Minion 2.5" Single Ply EXO Protection Review

Sep 9, 2010
by Dunbar Cycles  
Tested and Abused!

After a summer full of injuries and being off the bike I have managed to stay on the bike long enough to crank out another tire review.

Check out the new Maxxis Minion Single Ply 2.5" with EXO technology. Review inside,

The Tire :
Maxxis Minion (DHF) Front 2.5" Single Wall with EXO Technology

Compounds :
Available in a 2.5, Max Pro 60 A Compound (tested) and the Grippier 3C Compound.

Target Market:
The new minion tire is aimed at the aggressive all mountain riders who are looking for maximum performance out of there tires without sacrificing their rolling speed and tire weight.

The Technology:
The tire features Maxxis's new EXO side wall . Aimed at adding sidewall rigidity and puncture protection without adding the weight of a thick DH sidewall.

3C = 855 Grams
Max Pro 60A = 845 Grams

The Test:
Unfortunately at the time of the test I couldn't get my hands of a set of the 3C tires. All I could get was 2 Minion fronts in a Max Pro 60A Compound. This wasn't too much of a concern as I am already familiar with the feel of both compounds. What I was really looking to test was just how well the side wall would resist rolling and punctures.

My plan for the test was to run the tires on my all mountain Giant Reign for the first two weeks, riding the most aggressive all mountain trails Whistler has to offer. The third week I would toss the tires on my Giant Glory and see how they held up in the Whistler bike park. I even managed to squeeze in the first Phat Wednesday race aboard the test Minions.

Whistler Bike Park Phat Wednesday B-line race

Doing the climbing thing

Climbing/Rolling Speed:
Having an aggressive DH pattern helped the Minion climb very well over even the wettest and loosest of terrains. It's easy to just toss on a ridiculous amount of rubber on any tire and have it grip on climbs and corner well, but it's at the sacrifice of rolling speed. The 60A compound managed to balance to grip and rolling speed exceptionally well, but no different than the rolling speed of a Minion Max Pro 60A with a DH casing. Having ridden the 3C compound on my DH bike for years I think that a 3C Compound on the front and rear of an all mountain bike would be noticeably taxing on longer rides as it rolls so slow. Always a question of what is more important to you ? Rolling Speed or downhill performance?


Punctures and Cornering:
For the first two weeks of all mountain riding the tire performed awesome. I didn't get a single flat, which for me this year is saying a lot. I usually run my tire pressure for all mountain at 40PSI in the back and 35Psi in the front. I never experienced any tire roll on even the most aggressive of trails while riding all mountain, but that changed as soon as I tossed the tires on my DH bike. After a few days on my DH bike in the Whistler bike park, I realized I had to be more aware of sharp rocks and square edges as the tires would flat noticeably quicker than a DH casing. Over a week I got three flats on sections of trail I have ridden hundreds of times and never flatted on.

With my regular Maxxis DH tires I usually run 30 Psi in the back and 25Psi in the front. After hitting the first few berms aboard my DH bike with the tires at my usual PSi I knew I would have to pump up the tires a lot more to prevent the tire from rolling off the rim. It felt like anything under 35 Psi and the tire would roll and slide affecting my cornering ability.


For the Phat Wednesday Race I had to run my tire pressure at 35 in the front and 40 in the back in order to prevent tire rolling too much in the hard-packed corners. Remember though that these tires are intended for all mountain riding and not downhill racing, but I felt like it was necessary to test the limits of what this tire was capable of.

Cornering, the Minion performed exactly like a Minion front should; amazing grip and extremely predictable when sliding or braking. As expected the Max Pro 60A compound couldn't be pushed quiet as hard as a 3C compound on the roots or corners, but the fast rolling of the Max Pro was great for all mountain purposes.

Tire after a month of riding

The pictures of the Minion featured above are after almost a month of riding in both the Whistler Valley and in the bike park. The Max Pro compound held up awesome over the month of riding which would have no doubt left the 3C's with no center knobs and cornering knobs falling off, but that's the trade off for the soft knobs and superior grip that the 3C offers.

