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Maxxis Chronicle 29+ – Love at First Corner

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The Maxxis Chronicle was a tire I was super excited about as soon as I saw pictures of it on the interwebs. Luckily, it hasn’t disappointed and riding it has been a case of love at first corner. All of that said, this isn’t a tire I would run on both ends of my bike for a majority of the midwest singletrack I most frequently ride.  Unlike the Knard or Trax Fatty which is more of a balanced and all rounder type tire, the Chronicle is more specialized and tends to be overkill for some conditions.

To start with the basics of this tire, you can check out the dimensions and weight for these tires by rolling back to the “First Look” that Gomez posted back in July. When you compare these tires to the Trax Fatty and Knard you are going to see a lot of similar numbers; 120tpi casings and dimensions that work out to a true 3” tire on most rims. My experience setting the Chronicles up tubeless was as equally awesome as the Trax Fatty (and slightly better than the Knard). Where the Chronicle differs from the other two is in the tread design and sidewall reinforcement.

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Maxxis uses their EXO sidewall technology in the Chronicle which adds a layer of cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant material to the sidewall. In theory should boost sidewall durability considerably but I didn’t have an opportunity to test this during my mid-west riding. Comparing the feel of this tire to the Knard and the Trax Fatty, I would expect the Chronicle to be considerably more durable making this the go to 29+ tire if you ride in sharp, rocky terrain. Luckily, the reinforced sidewalls didn’t seem to hurt the feel of the tire which is nice and supple, conforming to the terrain at low pressures.

 

Another distinguishing feature of the Chronicle is its squared off profile. It has very short 2mm tall knobs in the center and as you move to the outside the knobs get progressively taller up to some sharp and stout 5mm tall side knobs. For comparison the knard has a mix of 2 and 3mm tall knobs in the center and the side knobs way on the outside are 4mm. The side knobs also start 3mm further inboard on each side compared to the knard. All of this adds up to a much more aggressive cornering tire.

From right to left: Knard, Chronicle and Trax Fatty

From right to left: Knard, Chronicle and Trax Fatty

The center of the tread seems to be plagued by the same poor mud shedding performance of the Knard and Trax Fatty but the side knobs of the Chronicle shed mud really well. This assists with drive traction but is a huge boon when cornering in the wet. The Chronicle is no mud tire but is a lot more viable option than other available offerings.

Knard on right, Chronicle on left. Note the side knobs of the Chronicle are fairly clear while the Knard is packed.

Knard on right, Chronicle on left. Note the side knobs of the Chronicle are fairly clear while the Knard is packed.

The above advantages do come at an expense though. The Chronicle is a lot heftier tire than Knard and Trax Fatty weighing in about 100g more per tire than the Knard and about 200g more per tire than the Trax Fatties I tested. That works out to almost half a pound and a pound more respectively for two tires which is a noticeable amount of heft at the outside of your wheels. Sitting on the side of the trail trying to boot a torn sidewall might make that added weight seem well worth it but if you don’t need the durability, the weight is a drag.

The squared off profile also puts more tread on the ground for any given pressure. This aides in drive and braking traction but frankly all 29er+ tires seem to excel in the drive/braking traction area so it doesn’t offer up any game changing improvements. All that tread in contact with the ground does seem to make the Chronicle roll a bit slower rolling. This was never super noticeable but when picking tires for race day or any ride with a lot of road, I would be reaching for one of the other tires.

Like I started out with, I love the Chronicle and am super excited it is coming on the market. My stoke is mostly because of how it differentiates itself from the Knard and Trax Fatty, offering distinctive advantages for certain locations and conditions. If I lived out west or out East where there are rocks and/or mud, this tire would be a staple front and rear tire. For my midwest conditions the Chronicle makes a great front tire with the Trax Fatty in the rear to balance out the added weight and rolling resistance of the Chronicle.

Lastly, there are the looks of the tires. I would never let this stop me from running a tire if it was the best for the conditions but I do have to say that the graphics of the Chronicle are a bit over the top with a giant yellow Maxxis label and also a giant Chronicle logo. Have to say my preference is for a bit more subtlety.

