks, Chris. The Highroller II is an excellent tire that performs well in soft / slightly wet conditions, but I prefer the cornering bite of the Minions. And when wet, I prefer the Shorty over the HR II.

    • Juan on September 24, 2016 at 19:09

    Reply

    Hi Tim, I am Juan from Spain, I ride in Basque Country, muddy terrain in winter. I have a Enduro 29″ with Magic Mary front and Minion SS in the rear. Now in Winter usually is wet trails.

    I think I Will use the Magic mary but I don’t know in the rear, the SS is a semislicks… And it would be bad wet tyre…

    I don’t want too much resistence like buy other Magic, then I think Shorty is similar…

    But Minion DHR2 maybe is a good choice, but what size? 2.3 or 2.4? I read that 2.4 is better in grip, but how much rolling difference?

    Thanks

    1. Tim
      • Tim on September 24, 2016 at 20:12
      • Author

      Reply

      Thanks, Juan. I’d definitely drop the semi slick. The added grip of an intermediate tire is worth the rolling resistance, and having a draggy rear will have you feel fit in spring. You’ll have to decide how much rear grip and braking traction you need. Some riders like a loose rear in wet / muddy conditions, but I prefer having traction on both ends in the steeps. In real mud, I’d want a Shorty or Baron front and back, especially if it is the greasy, clay type of mud that clogs even a tire with above average self-cleaning. If there’s a lot of rocky or loose over hardback, you can probably get away with a DHR II. The 2.4 is so much better that I’m running it on the rear of my bike, but I must admit that the hit in rolling resistance is felt. If you’re really concerned about rolling resistance, I’d suggest you try a DHR II 2.3 first (but I’d still go 3C MaxxTerra over Dual) and if that turns out to be not enough as the trails get more sloppy, you can upgrade to the 2.4 or the Shorty.

    • Juan on September 24, 2016 at 21:39

    Reply

    Ummm, thanks! The question is how much rolling resistance? 2.3 vs 2.4″? 10%, 30% or like a Magic Mary!.

    I alredy have a Minion Dhr2 dual on my Rear tyre, but I broke ir in the side with rocks… Is not lime the SS, but neither a monster! I would like to ride with 2 Magic Marys but I am old and bad Biker, jeje, not jave rime to ride…

    The mud maybe 1or 3 days is like a clay, and there are not lot of rocks here, many grass, single trails, stones…

    Thanks!
    PD: I have a Scott Spark 910 for rallie!

    1. Tim
      • Tim on September 25, 2016 at 09:32
      • Author

      Reply

      Going from 2.3 to 2.4 is a big difference, both in grip and rolling resistance, since the knobs are bigger on the 2.4 tire. For the front, I’d say a Shorty or Baron is a bit better on soft ground, in the wet and mud, but the Mary is a bit better in dry conditions. The deeper the mud, the better slim tires work over wide tires, so on the rear, a 2.3 with good self-cleaning (e.g. Shorty) will be a good choice unless the mud gets so deep that you have to mount a ‘real’ mud tire (e.g. Conti Mud King, Specialized Storm, etc.). So I’d recommend you try the 2.3 DHR II until it slides too much and then mount a 2.3 Shorty.

    • Juan on October 18, 2016 at 21:48

    Reply

    Hi again Tim!
    Finally I bouhgt Minion DHR2 EXO Dual for my rear wheel on my Spe Enduro 29″, last Saturday in my first day with that Minio I was on a bike park, very well, but today I broke the side with a rock, imposible to repair ir with my Stans no tubes sealant, I ha e to put a inner tube, grrrr, sucks!

    Now I have to buy another rear wheel, and I want more than EXO protection becausd I broke 3 Maxxis on 4 months. But what? Minion DHR2 2.4 DD? Or Shorty (any DD or reinforce)

    Thanks

    1. Tim
      • Tim on October 19, 2016 at 13:16
      • Author

      Reply

      Hi Juan,

      the DHR II is not yet available in the stronger casing (DoubleDown), except in the US. If you can’t get a US tire shipped to your location, you’d have to go wire casing – but unless you’re spending most of your time in the park, I would avoid the added weight on the rear wheel. You could try the new Maxxis Aggressor, it is available in a 2.3 DoubleDown Dual version which should work well on the rear.

