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IRC Roadlite X-guard



Durable 'do-it-all' road tyre with great grip and low rolling resistance – but not cheap
Grippy in the wet and dry
Decent rolling resistance
Only one width
Pricey for a clincher

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The IRC Roadlite X-Guard clincher rolls surprisingly well for a tyre designed for training and endurance rides, and it's grippy too. Durability also looks good, although sizing is limited and it's not the most competitively priced of its ilk.

This is the non-tubeless clincher version of the Roadlite, and it's a quality all-rounder for those who are happy using inner tubes. I wouldn't say it excels anywhere in particular, but it's a solid and dependable tyre for all kinds of riding.

Its 120tpi carcass gives a surprisingly supple ride for the thread count, and the tacky compound gives plenty of grip in the corners.

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The test period has seen a massive range of temperatures – from early-morning frosts to mini heatwaves – plus very wet and very dry conditions. The IRC performed admirably in them all, and it's a tyre that gives plenty of confidence as you head into the corners.

2021 IRC Roadlite X-guard tyre 25mm Clincher Fitted 1.JPG

Feedback levels are good, and you can easily feel if you start to lose traction.


X-Guard is what IRC calls the protection belt beneath the rubber for puncture protection. This set has covered plenty of miles on wet back lanes coated with all sorts of debris, and I've had no issues with flats or even much in the way of damage from thorns or flints.

The rubber compound looks to be durable too, as in six to eight weeks of testing they are barely showing any signs of wear and tear.

Fitting the Roadlites onto various rims revealed no issues with getting them on or off, which is comforting should you ever find yourself at the side of the road with a puncture.

> 48 of the best road bike tyres - rubber for speed, durability and puncture resistance

On a 19mm internal width rim this 25mm tyre measures just under 26mm, so they are pretty true to size when using modern, wide road wheels. The 25mm width is the only one on offer though, so if you want something of 28mm and above you'll need to look elsewhere.


At £48, the Roadlites are a little pricier than some similar tyres I've tested lately. The very good Panaracer Race D Evo 4, for instance, is £39.99. Plus I tested the 28mm Evo 4 and it's just 10g heavier (252g) than this IRC (242g) at 25mm.

Shaun rated the Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite tyre too, calling it 'Quick, compliant and very reliable for general road duties,' and that will set you back £44.99.

Overall, the IRC Roadlite X-Guard is a classy all-rounder that copes with all kinds of road conditions and riding styles – it's a proper fit and forget tyre. If you can find it discounted, it's a great choice.


Durable 'do-it-all' road tyre with great grip and low rolling resistance – but not cheap

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Make and model: IRC Roadlite X-guard

Size tested: 25mm

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

IRC says: "The IRC Roadlite X-guard is a fast rolling tyre with the X-guard puncture protection belt that runs from shoulder to shoulder. The 120 TPI casing ensure a smooth ride and the tyres low weight means it feels like a race tyre. The Roadlite grips well in the wet and dry and is durable. So whether it be club runs, training rides, sportives or a bit of racing this one tyre that can do it all."

It's an all-rounder with good performance throughout.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

X-Guard shoulder to shoulder puncture protection

120 TPI

25mm width

Aramid bead

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Unless you want something super light or supple for racing, the IRC fulfils any role you have for it on the road.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good balance of speed, grip and durability.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Only one width option.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

A smidge under fifty quid puts them at the upper end for this style of clincher tyre. Others (like the Panaracer mentioned in the review) are more competitively priced.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a good all rounder that pretty much does everything you want from a road tyre. With a choice of sizes and perhaps a more competitive price it would score higher.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!

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