When it comes to buying expensive items like tires, it’s always a toss-up between price and quality. It’s easy to say that quality wins because you get better performance, however; it’s not so easy when you see what a high-end Michelin tire costs. Here we are going to look at a cheaper tire alternative to Michelin, the American-made Ironman tires.
Some budget tire companies are really good, and they might not give the same kind of performance as Michelin, but they get the job done at a good price. Ironman, unfortunately, is not really one of these brands. They lack in performance, and they will wear out much sooner than Michelin tires which means in the long run you won’t be saving that much money.
What's In This Guide?
Ironman Tires’ History
Ironman tires’ does not have a deep history like some other tire brands as it is relatively new. Ironman is an associate brand of Hercules Tire & Rubber Company which was founded in 1952. The Hercules Tire & Rubber Company created the Ironman tire company in order to provide their customers with a cheaper tire alternative.
Some of their tires are made in China which gives them a bit of a bad name, however; customers are relatively happy with ironman tires. What Ironman tires lack in performance and durability they make up for in affordability.
Ironman Tires’ Families
Since its creation, Ironman tires has been a budget brand. You should not, however; expect some form of diamond in the ruff. The fact of the matter is they are cheap, and they will not give you big brand performance like Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, or even their parent company, Hercules Tires.
The best bang for your buck from Ironman tires is most likely going to be their commercial tire selection if used on company vehicles that are used primarily for highway and city driving. Alternatively, Ironman tires’ do have an affordable off-road tire that isn’t half bad.
The four Imove tires are Ironman’s all-season tires. They vary from being all-season performance tires to entry-level touring tires, fitting all shapes and sizes of vehicles. With such a wide selection, you are sure to find the tire you need.
The Ironman GR 906 is designed to be the ultimate all-season tire from Ironman. This tire is built to get you home safely in the harshest of weather conditions. Additionally, the tire also implements some road noise minimization elements to increase comfort.
Ironman’s RB line consists of four tires which are all designed to be the entry-level touring tire for customers that are looking for an affordable tire. These tires can be further divided into two groups, Passenger vehicles, and SUVs/LTs. The two-passenger vehicle tires focus more on all-season traction whereas the SUV and LT tires lean more towards increased stability at high speeds.
All five All Country tires are designed for light trucks and SUVs and are primarily all-terrain tires. The All Country CHT and the All Country HT are highway touring tires with the CHT designed for commercial use. The all-country M/T is also a little different as it comes pinned for winter stud use.
There is only one tire in this line, the Radial A/P which is designed for light trucks and SUVs. The hybrid tread design features large, staggered lugs for traction on virtually any surface and extra sipes for confident grip.
This tire is Ironman’s winter tire. It does come with the three peaks symbol; however, it is an entry level winter tire so don’t expect BLIZZAK levels of performance. To give you that extra level of grip in icy conditions, they tires come with pinned holes so that you can add winter studs.
Finally, the I-109 is Ironman’s fully commercial tire designed for light trucks. It is built to last long while also not breaking the bank. This is a good choice for a small company that doesn’t want to spend heavily on consumables such as tires.
Michelin is currently the second-largest tire manufacturer. Found 132 years ago, on the 28th of May 1889, by the Michelin brothers, Édouard and André. Michelin’s success can be attributed to the key technologies they invented which drastically changed the tire market.
Before getting into those key technologies though, I wanted to mention Michelin’s impressive advertising campaign. You see, when Michelin was still in its infancy, its main problem was that the market was too small. Thus, Michelin undertook the goal to make the automobile more popular.
The main way they did this was by making and selling maps of the country. With their map campaign, they made people realize that there were benefits to having an automobile. Their aggressive marketing set them up to be a household name when people started buying automobiles.
Michelin’s first major technology was the removable pneumatic tire, which predated the map marketing campaign and was patented in 1891. Before this, if you wanted to fix a flat or change a tire it would take up to three hours to remove the tire because it was glued to the rim.
Then you would have to wait a full day for the glue to dry. When the brothers went through this whole process for a client, just to have the tire fail within minutes, they came up with the removable pneumatic tire.
A few months after the patent Charles Terront won the world’s first long-distance cycle race with the removable pneumatic tire. Some thirty years later the company introduced another iconic tire technology.
In 1934 Michelin introduced the run-flat-tire. They did this by designing the tire with a special foam lining that would support the tire if it was punctured. Their most influential invention, however, was yet to come.
