Maxxis Minion DHR2

Tires: Maxxis Minion DHR2, 3C and Maxpro 60a compounds. Both 2.4 DH casing.

Bikes tested on: 2011 Turner DHR, 2011 Specialized SX

With as much as the downhill world emphasizes tires, it has struck me as odd that so little discussion is available on something that Maxxis snuck into their lineup this year.

As of this spring, the long awaited and severely needed update to the handicapped brother of the Minion DHF, the Minion DHR, has become a reality. Some photos were floating around last season of some prototypes, but that’s been about the extent of the buzz. Well, they’re here, and I’ve been riding them. A lot.

The most popular tire in downhilling has for years had to deal with its crazy toothless cousin who drools on the table and bumps into walls. If you believe in doppelgangers, that’s what the old Minion DHR is: a Gollum-like relative to the pretty brilliantly designed DHF. The DHF has meaty knobs where they’re needed; angles that work to hold dirt in corners and in braking; and most importantly, space between the bumps to let them dig in and do their thing.

And then there’s this:

DHR Profile, Blister Gear Review
DHR Profile

Pay special attention to what constitutes the upper edge in this photo (circled). That’s essentially the form this tire takes when rolling along at 20mph through the woods. There’s a big prevalent channel down the centerline, so, you know, it’ll roll straight. It grips laterally when the centerline is engaged, like in a big banked berm.

But moving out from that centerline, that profile is one thing: round. Very round, like a road bike tire. There’s no defined channel to hold dirt in “real” leaned-over corners. The side knobs are kind of blocked off by those big siped knobs that reach out pretty far.

The side knobs next to those siped braking knobs are a little taller, but then every other sideknob on each side of them reaches too far into the profile to really maintain a channel to genuinely grab material as it’s rolling along in a corner.

The unsiped “intermediate” knobs are big and flat so they help the thing roll faster—and the way they form a little “V” on the braking edge grabs dirt—but as a whole, the original DHR amounts to one thing: nothing special. If all you do is roll in a straight line and drag your brakes, then this is your tire. But, then again, you also have about a hundred other options, too.

Having owned exactly one of these tires in the past, I quickly learned all I needed to know: lean this thing over hard, and the back of your bike is sliding. That’s all there is to it. Even with a soft compound (slow reazay/40d at the time), this thing was pretty useless in corners.

19 comments on “Maxxis Minion DHR2”

  1. Hi Kevin.
    Thanks for your article.
    I ride the older DHR 2.5 and I cut vertical sipes (carefully with a dremel) into the center ridge knobs and use it as a front tire here on Vancouver Island (much better than the Kenda Nevegal OEM tire) in the wet loam/mud/bareroots/rocks and platforms. As modified, it has served as a decent rolling and tracking front tire, granted not as good as my son’s Minion DHF, (my next tire).


  2. Kevin, do you know how the width of the 2.3 and 2.4 DHR2 compares to a DHF 2.5? The 2.35 and 2.5 Maxxis tend to be undersized, but the newer 2.3 and 2.4s are reportedly measure more true. I’ll be pairing it with a 2.5 DHF and want it to be the same or slightly narrower. Thanks.

    • To answer my own question, the 2.4 DHR 2 is very slightly wider than the 2.5 DHF. I ran a 42a DHF 2.5 on the front and a 60a DHR 2 2.4 on the back all summer and it was good but can’t say I noticed much difference between a DHR 2 and a DHF on the back, maybe slightly better braking but I had new brakes this year and came off of a very worn rear tyre so it’s hard to tell. I’ll just get whichever is cheaper from now on.

      I’ve got a 2.3 DHR 2 ready to go onto the rear next spring. Not mounted yet but it looks very slightly narrower than a DHF 2.5, perfect. Shallower knobs than a 2.4 though, so maybe shorter lifespan.

  3. Thanks Kevin,

    Waiting for my 2.3 x 29 DHR II for front and back on my LTc. Peeled the knobs off my Hans Dampf and Nobby Nic…

    Thanks for the trimming tip!

  4. Im looking at your finished tire and l have to be honest, l cant see what you did. Over and over i have been trying l just dont see.

    • JDW: look at the circled knobs on page 3. Cut those in about 2-3mm on each side. It doesn’t affect the braking of the knob itself but it opens up the channel a little bit more so that the sideknobs have more dirt to grab.

  5. Which compound did you use for the rear, the dual compound or the 3c? I am trying to decide which version to use for the rear in the PNW, where wet weather is common. Thx.

    • The “single” compound, which is essentially their maxxpro/60a durometer. I run that same setup (harder rear/softer front) up in your neck of the woods midsummer. But if it’s pissing for days on end, I definitely throw a sticky tire on the rear, Which in this case would be that 3C maxxgrip version, with the supertacky on the front. Keep in mind, this is a review of the dh casing ones, not what’s come out since the review in lighter casings.