Overall I was pleased with the new offering from Maxxis. I wasn't blown away by the tire, it just did exactly what it is intended for. For those looking for something a little bit burlier than the 2.35 on their all mountain bikes, I think these tires would be a great option. Myself I would probably run one of the Max Pro in the back for rolling speed and then run a 3C up front for better tracking. It's hard to attest to the performance of the EXO Sidewalls as they felt just like any other single wall Maxxis tire, but I never flatted while using them for all mountain, during a period of time I usually would have flatted at least once or twice. As far as running them as the newest, coolest, light weight, race tire for DH, I would advise only running them on smooth and pedally courses where high tire pressure and rolling speed are important.



Big Thanks to:
Coast Mountain Photography
Todd Hellinga for some awesome pics
Dunbar Cycles

In case you missed my previous reviews:
Tire Review 1 - Continental Kaiser
Tire Review 2 - Schwalbe Wicked Will

Author Info:
dunbarcycles avatar

Member since Feb 13, 2008
36 articles

  • 21 0
 Can I have some tires to test too?
  • 7 0
 and me lol bloody things are so expensive and i get through so many
  • 2 0
 Were you racing aston? I wish I'd taken more money with me... I really could've done with a couple of sets!
  • 1 0
 Same :S
  • 7 0
 eee something basic is missing in the description.
1.Would you change Highrollers for those? Doesn't Minion pack up easier with mud than HR?

other questions Iw ould really appreciate if someone answers:

2.Which are better for AM/aggro XC HR or Minions?
3.Is this Exo Wall comparing to regular 1ply any more resistant to cuts on sharp rocks?

Personaly I run 2.35" 1-ply 60a LUST HRollers. Im starting to get angry on them on steep tech climbs. Too easy to slip off the rock/root edges. My local trails are just slippery pretty tech stuff requiring brute-pedal-power-explosions, so all knobbless featherweight, paper thin (easy to cut) sidewall Contis or Schwalbies don't work for me. 2-plies weighing 0,5kg more per tyre won't take me far either...

It gets pretty funny with all these tire options from Maxxis now:
eee I want a Wetscream: 2.5", 60a, Exo - sidewall, tubeless, short knobs
  • 2 0
 1.) I do prefer the high rollers over the Minion in any wet conditions.
2.) I personally prefer high rollers for XC and aggressive all mountain. They hook a little better and are better on the roots
3.) EXO does offer more protection than a regular single ply. They would be somewhere in between a single ply and a full on 2 ply dh casing
  • 1 0
 Thx for the reply! how come then the weight is so low? lower than 1-ply
  • 1 0
 I dont know for sure, but these tires are not a true 2.5, although I feel they are beefy enough- not a true 2.50. I fell they may have done this to keep weight down.
  • 3 0
 had the single plies stock on my flat line they blew every run id get a flat, run a high pressure still flats lower pressure they would rip off the rim if your all mountain riding is anything like mine these tires will not do it for you but there a good winter commuter tire sticky and wide enough
  • 4 2
 I'm going to tell you that running two of these for AM is like turning it to 11. I'm running a Remedy (2009, the last good year) and I can't explain why but these Minions are rockin... to 11. The last two years I've run a few different tires on Hope ProII / Stans Flows all 2.4 - Conti Mountian kings - dead in about 1 month, flats but good in the wet and climb like a ripper. Schwalbe Nobby nics, Fat alberts f/r - dead maybe in three months but not so many flats with the alberts, but terrible in the wet. Not too bad climbers. Kenda Nevagals both the stock and sticky versions - stock were dead in about 1 or 2 months, the sticky versions lived longer (felt heavier even though they aren't supposed to be) and gripped good, and good in the wet. Maxxis HR, didn't quite get the hang of that tire on the back, and 2.35 was too small air volume. Advantages- ate those like desert unfortunately. Can't remember how they were in other conditons I ws too nervous for ripping the sidewalls cause that tire has the thinest sidewall out there.... then about a month ago I loaded up the Minions. Compared to all those tires I mention, it was turning it up to 11 - in the dry and medium wet. For mud, get some spikes, thats clear though. Otherwise, best I've had on this bike. I run 2bar in the back, 1.9 bar in the front (sorry I've been living over here for a while now....) They are 50 bucks each so forget about it, and get a set. I can ride 60km days, 6000ft up and down, or ride the park, like Livigno, and I'm not thinking I'm running the wrong rubber.
How about that for geeking out !
Ride on!
  • 1 0
 I dont know about the EXO singe ply Minions but the regular single ply minions Suck. They came flat on my RM Flatline Pro. I got so many flats both front and rear it was ridicules. I then bought two 2 ply minions front tires for the front and the back. GO WITH 2-PLY TIRES!!!
  • 1 1
 Both single and double-plies are done to meet specific purposes and track/riding style requirements. If you Flatline PRO came with them, then well that was a mistake. You don't ride DH/bikeparks with these. It's annoying can cause depression (because of flats) and might even be dangerous in case of a front tyre.

