IRC Tyres is a Japanese brand. IRC have been in business for 90 years, so why haven’t you heard of them before? They’ve sent us some tyres for testing so here’s a bit about them and the tyres
IRC stands for Inoue Rubber Co. Their tyre subsidiary produces motorcycle and bicycle tyres and they’re spreading their distribution to the UK. IRC Tyres offer a feature you’ve probably never seen in a tyre before; rice! Rice is a crucial part of life in Asia, so why not use it in a tyre?
IRC Tyres’ Rice Bran Ceramic Compound (RBCC) is derived from simple everyday rice. The outer husks of the rice grain is ground into a fine powder, mixed with a thermosetting resin, then superheated. Once cooled the resulting resin block is pulverised to create millions of porous, ball-shaped structures. These have semi-rigid ‘fingers’ extending in all directions, which are then mixed with the rubber ingredients and made into tyres.
Still with me? The spikes, which extend out from the Rice Bran Ceramic Orbs, reach out and grab the road surface for increased traction. The RBCC compound is also porous and this allows it to wick water from the road surface to maximise tyre-to-road contact. The RBCC compound is used in IRC’s road tyres, the Formula Pro Tubeless RBCC and the Aspite PRO WET. Check out the link for more technical info
The UK Distributor tells me he’s ridden with IRC tyres extensively on his road and mountain bikes. He goes on to say that even the non RBCC tyres have good grip in the wet or dry. He also says they’re resistant to punctures and have good durability. This last feature is quite reassuring because at an RRP of around £40-50 for the road tyres, they aren’t cheap.
IRC’s Distributor showed me some of the range he had on display at The NEC Bike Show. We have some of these in for testing so keep an eye out or follow us on twitter or FB for updates. There’s a roundup of some of their tyres for Road and Cyclo-cross below. Their range is quite extensive, they even do tyres for wheelchairs and Eco-Run cars!
Serac CX is IRC’s cyclo-cross tyre. They come in tubeless or inner-tube versions, with three treads types for regular, sand/gravel, or mud. The fit of these tyres combined with their Inner Air Seal system is designed to make them possible to install with a regular track pump.
Roadlite Tubeless tyres were developed for training and endurance riding. Durability and reasonable puncture resistance combined with a 120tpi casing promise the best of both worlds? The Roadlite also has Inner Air Seal system to help with an easier installation on tubeless rims.
Aspite PRO WET
Aspite Pro Wet is a road clincher tyre utilising the RBCC compound for better grip in the rain or dry conditions. IRC claim these have good durability and puncture resistance with an anti-puncture layer over a 180tpi casing. In 24c these tyres weigh a claimed 205g which seems quite light considering their durability claims.
Formula PRO TUBELESS
Formula Pro Tubeless is a race tyre that’s been developed with a pro team to give excellent grip in all conditions. There are three tyres types in the range. The ‘RBCC’ delivers the best all-weather grip, the ‘Light’ is fast and comfortable, while the ‘X-Guard’ has greater durability and puncture resistance.
As I said we’ll be trying these out over the coming months and we’ll let you know how they perform. Our resident tubeless user is particularly keen to see if they can be inflated with just a track pump.