Maxxis Minion SS First Ride
Richard Allin | Tuesday, 08 December 2015
Maxxis Minion SS TR EXO 27.5 x 2.3
Maxxis has released an array of new tyres to the market recently, one of which the Minion SS (Semi Slick) caught my attention as it falls into the Enduro market. I have had the pleasure of riding this tyre for the last 4 weeks thanks to Maxxis NZ.
The tread on the Minion SS includes a cluster of short, ramped center knobs offering minimum rolling resistance matched to tradition Minion side lugs. The SS is currently being offered within NZ in 2 models in 27.5 x 2.3 carrying Maxxis’s TR (Tubeless ready) EXO (sidewall protection) plus a Silkworm Protection model. 27.5 x 2.5 sizes are due in the next month or two.
I fitted the SS to my bike tubeless running 29psi and paired this with a Minion DHF 3C up front. It needs to be noted that I normally ride a DHF 3C upfront and a HighRoller 2 at the back, which is one of the most popular tyre combinations out there.
The first ride I ventured on was the usual loop, up Rapaki, Bowenvale Traverse Track, and down Victoria Park via Sesame Street and Dazzas. First impressions on the ride up was "Damn this thing is fast," in comparison to the HighRoller 2 this tyre really rolls, and rolls fast. There was no annoying tyre buzz on tarmac, plenty of traction and grip offered, even while climbing off the saddle. Rocketing around the traverse I was amazed at how much grip this tyre had, it cornered well, held lines and never gave any inkling on lose gravel that I was riding a Semi Slick.
Victoria Park was where I had the complete opposite impression, "This tyre is coming off my bike after this ride". It had little to no braking traction, causing a few corners to be taken at heated speed and completely off line. The tyre really struggled in the dry, rock hard clay covered in dust.
I have since ridden this tyre on numerous Flying Nun laps, over similar tracks to the first outing and taken it for a spin in Rotorua. Every condition I have put this tyre into has been the same as my first impressions, it's fast, offers incredible grip but seriously lacks braking traction on more technical terrain.
Regardless of this, you’ll find the SS still fitted on my bike so that in itself says a lot. I have become to love it more and more simply due to the rolling resistance. I need to point out that this tyre has amazed me with it traction climbing and general trail riding, never has the tread given out on me cornering, you can really feel the soft side lugs rolling on corners but it has never given way offering amazing grip, just not on straight line braking on downhills.
My opinion is that the SS is better as a larger volume trail tyre, or a very carefully selected enduro tyre. Given the right terrain and riding style this tyre is a winner.
The Good: This tyre really rolls, and rolls fast offering amazing traction climbing and general trail riding. The soft side lugs offering amazing cornering grip.
The Bad: Seriously lacks braking traction on more technical terrain.
The Bottom Line: The SS is more directed at a larger volume trail tyre, or a very carefully selected Enduro tyre. Given the right terrain and riding style this tyre is a winner.