Tuesday, July 22

The Chroni(what)cles of Gnarnia

So that tire showed up... the tire of my dreams?

The Maxxis Chronicle 29 X 3.0

It's big.  How big?  Notoriously (without the extra "g").

The Vertigus?  The Vertigampus?  The Pamela Anderson?  (the additional rubber has made it front heavy)

I've lusted after a big tire ever since I gave up 26" wheels.  I loved my competent but heavy (1,800 grams) 3.0 Nokian Gazzy.

Farlow Gap.  2006.  Riding a section I haven't ridden in years... either because I gave up the Gazzy, the trail has terribly eroded, or I have gained a certain sense of my own mortality.  It was an enabler.  I could ride some gnar that I might not have at the time, with confidence and aplomb.  At 8 PSI, it stuck to everything like it had tentacles (not testicles, big difference).

I was reluctant to go to 29" wheels back in 2006.  My go-to 26" tire was the 2.5 UST Continental Diesel, and there was nothing that could replace it.  Then there was the 2.35 Rampage.  I bought two of the first 150 that hit the states (when an awake Mike C cornered the market and pissed off the guys who got caught sleeping).  Then there was/is the 2.4 Maxxis Ardent which took the place of the Rampage as my go-to... but no replacement for my ride-over-my-own-head-with-confidence Gazzy.

Until now?

We shall see.

Most of the trails in Charlotte were closed over the weekend.  I thought about heading to Uwharrie, one hour to the east.  Then I remembered Steve's Place AKA Rocky River Trail.   The most "raw" trail in town.  Rocks of all shapes and sizes, roots, steep pitches, off-camber sections... it would suffice for the purposes of finding the right PSI to run the new Chronicle at for max cush and traction.

Just enough room in the Niner crabon frok for a 3.0 and about zero mud.

I started at 16PSI... sorta.  I use a Topeak Smart Gauge to set the pressure.  I don't think there's a better gauge out there for the money.  I have a pretty tight tolerance for pressure on the Ardent.  Lower than 17PSI and I might ding a rim.  Higher and I'm bouncing all over the place.

Sorta.  I say "sorta" because the gauge is accurate to the single pound, not the tenth.  The bleed valve allows air to creep out at MTB pressures, so going from 18PSI to 17PSI can take 15-20 seconds... which means lots of time for tenths of a PSI adjustments.  Those are just guesses though.  Normally, when I run 17PSI, I wait until 18 disappears, wait a few moments, and then let go.  17.something.

So 16PSI is actually 16.somethingPSI.  I rode some, let out 1PSI, rode some more, and settled on 14.somethingPSI.  I stopped there.

Mostly because I was out of time and desire to ride more of Steve's Place.  I wasted so much of it, time that is.
It makes noise and grabs the earth like it has its own gravity.
So far, no squirm on an Industry Nine Enduro (no ™) rim.  31.5mm outer/26mm inner width for those that want to know.  It looks a little silly, but no more silly than the 2.5 Diesel on a Mavic 819 rim that I used to run.  I'm pretty sure I can go lower on the air pressure.  I might have noticed the extra weight.

"How much extra weight?" you ask.

I don't know if I'm allowed to say.  This tire has prototype written on it, and "industry insider douchebags" don't like when you over-share information.  I will say this.

It weighs more than a dead swallow,

but less than a dead ostrich.

And I guess I can tell you this.  I was always tempted to run the Surly Knard when it came out, even with its lack of decent knobs, but with the 27TPI/wire bead being too heavy and the 120TPI/kevlar bead being too light (for a 3.0 that I can trust in the gnar), this tire is in the Mama Bear department as far as weight goes.

That was a long sentence.

So far, I am impressed.  No, I don't expect it to do what the Gazzy used to do, being that it was a full-on DH tire that weighed more than my frame (with a seatpost collar, headset... maybe even a seat post.  I do expect it to provide a little cushion, grab with Spiderman-like traction, and generally speaking, just be fun to ride.

No, they are not available yet.  No, you shouldn't bother Maxxis yet.  No, I performed no sexual favors to get mine... yet.  I begged the right people... over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

They just wanted me to go away.  It worked.

Oh yeah, and since this is a prototype... who knows if anything I know about this tire will be correct if or when it comes out for general consumption.

This is a terrible review based on one ride.  I hope to ride it again on Thursday, but the weather may not cooperate.  I remain hopeful for the weekend, but things look pretty bleak and with The Pie outta town, local is my only option.  From there, I only have two weekends before I leave for Colorado with my Enduro™ specific rig... then the Shenandoah 100.  Not much time to play.  Meh.

Not a "fat bike."  Just Cosmetically Overweight™.


Rob said...

Its good to be the king apparently! Me wants tyre!

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's going to pack up with the mud...but don't judge a book by it's pictures, or something like that. How'd it do in that dept?

Mike B.

dicky said...

Steve's wasn't muddy. Just slick. Knobs are not as widely spaced as the Ardent, but taller than the Ikon. I am optimistic.

Vertigo Cycles said... It reads tenths and seems to be fairly accurate. It would rob you of your upper body workout though.

Anonymous said...

throw that fucker on a Velocity Dually or the new Stans 52mm...