On the other hand riding trails (that's what I do 99%) with 2plies is as "clever" as riding Mont Saint Anne or Fort William on singles. In most cases in AM riding 1ply USTs are more than enough too. Unless you hit something really big like Alps
  • 1 0
 I have had these tires since they came out, running them for agressive all-mountain and they do very well. They simply are not DH tires, they shouldnt be tested as such. They are however the best all-mnt tire I have ever run. The Minion tread design hooks up like crazy, they roll fast enough....and I have only flatted once. I do however run 35-40 psi in them all the time to ensure no flats. The weight is great (reason I run them) and i do firmly believe that the EXo is somehow working. No cuts, sidewalls look great after some seroius thrashing. WAAAYY better than a tire like the Schwalbe BIG BETTY which has paper thin sidewalls. I DID take them Downhilling once this summer and they did OK. No flats, but they feel squirmy at high high speeds because of their decreased stiffness. If used for their intended purpose- they are stellar.
  • 1 0
 ok, I'll give'em a try, when my HRs wear out. I will start with Minion R since it will be the rear HR that will fade away first... it will take some time though as the back is 72a... What's your experience with eventual mud packing in Minions?

And ever since I turned to UST haven't got a single flat (ok once, but that was a one in a million situation when a stone smashed the presta valve) so I hope these come in LUST too.
  • 1 0
 I think that they do, or will, come is UST. I have not tried UST yet, but Im think I would like to.

I dont have "issues" with mud-packing, It happens, they dont clear as well as some but its not a big problem, overall performance out-weighs that possible negative. I suppose it depends on the type of mud as well, I mostly deal with loose soil type mud here, as opposed to the dense clay type stuff- so I do ok.

This version of the Minion only comes in a Dh "F" not in the rear version. But I recommend the F for front or rear applications anyways.
  • 2 0
 ok. thx a lot for Ur input Wink I liked DHR for braking. Had them for a short time in 2,5" It's an anchor comparing to HRs!

UST: I recommend big time! Ain't cheap but worth every penny! wieght saving is a minor thing but the no snake bites makes it superb! Mental comfort is amazing. I was cautious first, but now I never hold myself from hitting some nasty rocks like I did before. Oh I better ride slow down here I "wear" 1-plies today... makes me a better man too: I swear less... fuXX flat again, fr fxxx sake not fxxx again Fxxx Fxxx Fxxxxxxxxx! Why the Fxxxx does it always happen to me...

buy UST be a better Christian (or Buddist, or Muslim, or atheist, Jehova WItness, a Jew... or scientologist, or socialdemocrate)
  • 1 0
 I ride minions for most everything, but use them as intended - single ply for AM/XC and DH for DH! Good review - and agree 3C up front and Pro in the back is best. I like 2.35s for AM though, and run Minion fronts both front and back. Best tire ever IMHO.
  • 1 0
 It would be interesting to see a back to back test now of the Schwalbe Big Betty 2.5 in FR Single Ply and Guey Gluey. The Schwalbe tires are 1/3 lighter in Fr over the DH and a 2.35" Big Betty is equal to a 2.5" Minion so maybe use a 2.35" BB for the same roll. Great to read these tests, please continue to help us learn.
  • 1 0
 The exo minion Sply is a great am tire with way less weight. If there is a chair lift obviously the 2ply is the way to go. Also the exo sidewall has been way more tear resistant in the sidewall than other Sply tires. Sply tires = less weight and not as tough. 2ply tires= more weight and really tough. Base that with your riding smoothness and pick a tire
  • 1 0
 I killed a set of Maxxis Minion Singlee plys in 2.3 riding XC in Whistler pretty easily. It was sidewall cuts that did for both of them (three in fact as i patched one). So the EXO seems like a good thing to me.