      Minion DHF can work very well as a rear, too. It rolls a bit better than the DHR II, has better directional stability but the DHR II is better in braking traction. Unfortunately, DoubleDown is only available in the 2.5 Wide Trail versions of DHF and Shorty, and they are MaxxGrip, as well – so not an ideal rear tire choice. If you want maximum traction at the expense of rolling efficiency, try the Baron on the rear. Its casing is a bit firmer, and it will work very well in winter, wet, and light mud conditions.

      If you want a fast-rolling rear and mainly need cornering traction, you could try a Minion Semislick in the Silkworm version, especially for the park and if you’re not needing a lot of straight-line braking – but the Semislick is not an ideal choice for winter / mud / wet conditions, of course.

    • Carl on January 3, 2017 at 02:26

    Reply

    Hey Tim

    You made the point early on in this review about internal rim width being significant when running the 2.4 option. Then the subject seemed to disappear in the considerations…

    Given your view about 30mm being good in your experience for the 2.4 what if you’re running 27/28mm internal on 650b ofr tyres that wide???

    There is a lot of really great data in your reviews but I may be over thinking now. I was going to go Mary Exo TS compound front and back. Maybe there is no reason not to?? I tried a Dampf Exo TS on the rear in dry conditions to compare this rolling resistance issue but I agree with you about its braking ability in loose or loamy …. especially compared to a Mary.

    I ride quite mixed terrain as the trails are through mixed deciduous and coniferous forest. So I can get some loam, hard packed mud (not man made hardpack), loose over that hardpack, roots, dusty roots, marbles in areas, very very little rock. I’m also a bit fair weather and don’t really do mud/slop (what’s the point) …moist is as far as it goes generally :)

    I’ve run Mary Exo TS front and back before and I think they are quite light for an aggressive trail tyre. Much lighter than that and you know the problems you get. That brings me to an important parameter I think, which is style / type of riding. Really important in the tests but very rarely discussed on Forums … where people are spouting opinions all over the place without this context … and a lot of people are peddlers

    I only ride up to reach a DH track. I don’t find Mary’s drag that badly. I also don’t bother as I am happy to get off and hike/climb if necessary.

    I ride 160mm front and back …. soon to go 170mm front and back (but super light rig at 28lbs) and ride gnarly steep Enduro or Super-Enduro tracks (including jumps/drops) … whatever you want to call them. They were DH tracks not that many years ago :)

    I’m thinking Mary front and back and stuff the rolling resistance????? … when you’re on steep gnarly descents …. where’s the rolling resistance !?!?!

    Be grateful for your thoughts….

    1. Tim
      • Tim on January 3, 2017 at 09:14
      • Author

      Reply

      Thanks, Carl – there’s research from ENVE that suggests rim width has a smaller effect than many of us believe – but I swear I can feel the difference. That said, I’d say whatever works on a 30 ID rim will work on a 28mm ID rim as well.

      I’m currently riding Shorty 2.5 front, Shorty 2.3 rear and can highly recommend that combination as an all-round setup – it is outstanding on soft ground, forest, light mud, and it still works well in other conditions. On rocky terrain / in dry conditions, a DHR II or DHF will offer a little more performance. Magic Mary will work nicely, as well.

      Just like you, rolling resistance is a small issue to me, and that’s why I tend to run a grippy rear tire, as well. If you’re mostly climbing fire roads instead of trails, you may even consider DH casing tires for greater casing strength and puncture resistance. If a true DH casing is not needed, but you feel a 1-ply tire is a little soft, Maxxis DoubleDown could be a good compromise.

    • Carl on January 3, 2017 at 13:50

    Reply

    Thanks for both your answers in each separate thread Tim … appreciated !

    Great perspective here. That’s actually opened my mind some more. I wouldn’t and never have even looked at a Shorty before (of any size) just because it’s a spike …. even though it’s a semi. Just the word ‘spike’ in the title puts your head into auto-pilot and you start thinking …. well, I’m rarely in mud or all round soft so why run any type of spike. I’d never even thought of it. Always thought they would squirm out of soft. I’m going to look at that 2.5 / 2.3 combo you recommend for all round.

    By the way … totally agree with the Minion choice for rocky / dry. I’ve been running the big DHF super tacky front and back in Whistler for 2 years on the 26″ DH bike. They’re as good as the original 26″ Der Kaiser Black Chilli which were always insane grippy on dusty rock and roots …. they’re just hard or impossible to get now and good luck getting a Continental on Enve rims anyway :)

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