Lunch Ride Review: IRC Aspite Pro Tires

IRC is a Japanese company that has been making tires for bicycles and motorcycles for quite some time, and they have some truly unique products in their catalog. One of their newest clincher models is the Aspite Pro. While the most common sizes of road clincher tires are 23mm, 25mm and 28mm, there’s been a steadily growing trend of “wider is better,” with 25mm supplanting size 23mm alternatives as the tires of choice for everyday riding. Benefits of wider rubber include a larger contact patch for improved handling, greater volume for increased comfort, and new research has indicated that wider tires offer lower rolling resistance.

IRC is a believer in the “wider is better” philosophy, and makes the Aspite Pro in two sizes: 24mm and 26mm. They sent us a set of the 26mm versions, and when inflated to 100psi on a set of aluminum clinchers, we measured the actual width to be 26.1mm. The Aspite Pro has a 180tpi casing with an aramid bead. Underneath the tread is IRC’s X-Guard belt, an additional layer of material that runs from bead to bead to provide some extra puncture resistance. The tread is, for all intents and purposes, smooth, but with an ever-so-slightly dimpled pattern to give the tire extra grip. We took the Aspite Pro out for a two-hour lunchtime ride, and here are our first impressions.

The Aspite Pro comes in a simple package and can be found in 24mm and 26mm widths.
The Aspite Pro comes in a simple package and can be found in 24mm and 26mm widths.
Clean sidewall graphics will look good on any set of wheels.
Clean sidewall graphics will look good on any set of wheels.
We measured our size 26mm Aspite Pro tires to be closer to 26.1mm, which is a unique size and one that we found to be a terrific option for all-around riding.
We measured our size 26mm Aspite Pro tires to be closer to 26.1mm, which is a unique size and one that we found to be a terrific option for all-around riding.
A Japanese company, IRC ensures that models like the Aspite Pro are manufactured in house in Japan.
A Japanese company, IRC ensures that models like the Aspite Pro are manufactured in house in Japan.

LUNCH RIDE REVIEW
We’ve become big fans of wider tires in recent months, so it’s great to see more width options from tire manufacturers. We measured the 26mm version of the Aspite Pro to be a hair larger at 26.1mm, making it a great choice for most any kind of riding. We mounted a pair to a set of simple, aluminum clinchers, and found the installation process to be about average—the tires slipped onto the rims easier than many comparable clincher tires we’ve tested, but not as easily as many others. Again, just about average. Our two-hour ride took us through a mix of flat and rolling sections on some new, pristine tarmac stretches, as well as some rougher sections of road. Even though the tires weren’t quite fully broken in, overall grip was terrific, which we partly attribute to its 180tpi casing—higher than most comparable alternatives. On some short, fast descents, the tires held their line very well. We even found ourselves taking a shortcut through a flat, hard-packed gravel section and the Aspite Pros showed no signs of trouble–even when we were forced to cross a wide, wet pool of mud.

Our two-hour lunch ride included a short, muddy section on an otherwise dry gravel road, and it proved no trouble for the Aspite Pro.
Our two-hour lunch ride included a short, muddy section on an otherwise dry gravel road, and it proved no trouble for the Aspite Pro.

IRC offers several other models, and most of them are available in tubeless-compatible versions. The Aspite Pro, however, is not a tubeless tire. But we’re excited to take it on some longer rides to confirm its hearty amount of grip, as well as to test its long-term durability and puncture-resistance. Its retail price of $68 seems reasonable, and might even prove to be a great value should long-term durability stack up. And with a width that’s right in its own little sweet spot between most 25mm and 28mm models, the Aspite Pro clinchers will definitely be getting more riding time on our bikes.

STATS
Price: $68
Weight: 248 grams
Sizes: 24mm, 26mm (tested)
www.irc-tire.com

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