is a Maxxis series showcasing tire choices for different riding styles and terrain.
Many trail systems claim epic ridgelines and scenic overlooks, but how many contain abandoned airfields and cascading waterfall views? For Episode 3 of Connected, we follow Brice Shirbach to the DuPont State Forest
in Western North Carolina (WNC) as he tries to find the cornering limits of the Minion DHF. This beautiful tract of land was purchased from the DuPont chemical company and designated as the USA’s first recreational state forest, prioritizing recreation and conservation over industry.
• Age: 35
• Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
• Riding Style: Monster trucks through the rough stuff and holds the lines that would buck lighter riders
• Bike: Pivot Cycles Switchblade
• Tire Choice Front: Minion DHF
29x2.30, DoubleDown, 30 psi
• Tire Choice Rear: Minion DHF
29x2.30, DoubleDown, 30 psi
While some mountain bikers flock to the system for buff XC trails ending with breathtaking views of Mount Pisgah, others like Brice seek the chunkier trails for which the WNC zone is known. Spend enough time here, and you’ll begin noticing its scenery in Hollywood films such as Last of the Mohicans
and The Hunger Games
The Ridgeline Trail is a classic WNC trail known for its high-speed flow and bike-park frequency of berms and jumps. It’s familiar to locals and visitors as the best descent in the forest, with an almost two-mile-long downhill, more than enough to spin out your gearing and let you get comfortable with late-braking into each berm, knowing that your tires will hold. In terrain that is frequently wet due to the region’s climate, Brice has “loads of confidence in the corners regardless of how wet or dry it is” and is glad that the DHF “rolls quickly for an aggressive tread pattern.” Well-supported blocky cornering knobs on the DHF are spaced just far enough apart to allow adequate soil penetration in loose conditions, without feeling soft or squirmy on the hardpack and loose-over-hard corners of the Ridgeline Trail.
After getting the Ridgeline descent out of the way, Brice rode back up the Burnt Mountain loop, a trail with one of the most technical and rocky descents in the DuPont Forest. While most riders will traverse this loop in the opposite direction, Brice wanted to test his Minions and their DoubleDown casings in a manner that wasn’t possible on the flowy Ridgeline trail. This descent features around 100 yards of heavy rock armor, truly testing the ability of DoubleDown construction to brush away rim-strikes and pinch-flats as Brice monster trucked down the trail with his long-travel 29er. DoubleDown tires include a butyl insert in the sidewall that serves the dual purpose of protecting the tire against ride-ending bottom-out incidents and providing reinforced cornering support during extreme G-outs.
The Minion DHF
is available for 24, 26, 27.5, and 29 wheels in widths ranging from 2.30-4.80" with EXO, DoubleDown, and DH-Casing options.
Follow Brice at @bricycles
Photos by Brice Shirbach
Video by Brice Shirbach and Bergen Khare