 

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Now that we are starting to get some 29er+ tire options I thought this chart may help sort out the strengths and weaknesses of each:

Tire Cornering Mud Clearing Sidewall Durability Weight Rolling Resistance
Surly Knard (120 tpi) 2.5 2.5 2 3 4
Vee Tire Trax Fatty (120 tpi) 2.5 2.5 3 4 4.5
Maxxis Chronicle 4 3.5 4 2 2.5

1 = Sucky and 5 = Pinnacle of Radness

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13 Responses to Maxxis Chronicle 29+ – Love at First Corner

  1. Glenn Brooks October 22, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Well, I particularity like your sucky – Pinnacle of Radness rating scale. Finally, someone creates a scale with meaning. Well done. I rate it 5.0!

  2. truman November 26, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Are you finding any variances in the height of the 29+ tires? (knard, chupacobra, chronicle,and traxfatty). I am trying to find a 29+ setup to fit onto a Bucksaw.

    Thanks

    • Ken Blakey-Shell November 27, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      All of the tires I have measured have been very, very similar in size. The casing width and heights have all been within a millimeter or two of each other when freshly installed. I haven’t gone back through and checked now that the casings have stretched a bit. The variations may have grown now that the tires have stretched out but I am guessing that won’t benefit you in fitting it in a Bucksaw.

  3. Truman November 28, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    Thats a bummer. B+ it will be.

  4. Pat Scharfe January 13, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    I’ve had the Knard 120’s, which were great for the first option out there…Still are for certain conditions in my opinion. Then I started to ride the Chronicles in July. At first I felt they over steered/gripped on the front, which after some air pressure play I got dialed. I agree that these are a durable, sweet cornering tire that sheds mud better than the Knard, but wait for it… I ran the Chronicle until early November when my set of Dirt Wizard 29+ samples showed up. Now if you want a sweet cornering tire…wait for these bad boys! Currently I am a fan of the DW on front and the Chronicle on back. Just wait for these to hit the market, I’ll give them an A.

    • 911bmx March 25, 2015 at 11:50 am #

      I took my new Chronicles out last night for their madden voyage snapped on to a pair of WTB Scrapers. I too felt they steered/gripped off the front….I was running 13
      psi front, 15 psi rear and know this was the contributing factor for the front feeling hooky. This said, what psi did you adjust to?

      • Ken Blakey-Shell March 27, 2015 at 8:25 am #

        I ran them at 11-12psi and weigh around 200lbs. Our trails tend to be fairly smooth so if I was riding someplace with more potential for rim strikes I would probably up that by a psi or two.

  5. chuck October 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    Hi – I just picked up a Chupacabra and was thinking I would use that as my front tire for my midwest winter riding tire and was thinking the Chronicle or Dirt Wizard for the back tire. Does that make sense? Or vice versa? Also, going to make the commitment to tubeless when I get my rear tire figured out. I am using Rabbit Hole rims on a Krampus and expect to use this in some snow and muddy moto trails.

  6. Ken Blakey-Shell October 28, 2015 at 7:29 am #

    Personally, I would run the more aggressive tire up front in the winter. If your rear tire slips out it is generally pretty controllable. Heck, sometimes it is kind of fun! When the front tire slips it can be far tougher to control.

    • chuck October 28, 2015 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks Ken. I will give that a go. Sound logic. Back end breaking loose is fun (phrasing!). I guess it comes down to DW vs Chronicle. Is self-steering worse with the DW or the Chronicle? Thanks for the awesome articles and great way to waste time at work.

      • Ken Blakey-Shell October 28, 2015 at 9:57 am #

        I can’t say I noticed self steer issues with either unless I was running WAY too little pressure so I don’t think that is likely to be an issue with either of those tires. I am guessing the bigger factors are rolling resistance and mud performance. The Chronicle is a faster rolling tire in most conditions but the low, closely spaced knobs in the center of the tire are not nearly as good in the mud as the Dirt Wizard.

  7. Jason December 28, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    Great review!

    So now that the snow has finally arrived, it sounds like DW is the best option for hard packed trails, gravel roads and streets with car-tire single tracks in the snow. Agree?

    • Ken Blakey-Shell January 4, 2016 at 5:26 am #

      Thanks!

      I haven’t tried the different 29+ tires really in the snow (I have firmly switched over to full fat now) but if I was going to pick a 29+ tire for the snow riding, I would certainly start with the Dirt Wizard. The big, widely spaced knobs seem like they would punch through better and their mud shedding ability seems like it would transfer over to clearing snow well also.