In the last year, I have gone back and forth between two versions of the Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR. The first version was the tried and true 2.3″, the second was the new WT (WideTrail) version which sits at 2.5″ for the DHF and 2.4″ for the DHR. I’ve tried them on both our TR33 (27mm internal) and TR36 (31mm internal) rims. I felt it would only be fair to try them on our new TR45 rim, if only for comparison’s sake.
The TR45 was primarily designed for use with plus tires which typically come in 2.8-3.0″ widths. That being said, with the growing number of riders who are choosing to run tires in the 2.5″-2.6″ range, we wanted to create a rim that would also work well in this segment. Generally speaking, these riders are performance focused and are capable of exceeding the traction limits of a conventional 2.3″- 2.4″ trail tire. (Hence the need for the wider footprint and volume of a 2.5″). The resulting TR45 takes from these cues to result in a highly versatile rim that is much stronger than a conventional plus rim.
So far, I’ve been really impressed with how indestructible the 2.5″ tires felt on the TR45’s. For aggressive riders wanting to turn to plus tires come winter, these could be the ticket. If the tires are running relatively mud-free, the rolling resistance and rotational weight are reasonable for a sturdy enduro bike. You start to feel the extra mass after a few hours of riding, but when the trail points down, you definitely get the last laugh.
I normally turn into a big baby when I encounter off camber roots and have to rail across them to keep the fastest line. However, with the added air volume, lower pressure and wheel stiffness, the bike felt far more stable and predictable through these sketchy sections. In fact, you will find yourself seeking out alternate lines with more gnar in hopes to lure those skinny tire clad friends of yours to try and follow.
2.5″ Maxxis Minion DHF WT 2.5″ Tires. The NOBL TR45 with it’s 38mm internal width is on the left, and the TR33 with it’s 27mm internal width is on the right.
We were able to measure a 35.7 degree tread angle on the smaller 27i rim versus 35 degrees on the wider 38i rims. I measured the angles as best we could 4 different ways, and then took an average. The ruler shows a visual of the angle we were trying to measure.
These tires have alternating tread widths. On the 27i rims the side tread measured 2.5″ on the wider knobs, and 2.4″ on the narrower ones. They measured out exactly the same on the 38i rims. We took multiple measurements in multiple locations on the tires (even more than what is shown on the video below).
The casing width (middle of the sidewall) was different. On the 27i rims we measured 2.4″ versus 2.5″ on the 38i rims. This would lead me to believe that clearance issues should not be a major factor if you are looking to mount these tires onto wider rims and keep them on your current bike. If they fit now, they should fit just fine on the wide rims.
Maxxis says the tires are optimized for an internal width of 35mm, so how wide and how narrow can you go?
The angle of the side knobs vary less than 1 degree with the rims we tested, so I feel that the tread itself should perform very similarly for 27-38i rims or anywhere in between. The air volume increases when you go with a wider rim, so the ideal tire pressure will be lower. Wider rims are harder to burp generally speaking, but you want to be careful not to go too low, otherwise you can suffer from squirmy sidewalls. I would say that if you are running these tires on ~31-38i rims you will have to be more conscientious of tire pressure if you are a performance oriented rider.
Visually the tires look more imposing on the wider rims because the base is kicked out significantly more. Riders might say the tire is “more squared off” on a wide rim. This does have some merit, but I do feel that effect is far more of a visual bias than a fact of the tread angle changing significantly. If you look at the tires head to head (not on an angle so you can see the rim), it is very hard to tell that there is a difference in rim width.
One is on a 27i rim and one is on a 38i, can you tell which is which? Click here for more insight on the WT tires.