The IRC Siren Pro tubeless tire hasn’t been around long in the BMX race scene but is already making waves. With legends of BMX racing Sam Willoughby and Alise Willoughby heavily attached to the tire it’s hard not to notice. Sam designed the tire and Alise, the most winningest BMX racer in history, bets her reputation on them. The Aussie distributor CTD Industries dropped us a set to check out. Here’s the run down, starting with a little history lesson.
IRC, founded in 1926, have a lot of history manufacturing tires for the bicycle industry. They were a heavy hitter in the BMX race scene in the 80’s, and then again for a few years during the mid-school era with their Siren tire. At a guess I would say it was around 1999-2000. The original Siren was a competitor to the Tioga Comp 3, it had a chunky knobby tread pattern to grip the all dirt surfaces. The only downfall was it’s soft compound, while they did provide lots of grip, they wore out very quickly.
Times have changed, the knobby tire is long gone from the sport and it’s all about reduced rolling resistance and more grip through tight and high speed paved corners. The market for high end race tires today is very competitive and there are many different offerings. Tioga, Maxxis and Vee are the established bigger players, but IRC are poised to take a big chunk of the market with the IRC Siren Pro, especially when they grow the range of sizes.
I run the Alienation Malice/Mischief combo rims and found the Siren Pro 20 x 1.75 / 20 x 1.9 combo easy to fit. I didn’t need any tools getting the beads in to, or out of, the rims. For the three month period of using them I ran them with tubes and kept them at 90psi (they are rated to a maximum of 100psi).
It’s been a mostly winter review, perfect to test the grip from what’s essentially a racing slick. Some tires have a better feel after a little use, but after throwing the sirens on I headed to the track to race a local meeting. They were grippy from the get go on Northern BMX’s paved (Sick Surface straights and Tar corners) track. In fact it was only after a couple of gates, that night, that I recorded a PB to the bottom of the hill.
To get a real feel for them I took them on the road to Sydney for the opening rounds of the National Series at Sydney BMX. Sydney has a low start hill, long first straight and probably the lowest and tightest corners in BMX racing today. Not once did the tires let me down, sure I’m no elite pushing the speed of sound but I do have over 120kgs over the bike. With 90 psi I had no trouble through the corners, and I managed to get around them ok while some of the elite riders were struggling.
It wasn’t until the trip home though that they were really put to the test. We hit up a tar sealed pump track at Luemeah Skate Park & Pump Track on Sydney’s outer suburbs. It was so new you could still smell the freshly laid tar. It had also been raining. A combo that would normally have me leave the bike in the car, but I had some tires to try. After a couple of laps of building up some confidence I was hitting the corners with speed and having a little sideways fun on the jumps (on purpose – of course).
I’d given the tires a good run and was happy with them so far, but hadn’t ridden on dirt yet. The bmxultra.com backyard testing ground was out of action because of the weather, so I took them down to Park Orchards. Although it has tar corners, it still has a granitic surface on the straights. It’s not surprising to find the tires were up for the task there, providing plenty of grip and good power to the ground.
The Siren Pro is a tubeless tire, like all tubeless tires, they still work with traditional tubes if you aren’t ready to play around with sealant. While tubeless hasn’t quite caught on yet in BMX racing, it’s only a matter of time, which means they are future proof. An interesting point worth nothing though is when IRC unveiled the Siren Pro they stated “When mounted to a tubeless-ready rim and used with sealant, the Siren provides lower rolling resistance, more consistent contact with the ground and a better ride feel compared to tires with inner tubes.”
I have seen them used in a tubeless set up and the rider was very happy with them on all accounts, but I was happy with their performance with tubes.
How do they compare weight wise?
Comparison of 20 x 1.75 tires
- The foldable Maxxis DTH weighs in at 345 grams.
- The Maxxis Torch is 345 grams.
- Tioga Powerblock is 305 grams.
- The Vee Speed Booster is 385 grams.
The IRC Siren Pro 20 x 1.75 weighs in at a respectable 340g.
As a tubeless ready tire they need to be a little heavier than usual in the side wall so they don’t seep sealant. Given that, 340 grams is quite impressive.
Designed by former World Champion, Olympic silver medallist and G.O.A.T contender Sam Willoughby, the Siren Pro offers BMX racers unparalleled performance on any track. Lightweight and fast-rolling, the 120 TPI, tubeless-ready tire rails turns, smooths out technical straightaways, and provides insane grip on the gate and out of corners.
“You may want to bump up your gearing because you’re going to be cruising quicker than ever with the Siren Pro.” —Sam Willoughby
The Siren Pro performs great with or without tubes. It’s Tubeless capable rigid sidewalls give you the ability to run up to 100psi but you may want to bump that gearing up because your going to be cruising along Quicker than ever with those higher pressures.
With a Kevlar bead and high-pressure casing, the Siren can be inflated up to 100PSI for ultra-low rolling resistance on smooth surface riding. The reinforced sides keep the casing from flexing as you corner, and allows you to track a perfect line. The Supple centre tread conforms to the riding surface, smoothing out bumps. Combined with a high-rebound compound, this gives the Siren an incredibly low rolling-resistance.
Supple 120 TPI shaped casing allows for minimal ground contact when rolling in a straight line.
|Value for money:||4.5/5|
- The IRC Siren Pro tire is one of the more expensive tires on the market right now, price (and small size range) is all that’s holding the Siren’s back. That said the Siren Pro offers high performance and durability. You can be confident it will deliver and hold up over time.
- For a tubeless tire the IRC Siren Pro 20×1.75 is about as light as you can get.
- When Sam Willoughby and the IRC tire crew set out to develop the Siren Pro tire you can say they nailed it. Exceptional grip on the gate, through corners and of course when powering through straights.
- The IRC Siren Pro looks the goods, ready for fast straights and aggressive cornering.
Looking for new tires? If price isn’t a problem and they are the right size for you the Siren Pro’s tick all the boxes and provide plenty of grip. Make sure you check out the IRC Siren Pro’s, you won’t regret it.
IRC Tires are distributed in Australia by CTD Industries (ctdindustries.com.au).
Reviewed by Shane Jenkins/bmxultra.com July 19, 2021