  6. Thanks so much for the effort in putting this together.

    I’m a new rider, 12 months approx and I’m starting to get the feeling that I’m pushing beyond the tires limits, its probably my lack of ability but i would like to see if some different tires will help me progress without getting scared off by tires letting go all the time.

    I currently run Ardent’s F/R 2.4/2.25 for UK Trail center riding and it almost feels as though “my” max cornering speed sits where the Ardents have that gap in gripi keep reading about so when i give it my best i seem to have little grip and back off. I know i could man up and commit more to get into the rest of the tires ability but im just not there confidence wise.

    Would you recommend these tires (for lack of a better description), as the next tire up cornering confidence wise or would High Roller II’s be a better next step from Ardents?

    Also, now that new variants are available do you think based on past experience that the single ply 2.30 in 3C EXO front AND rear would be a reasonable replacement for the Ardents or go with bigger front again? I only went larger front last time as people suggested that the 2.25 Ardents were poor as fronts but the 2.4 were considerably better. I’m looking at the 3c versions as i don’t change tires for wet/dry so thought id pick something “in the middle” if that makes any sense.

    Bit long i know, Sorry.
    But any advice you can offer i would greatly appreciate as i really like the sound of these but dont want to blow £100 and find them as slow as the older dhr/dhf super tackies that came with the bike!

  7. Very comprehensive review. I’m currently in the market for new rubber. I’ve been pointed to the DHF an DHR2, but this might make me run DHR2 F and R. The DHR2 is almost 100g lighter too. What do you think? I value fast rolling and light weight, but my Ardents don’t have a stout enough casing

  8. @KB

    if i set up a DHR II on the front, do i have to invert the rotational direction of the tire? I’ve read that in a few places…


  9. Matt,
    I was just re-reading Kevin’s great article to discuss with a pal who lives 3 mile from the Forest of Dean Trail centre where we ride a lot, I see you didn’t get a reply back in 2015 and guess that 5 years later you’ve worked it out?
    At least you’ve been riding 6 years!

    You didn’t mention the bike but I guess its not an XC if it came with DHR/F – personally I would think the Ardent is rear only unless it’s a real dry hardback surface only. It’s more like an XC tyre to me. I’m not sure its even capable enough rear – Friends agree.
    A lot depends on the riding surface. I ride (mostly Southern) UK too, the UK Trail center riding you mention differs a lot as you know, all the way from natural woodland surfaces to hardback ‘BMX’ tracks.

    And a lot of cornering is about weighting the tyres correctly and learning to lean the bike not the body (see Fabien Barel on cornering, youtube).
    Of course the right tyres help a lot but don’t replace great technique.
    Were your supplied tyres really “super tacky” I thought that compound disappeared years ago so I’d have expected Maxxterra (not so soft)? Maxxterra compound is pretty good on the rear.
    Put them back on! DHR2 front DHF rear yeah, I know)

    That DHR2 is a great tyre, if I chose to run a pair it’d be 2,5 WT maxxgrip upfront (and like Kevin I might cut it, but see below: the G5 is SO like a cut DHR2 its an easy pick if you don mind the DH casing, wire bead).

    I like the DHR2 2.35 maxxterra (27.5) as a rear, I run that a lot on all surfaces and feel it wears well, pedals and rolls well
    (better than my alternative Shorty, not as fast as my Mavic Quest or Spesh Slaughter but I don’t ride a lot of hardback, so really miss climbing traction and braking grip with those – so don’t use much.)
    Last year, thanks to Chris Porter (Mr Mojo), I discovered the Maxxis Aggressor DD, dual compound 2.5WT and that’s my favourite [non Winter] rear now, pedals lovely – fast, does everything well).

    Seems to me the rear tyre is very very influential on how pedalling effort feels , MUCH less so the front.
    I run a DH casing wire bead Bontrager G5 2.3 x 29 upfront a lot and the grip is just superb (better than a DHR2 I reckon) as it already has Kevins desired clear side channel.

    In the woods where there is always soft ground and often roots I sometimes use a Magic Mary 29″ snakeskin 2.35, ‘orange’ compound (soft, not supersoft) upfront, I plan to add a cushscore to that, more grip, better rolling, aids suspension! I am not as keen on the Mary on trail centre hardback though.

    Hope you’re enjoying your riding, I like it more every year and I started in 86. I’m riding g a Geometron G1, that’s a big part of the story.

  10. What are you thoughts on the Onza Aquila which Aaron Gwin designed? It’s similar to this one, but he specifically moved the side knobs to be more in line with the center ones.

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