Which DH tires for Norcal/Downieville?

This rider is enjoying his Maxxis DHFs, but he’s contemplating a switch to Specialized meats.


Seeing as you’re a Specialized guy, I figured you might be the man to ask about their tires. I looked over your summaries of their tires, but it seems that I’m in no man’s land on what tires I should be looking at. I’ve been riding Maxxis Minions, but they’re heavier and narrower than Specialized’s offering, which doesn’t make sense to me. I love the DHF and while the DHR has worked alright for me, I much prefer the DHF front and rear.

I saw that you mentioned that the Chunder is a good front tire and the Pinn’er sounds like it works well as a rear tire. I live in the San Francisco area of California, and I ride Downieville, local trails, and Santa Cruz fairly often. I’m sure that you’ve been riding out here before, so let me ask you, what do you think would be the best tire option? My friend is riding a Pinn’er up front and he said that it doesn’t hook up super well for him, but he likes it enough.

Would I have a better tire combo by going with Minion DHFs front and rear or by going with a Chunder up front and a Pinn’er in the back? Also, share some compound knowledge with me. I’ve been riding 42a Minions, and they lasted me long enough and seemed to grip everything well. Will the 40a sideknobs on the Chunders fold a lot when I’m riding in the bone dry conditions over the summer? Thanks for the help sir.


Hey Zack,

– You cannot go wrong with a pair of Maxxis Minion DHFs. Those are very good, very versatile tires. A pair of clippers makes them even more versatile.

– If you’re riding medium/hardpacked terrain, a pair of Specialized Pinn’ers will roll fast and get sufficient traction. The Pinn’er is a race oriented tire. It only goes up to a 2.3, which measures like a Maxxis 2.5. I’ve run them for adventurous XC, and they inspire a whole lot of confidence.

– If you’re riding a mix of terrain — including that bottomless Tahoe/Downieville powder — a 2.5 Chunder in the front will give you better hook in the corners. A Pinn’er in the rear will maintain some of the rolling speed. This would be a great combo for D-ville, as well as Santa Cruz.

– If you’re riding looser terrain, a pair of Chunders will give you tons of hookup in the corners and on the brakes.

The soft Chunder side knobs seem well supported. I’ve never felt them folding. BTW: According to a former tire product manager, those 2 durometer points are less than the average variance in rubber batches. The actual difference between 42 and 40 is negligible.

Last DH season in the Mountain States, I did some events on Minions and some on Chunders. Both tires worked great.



See also:

Review: 2006 Specialized downhill tires

Specialized Pinn’er and Pinn’it

My instincts say you should try the Chunder front/Pinner rear.

— Lee

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