I'm interested to try these out instead of the Specialized Chunder SXs i am using now. Used UST for aggressive AM i think there is a lot of point to this tire.
  • 1 0
 How well do the chunder SX's work? What are they good at? What are they not good at?
  • 1 0
 well, as a 'johnny come lately' on my purchase of the EXOs all i can say is : what the hell is with Maxxis on the sizing ?! don't bloody call them a 2.5 if they are a 2.3 ! i got the MInion DH EXO tires on after running my trusty Kendas [ the only tire around that actually is a true 2.5 ] and feel some stability is lacking on these 'skinny' EXO tires [ i am running 3C on front and 60A on rear and with my weight at only 135 lbs i am running 32 lbs air in rear and 30 in front ] have not done enough with them yet to be certain, but am anxious about their ability to carry me with as much safety as i felt with my fatty Blue Grooves and Nevegals...
  • 2 0
 I love my 2.5 single plys on my AM rig. I still stick to the 2 ply on my DH rig though.
  • 1 0
 what good dh tire comes in a 24 inch? cuz i have an old big hit and can almost never find a good tire that isnt the 80 dollar specialized tire
  • 1 0
 High roller comes in 24"
  • 1 0
 i no but i havent decided if i like the high roller for my riding conditions.
  • 1 0
 i shredded w/ 24" wheels on the North Shore here for two [stupid] years w/ High Rollers and the High Rollers are good tire and do what they should, but it is a mistake for any 24" tire to be considered a DH tire - they are simply to small diameter [ and rims ] to have the goods to avoid anything big or gnarly without getting snagged and slamming - even a good rider will slam more often on 24" wheels...
  • 1 0
 Did you try to run it tubeless as you said in the first review? Did it work?
  • 1 0
 I've been running the same tire all summer on a Stan's rim (tape + sealant). I inflated with a floor pump and it wasn't a problem.
  • 1 0
 I'm running these front and rear on crossmax sx ust' problems, very solid feel
  • 1 4
 Do you even know what 3C compound is??? The middle tread would be similar to the wear you have experienced on your 60a tyres and it is a hard compound, it is only the side knobs where there would have been increased wear due to a softer compound. This review is flawed by your lack of knowledge
  • 2 0
 I think you might be right - Maxxis website shows 3C compound 70/42/40. That means the centre is harder than the 60a.
  • 1 0
 He is right. On that note, I would never bother with the 3C in this tire. I like gummys for high speed DH runs, but these tires hook up so well in the 60a, and last forever........its not worth it to me to go with the stickier tire for all-mountain when they wear so quick. These tires have NO issues hooking up in the wet, dry, mud, rocks.........they just kill it.
  • 2 0
 3C has 70/42/40 but the 70 is just a base layer to support the other two layers, it never touches dirt (not really never you can run them till they're bald)
  • 1 0
 I actually didnt know that, I though the center knobs were 70. That being said, every time I run 3c's they fall apart so damn quickly, I actually had better luck with KENDA's Stick-E's as far as wear goes, and those hook up pretty good.
  • 1 3
 sorry but everything ive read on mtb tyres says that the centre knobs are a harder compound, and they progressively get softer as the you go towards the edge of the tyre
  • 3 0
 My understanding of the 3c is that it has a 70 compound underneath the center knobs with 42 on the top. My understanding of this is to prevent the knobs from rolling so much giving the knobs a more solid foundation and better performance. Also preventing the whole knob from just tearing off at the base after some wear, which you see in most Super Tacky compounds . Beyond what the numbers are, with your hand, just try and fold a 60 compound center knob side by side with a 3c center knob and you can immediately feel that the 3c is much softer.
  • 1 0
 those are the compounds for the minion dhf 3C DH tire. the compounds on the minion 3C exo tire are much harder. they are 70/60/50 (maxxis website says so), so 70 is baselayer, 60 is middle knobs, and 50 for the side knobs. i don't know why they used two different 3C formulations for these two tires, as it seems most people would want something a bit softer for the exo, and more like the DH 3C tire.
  • 1 0
 The reason for that is the different intended uses. I have found that if you are not riding DH, meaning fast, high corner speeds, high lean angles- you cant take advantage of the super gluey side knobs. All that happens is they tear off on rocks, the tires end up destroyed in less than 1/2 a season.
  • 1 0
 What kind of flats were you getting?
  • 1 0
 This review is perfect timing for me. I will be ordering these next week.
  • 1 1

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