The Maxxis Minion SS is listed in all three wheel sizes for trail and all-mountain use plus two larger volume (2.5″ width) 27.5″ steel bead tyres for dry weather DH use. UK importers aren’t listing the 26″ sizing though. It’s the trail bike tyres we’re running and have two 29er test bikes (Specialized Enduro and Whyte T-129) shod with this fast rubber on the rear. They’re only in a plump 2.3″ width across the wheel size range with the SS and this gives a tall as well as wide tyre with a shoulder of aggressive tread taken straight from the regular Minion design. The size of the tyre may be an issue in some trail bike frames so it’s worth checking. The bulk of the tread in contact with the trail is a faster rolling, closely spaced file tread which gives these tyres the turn of speed and lack of drag that we’re all looking for now that the trees have sucked the moisture from the tracks.
As usual with Maxxis, there’s no short of tyre technology on offer with the Minion SS. Silkworm, EXO, TR… all thrown in with a dual compound tread… what’s it all about?
Silkworm technology is material that Maxxis use under the upper tread and is incorporated into the casing. It adds to the puncture and tear resistance without much of a compromise to the ride quality or weight.
Sidewall protection is essential, especially when pushing on hard in fast, dry, rocky terrain. The densely woven Exo sidewall material is cut and abrasion resistant yet very flexible, ensuring the performance of the tyre is unaffected. Like the Silkworm technology, it adds benefits without a significant weight penalty.
The TR tubeless technology gives a lighter carcass than the original UST tubeless tyres and is designed to be airtight with use of a sealant. This in combination with a tubeless compatible tyre bead and a suitable rim gives a reliable result. We found some brands to be a bit hit and miss when it comes to sealing up tubeless but Maxxis always give a good result on first attempt.
PERFORMANCE – OUT ON THE TRAIL
We always used to be fans of a Maxxis Crossmark out the bike on a trail bike, once we’ve switched from the mud tyres, but that was six years ago now and times and tyre choice moves on. With the Maxxis Minion SS the raised shoulder tread lets you carve heavily into loose corners with total confidence. There’s no risk of the tyre breaking away early that you get with a lighter standard treaded tyre. Once you’re back out of the turns the SS lends itself to quick acceleration on undulating terrain. Whether in or out of the saddle the pace easily quickens, yet the high volume sizing and lowish weight (around the 750 – 800g area) lets you run lower pressures, especially when tubeless so comfort and small bump compliance is still there. Gone are the days of needing higher pressures for a quicker feel.
The Exo Protection sidewalls give enough support yet aren’t as stiff as the Grid sidewalls on a Specialized tyre or the Super Gravity casing from Schwalbe. They’ve proved to give enough support though, with more than adequate protection from sharp rocks on the track.
DIRT MOUNTAIN BIKE | BIKE REVIEWS
If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to set your summer treads up tubeless and leave them that way, so what happens if the rains arrive and the trails turn wet for a few days? Can the Maxxis Minion SS cope? Yes it can. With the traction and grip from front and rear suspension and the right handling skills there is enough traction for most wet trail centres and flatter off piste tracks, especially if the tyre pressure is reasonable low. With a tubeless set up and the aggressive shoulder tread it will get you up all but the greasiest climbs with just the sticky off-camber mud slides being the only real challenge.
It’s maybe not for everyone, but the Minion SS is certainly a good tyre to have as an option, especially if the dream of parched trails comes good this season. Give one a try and you may be leaving it on until September…
What are you thoughts on the Maxxis Minion SS? Let us know what you think.