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IRC Road-Tubeless Tyres

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IRC followed Hutchinson as the second tyre manufacturer to enter the commercial market for road tubeless tyres. Although these completely new tyres won’t be released until the 2008 summer shows we got the chance to test them in a normal day-to-day environment. The first impression of IRC’s ‘Formula PRO Tubeless’ is very positive. As with […]

IRC Road-Tubeless Tyres

IRC followed Hutchinson as the second tyre manufacturer to enter the commercial market for road tubeless tyres. Although these completely new tyres won’t be released until the 2008 summer shows we got the chance to test them in a normal day-to-day environment.

The first impression of IRC’s ‘Formula PRO Tubeless’ is very positive. As with any Japanese product, it is well packaged with detailed instructions in Japanese and English. A small refillable spray container with “tubeless fitting lotion” is even included in the package. This lotion is basically some water with soap which we found to be very important to spray on the tyre bed before mounting: otherwise the tyre does not seal properly against the rim.

The assembly of the tyre on the Shimano WH-7850-SL wheel was quite difficult. Although no assembling levers are supposed to be used we were more or less forced to (carefully) use one plastic lever to mount the tubeless tyre since the tyre bed size is a little tight. It is very positive to see how the tyre bed sets easily by itself on the rim groove when the tyre inflates.

The riding experience was as promised. Compared with standard clinchers, in this case Vittoria Rubino Pro (at the same 700×23 size and the same 115 psi pressure), the IRC tubeless was a bit more comfortable. When cornering the grip was noticeably better and it seems the same with the rolling resistance. The air-pressure remained constant: no air leaks whatsoever. The weight advantage (the tyre weighs only 290 gr) was another very positive factor.

Due to the fact that it is not easy to repair these tyres following a puncture while riding far from civilisation, we would advise using some sort of self sealing liquid. Hutchinson delivers such a product under the name ‘protect air’. Also there are other similar liquids for tubular tyres that should do the same job for the tubeless clinchers. These liquids seal punctures within seconds and make life more relaxed.

“Formula PRO Tubeless” weighs 290 gr but IRC is targeting a reduction to 260gr in the future. IRC’s results, after one and a half years of R&D, deserve a lot of respect. IRC is targeting the release of their tubeless tyre for the Eurobike Show. Deliveries are planned for spring of 2009.

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