For basically the year and half, since I got my Specialized Stumpjumper I had been using the Specialized Eliminator (rear) / Butcher (front) tire combo that came stock on a bike. Personally with the S-Works bike, I don't like to change anything from stock spec.
I found the combo pretty good, but I was shredding through those tires. The rear tire would last me precisely one month until the knobs were falling off and rocks were tearing holes in the tires and the front tire would last two (months). Considering the burn rate on them, I was opening my horizons.
This flat on the 401 trail in Crested Butte was the final straw. It happened exactly 30 days since the tire was new and it was caused simply by rocks tearing through the tire.
(this video was not on Maxxis Minions. It was my last ride before the minions and a cool vid)
A good friend of mine that rides a little faster then me said he gets about 3 months out of his Maxxis so I had my eye on them for replacement. All the shops in Crested Butte really only had a Maxxis Aggressor 29x2.3, so that was the temporary replacement. It was decent tire, but it really lacked in some area. Here in Crested Butte, many of the trails are open to moto bikes which can chew up the climbs. On the steep, loose climbs here it's hard to get traction even if your legs and lungs can put out -- I found the Maxxis Aggressor just wasn't grabbing. So I had a set of Minions shipped to me as they're a little chunkier.
The Minions I Got Precisely
Maxxis has a bunch of variations of all their tires.
Front: Maxxis Minion Dhf 3C/Exo 29x2.5, 3C-Maxxterra/Exo/TR ($78)
Rear: Maxxis Minion Dhr II 29" Tire 29X2.3, 3C-Maxxterra/TR/Double Down ($95)
Both have the intermediate Maxxterra rubber -- compare that to their Maxgrip which is a softer rubber and hence more grip and faster wear
Both tubeless ready (what tire isn't tubeless ready)
The front has Maxxis Exo which is a layer of flat protection.
The rear tire there there is Maxxis' Double Down which is basically there most heavy duty tired intended to protect against pictures, sidewalk tears, and give extra rim protection on rocks / roots. For this protection you have to incur 200 - 250 grams of weight. Due to availability, that was the only 2.3 option, otherwise I probably would've opted for the weight savings.
My Riding Style / Level
A 35+ mile, 6000' day isn't out of the question. It's rare for me to get past on a climb.
I'll also take the same bike and hit all the jumps on double black diamond Dirt Merchant.
That said, I identify as an XC rider. Spandex > baggy.
I travel for 6 months out of the year, riding all over the west, so conditions can very from week to week.
After 2 Days Of Riding...
My first thought when I got them on the bike was "these aren't as chunky as I expected". In pictures online, and even folded up in their packaging they looking rather chunky. Not entirely my style as a dude that identifies as XC. Once they were on the bike however, they look less chunky. They also looked narrower than you would expect for their respective widths.
What really matters though is how they ride.
I got them on 2 days ago and have stuffed in a lot of riding on them. Between the 2 days there is a combined 86 miles riding on them done before 2pm each day and then 3 hours in the afternoon in the down hill bike park here in Crested Butte.
So far I'm impressed.
The rear tire does its job of grabbing on the loose climbs and getting my power to the ground.
The front tire stays planted in the downhill park.
I don't notice the extra width, or knob size slowing me down... I'd say they roll decently fast. Not like a true XC tire, but much better than yould expect for their chunkiness.
Here's a rip down Crested Butte Bike Parks' black diamond trail Avery