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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
1 = Sucky and 5 = Pinnacle of Radness