IRC Tire

IRC Tire

Created in Japan in 1926, the Inoue Rubber Company first started production of bicycle tyres and inner tubes. Over their 95 year history they have delved into the motorbike and wheelchair tyre markets and have made rapid development within their bicycle tyre range in more recent times. They dominated the Asian market, having 9 offices and factories across the South East producing and distributing tyres to the Far East population. Since becoming associated with the Belgian Waffle Ride, their gravel cycling tyres have taken the market by storm and are rated highly by amateurs and pros alike. Their road range has grown off the back of this increased off-road publicity as more and more people are making the jump to IRC from established brands such as Vittoria and Continental.

 IRC cover the complete spectrum of tyre needs for drop bar bikes. Their top range of tyres for on the tarmac are the Formula Pro series: the Super Light, RBCC and X-Guard models all available in 25mm, 28mm and 30mm. These tyres are all tubeless ready, so they can either be used with or without tubes. The difference between these tyres is the level of puncture protection and air retention features that they each offer. Formula Pro X-Guard tyres have two layers of bead-to-bead nylon casing (the X-Guard technology) as well as a latex lining around the tyre for the highest level of protection within the line-up. The RBCC tyre has the same latex lining but without the X-Guard nylon protection. With the Super Light, the tyres do not have any of the extra puncture protection features and without the latex lining which leads to a lighter tyre. The difference between the SL and the RBCC is that the RBCC holds air slightly better in a tubeless setup. From my own experience the 25mm Super Lights came in at around 225g each, compared to the claimed weight of the Continental GP5000TL 25mm at 300g. This leads to a weight advantage of 150g less when compared to the Continentals, so if you are after all the weight savings going then the Super Lights are the tyres for you. IRC also offer the Roadlite tyre in both tubeless and tubed versions, which both use a slicker tread than the Formula Pros. Along with these, the Aspite tyres are available with a tread sitting somewhere in the middle between the Roadlites and Formula Pros, the key difference being that the Aspites are only available for those running inner tubes. This rounds off IRC’s latest road range.

 Whatever your style of off-road riding, IRC have you covered on that front too. The Boken tyre is their flagship model ideal for dry, all-round gravel riding over mixed terrain available in 36mm and 40mm widths. If you need more traction for when the conditions aren’t perfect, the Boken Slopchop and Doublecross are an option with a bit more tread. For those running 650b rims the Boken Plus is a slicker version of the Boken tyre which is perfect for bombing down bridleways, footpaths and hardpack gravel in 42mm and 47mm. The Serac CX tyres are mostly for cyclocross racing but can also be used for gravel riding, with many variations so you are sure to find the tread to suit your needs. All Serac tyres are available in standard and X-Guard versions with the single 32mm wide option. 

 I first used IRC on my road bike, moving from Vittoria Open Pave tubed tyres to Formula Pro RBCC in 2019. Primarily I wanted to make the switch to tubeless, knowing of the benefits of the system as well as wanting to try something new. So I took a bit of a plunge in trying IRC which I had not heard too much about prior and I do not regret it. The grip in all conditions was incredible and better than the Paves, which are known for their all weather grip. This was also helped by the ability to run lower pressures with tubeless. I now run Formula Pro Super Lights 25mm and so far the experience has been more of the same from IRC, nothing but praise.

 On my gravel bike I made the jump from Panaracer Gravelkings 35mm to the Bokens 36mm in the spring of 2020 after a year with the GKs. Both of these tyres are preferred for good weather, dry gravel riding as the tread pattern is quite slick compared to other tyres in both of their respective ranges. I ran both tyres tubeless and one major issue I had with the Gravelkings was punctures, they were extremely prone. Working with Maxalami sealant however, I was saved on most occasions by the tubeless system working perfectly. IRC shine through on this front with the Boken rarely suffering from any punctures at all. The Boken is composed of a very slight tread across the centre with bigger knobbles on the shoulders of the tyre to help with cornering, which helped it easily outperform the Gravelkings in all-round off-road grip and control. That being said the Gravelkings are faster rolling tyres on the road as they have almost a road tyre type tread across the whole breadth of the tyre. So between the tyres, performance depends on the ratio of road to off-road that the individual rides. I rode both of these tyres on a pair of BORG22 Disc wheels, keep a look out for the BORG Wheels blog soon...

 I have stuck with IRC and tubeless set ups since and have not looked back!

 We are proud to stock a great range of IRC tyres on our shop, so be sure to check them out. We are currently offering 10% off when you buy two or more tyres from our shop. If there are any tyres that you are looking for and can't find on our shop, get in touch and we can supply. Listed below are links to some of the tyres that we stock to take you straight there! You can also find great tubeless accessories for your tyres so that you have the best experience. For any information or queries with tubeless, IRC or anything we sell, feel free to contact us via phone or email, we are always happy to help.


Formula Pro RBCC

Formula Pro X-Guard


IRC Formula Pro S-Light IRC Boken

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