Roadgear Ultra Hi-Tec Digital Tire Gauge
| Owner Comments (Below)
Yikes! Here we go again, yet another motorcycle
tire pressure gauge review. Will the perfect gauge ever
The good ol' original Roadgear Digital Tire Gauge (wBW
review) is still a favorite, because its "L" shape
fits every motorcycle tire I've tried.
Sportbikes have big disks covering most of the front
wheel, making it very hard to fit a gauge on to the
valve stem. And spokes make it that much more
difficult. The GT1000 is a case in point (see
photos below) and the "L" (or is
that "7"?) shape of the original Roadgear
gauge can usually be manipulated to fit over, around and
through the spokes to seat firmly on the valve stem.
The perfect tire pressure gauge would have a more
radical "L" shape that would, now that I think about it, be shaped just like the number 7, but with a longer,
Anyway, Roadgear sent us their "Ultra Hi-Tec Digital
Tire Gauge" to try, which is a super-nice precision instrument
almost too nice to get dirty. I have a love/hate
relationship with tools like these. They're so well made and
they have that extra je ne sais quoi that gives
them that silky
feel of precision.
If they told me that the thing was made in Germany,
I wouldn't blink. But, believe it or not, it's
made in China, and although I'm a big believer in buying
the output of your fellow citizens' labor, I have to admit that Accutire did a bang-up job on this gauge. I'm
assuming that like nearly everyone else nowadays, Accutire
doesn't actually own the plant but probably has the
gauge made under contract, but who knows?
Now hold on to your hats and make sure you're sitting
down, because I'm about to tell you that this Roadgear-labeled
Accutire gauge costs -- gulp! -- $69.90!
Blimey, that's a lot of dosh! You have to be
one of three things not to think so: 1) A serious tool
freak; 2) A seriously anal-retentive tire pressure
freak; 3) A Sybarite. Yeah, that's me. #1 and #2,
that is. Yep, the first step to the cure is admitting it -- but that's
as far as I'm willing to go just yet...
How to justify the cost of this baby? Here's my logic: A)
serious mechanic owns the best tools they can
afford. B) Tools from "the old days" always seem
better/more robust/higher quality than most of the stuff
made today. C) The stuff from the old days was
expensive at the time, so D) If you want good
quality stuff made like it was in the old days, you're
gonna pay for it.
Ergo, 70 bucks for a
super-high-quality tire pressure gauge is no problem. Now I'm sure not everyone (anyone?) will agree with
me, but hear me out...
The case that perfectly surrounds the Accutire gauge tells you that you're about
to bear witness something special. It's a
beautiful Nylon (Cordura?) case that's molded to fit.
Open the nearly-full-length zipper around the outer edge
and it folds open to expose the beautifully
chrome-plated gauge, gently tucked in, nice 'n' comfy in
a velvety lining. The gauge and the hose are a perfect fit.
This alone is enough to give a tool freak a Certified
FBT (Full Body Twinge).
The Accutire gauge itself is a hefty 65mm diameter by
35mm thick. It's a rubber covered metal and glass instrument.
It looks just like something out of the Olde Dayes, but
it has -- what's this? -- a round LCD display!
Press the "On" button on top and the gauge lights up
with a cool blue backlight, centered in a ring of metal
and chrome. The face stays lit for about 20
seconds and will turn off automatically.
This is a modern take on a classic "Racing" gauge;
its simplicity is a perfect match for its ambience.
None of that talking in 7 languages nonsense -- all you get
here is a
digital readout with numbers from 0 to 60 PSI (it can be
switched to BAR readings by holding the "On" button for 3
seconds). It's claimed accurate to plus or minus
1/10 of a PSI, which is pretty darn good. And the LCD hash marks around the outside of
the gauge face that darken to match the pressure are a
The 35cm long hose has a metal tip with a
spring-loaded lever that must be
placed over the valve stem to take the reading. This is one of
the downsides for using the Accutire gauge on a
motorcycle; the metal tip, or nozzle, doesn't have a
90-degree bend, so the hose must be threaded through the
spokes so that the tip can fit vertically on the valve
But, believe it or not, it can actually work better
on some tires. I found that it's easier to poke
the hose through the middle of the wheel in back of the
spokes than it is to get some other tire pressure gauges
to fit around and through the spokes from one side of
Press the spring-loaded lever and shove the tip home
over the valve stem and it seems to clamp on with less
air leakage than just about any other gauge I've tried.
And it stays on, too, which is a plus. The gauge simply
reads the pressure and that's it.
The entire process is so silent -- so eerily silent
-- that I
didn't even realize the thing was working the first time
I used it. I thought it was broken... Weird,
but the silence gives it that extra air of quality.
The gauge features a bleed valve underneath the
readout and the
hose also rotates 360 degrees if necessary. It
LR44 batteries, a relatively common miniature watch
battery. I have no idea how long the batteries will last,
but I assume a long time, because solid-state
electronics nowadays seem to need very little
electricity to keep running.
The Accutire gauge seems pretty accurate; I compared
it to a couple of other gauges and got basically the
same readings, give or take. The gauge maintains
air pressure in the hose after it's released from the
valve stem because of the spring-loaded clip on the end.
This makes it hard to compare with other gauges,
because as soon as the Accutire gauge is removed, it
takes some of the tire's air with it, decreasing the
pressure. Do this a couple of times with a couple
of gauges, and enough air will have leaked out of the
small capacity motorcycle tire to show quite different
levels of pressure.
Spiffy Spokes - so cornball cool, we just had to
leave them on!
Note the gauge hose, threaded through the center of the
wheel to fit the valve stem.
Probably the ultimate motorcycle tire pressure gauge for
serious gadget freaks, but hey -- you only live once!
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Review: Roadgear Ultra Hi-Tec Digital Tire Gauge
Retail Price: $69.90
|Colors: Metal, Chrome with black
|Review Date: April 2007
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