It’s been a long, long time since I’ve run IRC tires. For many years, their Mythos XC were my tires of choice. But being a lover of all things new and shiny, eventually I moved on to various other things and, over the past decade, the IRC brand really sort dropped off the scene.
About a year ago, we heard rumor they were developing Road Tubeless tires, so we reached out via email. Crickets. Then we saw them at Interbike, tucked into a little 10×10 booth in the basement with a tiny little display featuring two new road tires. And lo and behold, they are tubeless!
Two versions are on tap, the Roadlite training/racing tire shown above, and a lighter weight race-only version. Check actual weights and first impressions below…
The daily driver Roadlite model comes in at just under 300g per tire – 297g and 296g for our test samples.
The Formula Pro Tubeless Light race tires come in almost 60g lighter at 241g and 240g each. Both are 700x23c.
I’ve mounted up the Roadlite model first. They’re being tested on Shimano Ultegra Road Tubeless wheels with Caffe Latex sealant.
First impressions are good. Total tire weight (plus a bit of sealant) is about what you’d end up with using a reasonably light standard tire and tube, so the benefit here is being able to run slightly lower pressures without fear of pinch flats and, more importantly, puncture protection. Greatly reducing the chance of having to remove and fix a tire/tube on the side of the road is reason enough for me to make the switch to tubeless tires on the road.
Performance wise, the rubber on these is extremely grippy. As in really, really grippy. So far, I’ve only ridden them in dry conditions, but it grabs the corners and doesn’t let go. The sidewalls feel a little bit stiff, but I need to play with air pressures a bit to see if they soften up the ride a bit more than I would expect from a tubeless set up. I’ve tried 100psi to make sure everything’s working right, but generally drop down to about 90-95psi with road tubeless once I’m confident they’re seated well and holding air.
Speaking of which, they mounted up easily and held air quickly. I used a cheap, low powered Black & Decker home compressor (my parents have it to fill tires on their golf cart) and the rear filled and seated in one minute, the front in about four minutes of continuous pumping. I suspect a high powered commercial compressor would have seated them inmediately. With the sealant, they held air immediately and I was off on my first ride with no additional fuss.
We’ll cover more on the casing and tech specs in the final review.