In 1946 Michelin invented the Radial tire. The radial tire, without a doubt, revolutionized the tire industry. The radial tire introduced the steel belt that runs the circumference of the tire, under the tread.
The tire also has nylon fibers in the sidewall to give structural support. The fibers are aligned 90 degrees to the tread which provides both flexibility due to the material, and stability due to the alignment. Because the tread and sidewalls are supported by different systems, the tire is more durable because advantages can be garnered from both systems.
Michelin even had their stint in Formula One, taking four constructors’ championship wins. These victories were not without hardship, however, as Michelin was at the heart of the US Grand Prix debacle in 2005. After many disagreements with the FIA, Michelin finally pulled out of Formula One at the end of the 2006 season.
With Michelin only second to Bridgestone, they are a reputable company to buy tires from. Their tires provide some of the best performance in all areas and they are reliable. Michelin’s strategy is to “use technology and innovation to make its products and services stand out.”
Michelin Tire Families
With Michelin having been so much more impactful throughout the tire world, they have many more tire options to pick from. Though this can be overwhelming as you might feel as though you have too many choices, it actually means that you can pick that tire that meets your exact needs.
The four CrossClimate tires are all-season tires that are more capable in the snow than most all-season tires as they have the three peaks symbol. With their unique tread pattern, they will not only turn heads but all last a long time, especially compared to other tires that have the same winter ratings.
The Defender is Michelin’s long lasting tire that can go anywhere. Design to operate in just about any condition, these three tires all come with a warranty up to 80,000 miles. Many claim that the defender is the best long-lasting tire on the market.
These three tires are designed to improve your fuel efficiency, whether it be on the family car or a small sports car. The tires can be used all-season round and they save fuel by keeping the tire cool due to a unique silica-based rubber.
Consisting of six tires, the latitude line will provide winter, summer, and all-season tire requirements to SUV, CUV, and light truck owners. There are three basic areas which these tires cover: touring, sport, and winter.
The Primacy tire line is the all-day everyday tire from Michelin. With seven tires in the line, you can customize your pick to best fit your needs. The main goal Michelin has with this tire line is to provide safety and comfort to the user in all conditions.
The Pilot is one of Michelin’s biggest attractions. With a whopping eighteen tires in this line, you can truly optimize your vehicle’s boots in order to maximize all of its potential. Most of these are summer tires with a small amount of grooving, however, if you want some wet and wild fun or a bit of fun in the snow, the pilot line has it all.
As you can probably tell from the name, these are Michelin’s most luxurious tires. There are only two tires in the line, one for passenger cars and luxury performance cars, and the other tire is for SUVs and Crossovers. Both tires will substantially reduce road noise and provide a smooth ride.
The LTX tires are all about “bigger is better” as both tires in the line are made for light trucks and SUVs. One tire is aimed at the all-terrain experience while the other tire leans more toward commercial usage.
Finally, the X Ice is all about winter. All three tires are winter only tires. All of these tires use studless winter tire technology where the main difference is the vehicle they can be fitted to.
Differences Between Ironman Tires and Michelin
The main differences between Michelin and Ironman are price and quality. Price-wise Ironman tires are far cheaper than Michelin will ever be. Though Michelin is more expensive, you will most likely get a better bang for your buck if you shop from Michelin.
Michelin’s tires are far superior in quality, and they provide good warranties for most of their tires. A lot, if not most Ironman tires do not come with any limited warranty which is different to the industry standard. Though Ironman tires are lower in quality, you can rest assured that they are still safe, so if you do not want to drop a stack of cash on Michelin tires, Ironman tires are still an option.
Advantages of Ironman Tires
- Very affordable
- Decent all-season variety
- Decent all-terrain variety
- Good customer satisfaction reviews
Advantages of Michelin
- Large range in terms of variety
- Very good quality tires, especially in the high-performance category
- Excellent reliability with good warranties to back it up
- Innovative fuel efficiency technology
Which Brand to Choose
For the most part, you are going to want to go with Michelin for the best value for money and the highest performance. If, however, you want to save money in the moment or run some cheaper tires on your business fleet, then Ironman tires are the way to go.
When buying any tire from any brand, you should always look up some reviews first before buying. Additionally, make sure you know what the warranties are and that you understand them.