Test – High Roller, Minion DHF, SwampThing.
The Average Mediterranean Enduro trails although normally dusty in summer, in spring tend to be a mixture of conditions. This can pose problems when it comes to tyre selection, we wanted to try and understand in a basic sense what are the best tyres for average conditions and also after rain conditions out on the trails.
Maxxis have quite a good range of tyres to choose from that help with getting the best out of our riding on different surfaces. Most people who ride Maxxis seem to have the High Roller, infact this tyre is one of the most popular tyres it seems in existence. It is possible to find this tyre on all kinds of bikes from many different brands in the hands of many riders.
However staying on the same tyres that came with your bike once your riding progresses might not be the best thing to do. So we started thinking about tyre choices…
In order to try and see if there really is any difference between various models of tyres, we took three out on the trail and rode them back to back on the front wheel to compare how they felt. We chose a trail with rock, sand, dirt, woods, and hard pack, mixed with wet and dry conditions. Infact this trail has everything so it is possible to really understand about which tyre is worth considering for the front.
First up was the high roller this is our bench mark tyre. It was the standard 60a 2.35″ version.
This tyre rolls fast and corners well, it clears mud well, but in our all round conditions it starts to slide fairly suddenly a bit in cornering and then re-grabs traction quickly. This tends to be a feature of this tyre, when it grips it does so well, then lets go. Can be un-nerving at first until you are used it.
Rolling resistance is great and you ride fast and flow easily. As this was the first tyre tested we already knew what we thought about this tyre it was our standard.
This was our first real test to compare to our base line the High Roller. The version we used was a 2.5″ Super tacky, which in reality seemed the same size as the High Roller. We inflated to 3 bar, the same as the other tyres.
Our first impression was that this tyre is strong (It is DH specific) rolled fast, maybe a touch slower at times than the High Roller as it is slightly heavier, but not enough to notice a great deal. However it did feel that this tyre can eat up the trail. We were feeling less in the hits on the trail, the tyre cushioned the ride more compared to the High Roller.
Cornering was where we felt the biggest difference. This tyre doesn’t loose traction in the same way as the High Roller. It starts to loose traction by slowly drifting out rather than just suddenly. In fact this feeling was great and after quite a bit of riding, it was obvious that this makes riding on corners fast a nice experience and great to control for us. This tyre was also great and grippy in the wooded rocky sections. As the tread pattern is closer this tyre though tends to hold on to mud more as can be seen in the photo. Overall a great tyre and definitely different to the High Roller.
As it wasn’t strictly wet just damp this tyre was not in it’s element. We tried the 2.35″ version. On loose soil and damp forest sections it grips incredibly well. A few days previously we rode a very soggy, muddy, clay trail and it is possible to drive in sticky wet conditions almost like it was dry. The tyre today though was not quite as good a feeling as the Minion. Although it was more grippy than the High Roller, this though comes at a price as the rolling resistance was noticeably higher due to the large square grip. This though mean’t that this tyre cleaned the mud from it’s self really well. Cornering was solid and very grippy. It was very hard to get the tyre to loose grip and slide out. In the super wet it is amazing and whilst on the other tyres you will be sliding around, on this tyre you will ride like it is almost dry.
This was by no means an exhaustive test, although we kept everything the same only changing the tyre, it would be good to try these tyres over a longer time period. But what can be said is that as always the High Roller is a great all round tyre, however the Minion is worth considering on the front as it improves cornering feeling in our opinion and takes the hits well, this though is offset by being slightly heavier, remember though it is a DH tyre. All riders should have a Swamp Thing incase it rains hard, it is possible to still have fun and ride with grip.
After this test we decided to keep the Minion DHF on the front and a High Roller on the back, it might be the killer combination for the feeling of cornering and taking hits, whilst still having speed and braking on the rear.
If we were recommending tyres we reckon a Minion on the Front and a High Roller on the back is great, with a Swamp Thing for super muddy conditions. We will also be trying the High Roller 2 to see what that is like soon…
All these tyres are available at Bagnoli Bike shop Castiglione della Pescaia who also carry a huge range of other brands of tyres which we will be comparatively testing shortly with their help.