I’m sure many of you already read my review of the Maxxis Ardents – if you haven’t what are you waiting for? OK, now that we’re all up to speed, I have another great set of tires from Maxxis that are perfect for those who don’t quite have the clearance for using the Ardents but need the same level of grip and control.
The Maxxis Minions come in two versions: a double-ply, 2.5″ DH monster and a more XC-friendly, single-ply 2.35” tire ($53 MSRP). The thinner, 2.35″ tires are just wide enough that they provide the rider with the extra control and traction that comes with more rubber plus the added volume to help reduce pinching and rim dings.
The Minions are sold as specifics meaning that the front tire tread pattern is different from the rear tire tread pattern. Clearly this is a good idea because front and rear tires have different functions. The front tread pattern is designed to roll efficiently and provide extra traction under braking as well as cornering. The rear tire is designed to keep itself clean and provide traction for acceleration as well as braking. Below you have the images of the tread patterns, front tire on the left and the rear on the right.
Installing these was painless and took me all of 10 minutes. This time I used new tubes also from Maxxis (FR-specific tubes that are 1.2mm thick) and a dusting of talcum powder. I inflated the tires to 40PSI (my usual beginning pressure) and I was off to the trails.
I decided to take these tires to 3 stages in Collingwood for the first test ride. I chose 3 stages for its fast rolling hills and switchbacks along with its variety of terrain types (rock gardens, hardpack singletrack, river crossings, and a few softer spots that never see the sun).
Starting off on a series of rolling hills that switch back to back and up and down gave me a good indication of how well the Minions hold a line while accelerating and decelerating. I was really impressed with how smoothly the tires rolled and how little energy was required to move these tires, thanks in part to the double row of center knobs. When I got comfortable and began to really lean hard into corners I got the same warm fuzzy feeling I got with the Maxxis Ardents. Tire squirm was virtually non-existent with zero additional roll or pitching. The Minions delivered true tracking through corners.
Smashing these into rock gardens and rougher terrain I felt comfortable enough right away to pretty much go at the pace that I usually like to travel – fast or faster . All kidding aside, the Minions felt like they were tracking like a well-behaved bloodhound. Even when the tread got wet these did a decent job holding their own over rocks and rough roots. On especially smooth, slick rock and slimy, mossy roots the Minions didn’t grip so well, but then again, what tires do?
All in all, if you’re thinking about getting these tires I’d say go for it. Of course if you’re a pure XC racer kind of person then these may not be for you – stick to something skinnier and lighter.
My overall impressions for the pair
8 out of 10 for climbing
8 out of 10 for rolling and efficiency
8 out of 10 for loose conditions
8 out of 10 for cornering
9 out of 10 for stopping in a straight line
Specs from Maxxis:
Durometer 60a rubber compound
Usage: All Mountain / Freeride
Conditions: medium to wet
Size: 26 x 2.35
Weight: Rear 835 grams (foldable) / Front 830 grams (foldable)
Thanks to the folks at Maxxis for providing these tires for review.