If we had to stockpile a single tyre to last out our riding days, Maxxis’ long-standing Minion DHF pattern would probably be our top selection. The simple but hugely versatile design means they can be turned to pretty much everything save cross-country racing. The more closely packed centre tread rolls well on hardpack despite being able to bite down to traction in all but the deepest mud. The chunky corners grip hard but are predictable when they break free.
Now released in a 650b-friendly format, the long string of letters and numbers after the name indicates that this particular model uses a trio of rubber compounds, a reinforced sidewall and a tubeless ready folding bead. The harder base rubber is overlaid with soft edges and middling centre and it does a top job of maximising cornering traction without making you hate life on climbs.
The EXO sidewall manages to fend off punctures effectively, offers good roll stability and a slightly damped and less pingy feel to the carcass. Combined with the ability to run them tubeless, where they inflated easily on a number of rims, you can run low pressures without punctures or excessive roll.
While the likes of Maxxis’ own Ardent tyres are without doubt faster rolling, when it comes to the mixed mud, rock and slop that makes up a good deal of natural British mountain biking, the Minion is still the master at biting down to grip.