Roadgear "Hi-Tec" Digital Tire
last thing you should be wondering about when you're leaned over in a fast corner
is whether or not the tires are inflated properly.
happens to me on occasion -- out of nowhere, all of a sudden I
catch myself wondering why the tires aren't simply sliding out
from under me. Not that I'm anywhere near Boy Racer or
anything. But motorcycle tire dynamics are a wonderful and
Even more amazing when you watch the likes
of Rossi, Bayliss, Edwards, and the rest of the MotoGP and
Superbike crew leaned over at elbow-dragging lean angles!
How do those tires do that??
I do think
about tires quite a bit. After all, those little tiny
contact patches are all that stands between your 85+ horsepower
and the asphalt.
So I figure the one thing I can do
is make absolutely sure my tires have the right amount of air
pressure before each and every ride. I definitely have
gotten into the habit of checking tire pressure as soon as I
unplug the bike from the Battery Tender and roll it out for
What's interesting is that different bikes, tires and wheels seem
to lose air at different rates. I had a BMW K75 with cast
wheels and tubeless Dunlops that seemed to keep a steady pressure
for weeks. They would just need a pound or two and they were
ready to roll. My BMW R65 has the same cast wheels, but with
Bridgestone tires. The pressure only remains the same for
maybe a week or less.
And my latest acquisition, a Triumph Thunderbird Sport, has spoked
wheels and radial Avons with tubes, but needs air about every two
Why is tire
pressure so important? Motorcycle tires are very sensitive
about correct tire pressures, partly because there is a
correlation between the contact patch and the tire's pressure;
other reasons involve the way the tire's internal reinforcement
will cause heating and cooling cycles that may be affected by
The bottom line is that changes in tire
pressure can have dramatic effects on handling, braking and
Improper tire pressures can also affect tire wear.
Roadgear's website has some numbers that indicate a 30% reduction
in tire pressure can reduce tire life by 48%.
Although a 30%
reduction is pretty dramatic, and I would guess that webBIkeWorld
visitors would never ride their bikes with such under-inflated
rubber, the point is still valid, especially considering the cost
of motorcycle tires. Even a few PSI less than required can
change the wear characteristics of tires.
The lesson here is that it's really important to check your bike's
tire pressures before every ride. Now some wheels are fairly
easy to check, although motorcycle tires are harder to check than
car tires, mostly because of the orientation of the tire
It seems as if some unique contortions are necessary
to get most tire pressure gauges to fit between the spokes or the
cast wheel braces and/or the brake disks. The T-Bird seems
especially hard to check -- it has a nice pair of big front disks,
which have caused some trouble in fitting a selection of tire
pressure gauges between the disk and the tire valve with enough
clearance to take a pressure reading without inadvertently dumping
2-3 pounds of air out of the tire.
pencil-style gauge is hard to use on this tire/wheel
combination. Not sure if you can see it, but
the pop-up rod with the pressure readings hits the
disk, while the spokes interfere with the opposite
side of the gauge, which makes it hard to get an
some work to get an accurate reading with the
Accu-Gage on the same wheel. It's a two-fisted
operation and it takes 2-3 tries to get the gauge
head correctly fitted on the valve.
shape of the Roadgear gauge makes for an easy fit
between the front disks and the Akront rim of this
bike. It's a one-handed operation with a
experience has been that the classic "pencil" style
gauges don't seem to work very well with many motorcycle
tires. The head isn't offset at a wide enough angle to fit
on the valve without causing and interference problem somewhere on
the wheel or disk with the numbered rod that pops out the
I'm also not convinced that the pencil-type gauges are
accurate, especially when held upside-down, which so often happens
when checking motorcycle tire pressures.
I bought an "Accu-Gage" tire pressure gauge a while
back, thinking that the flexible hose and offset head would make
it easier to get it clamped on to the valve stem without
Although the But it seems like you have to be a
contortionist to hold the gauge, bend the hose, and fit the head
on to the valve stem to get a good reading.
That led me to the Roadgear "Hi-Tec" tire pressure
this item advertised in the back of the print motorcycle
magazines, and I've also read the short reviews that appear now
The Roadgear gauge always seems to get glowing
reviews: Motorcycle Consumer News recently gave it the
"Innovation of the Month" award, and American
Motorcyclist, Motorcycle Tour & Cruiser and Motorcycle Cruiser
magazines also recently had reviews of the Roadgear gauge and they
all really liked it and found it to be very accurate, even when
compared to the Dunlop Tire pressure gauge tester.
gauge has a uniquely shaped head that allows it to fit very easily
on most tires. The end is curved so that it fits under a disk or
spokes, and the head is offset at a 90-degree angle, unlike most
other pressure gauges, which usually have a shallower angle.
This makes it much easier to press down on a motorcycle tire's
valve to get a successful reading without a lot of
It is the only gauge that is comfortable for me to use on the
Triumph and that fits handily between the bike's big front disks
and the valve.
What's also nice about it is that it has a sort of positive
reading feature -- you either get a reading or not.
pencil-type gauge, for example, it's possible to get a false
reading if you don't have the head precisely on the valve.
The little rod that pops out with the pressure numbers on it can
come out only part way, or most of the way, but it seems like you
have to take two readings to make sure you've got it
Roadgear gauge either fits on the valve or it doesn't. If
you don't get a good reading, it will tell you by indicating
"00.00". Roadgear claims its accurate within ±
1%. The gauge measures half-pound increments from 5.0 to
99.5 PSI, so it would also be good for some of those high-pressure
This gauge fits very neatly to hand -- it feels like it's feather
light, weighing only 46 grams. Almost everyone who has
handled it is amazed at how light it feels.
I'm not sure how
they got the electronics and battery in there, but they did!
It also has a lifetime lithium battery and a five-year warranty,
which is not only unbelievably great, but probably beats any other
tire pressure gauge on the market by miles.
The Hi-Tec gauge is definitely my favorite. The electronic
design of the gauge doesn't permit a bleed valve because each
reading is taken individually. But it would be nice to have
a little nipple on one side of the gauge, which would make it
handy to bleed out any excess air. But that's a pretty minor
It's actually kind of fun to use the Roadgear gauge. The
only thing better would be if tires didn't lose any air pressure
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From "O.W.": "After reading the review on your site
I went out and bought one of these gauges and it is a relief to finally
check tire pressures without becoming a contortionist. I compared this
gauge with another digital gauge I own for my truck and the pressure
readings are identical so both are either very accurate or equally not
so. I like to think positive though. Anyway keep up the good work as I
frequently look at your site and turned some of my friends onto WBW
From "T.W.": "I
bought the Roadgear High Tec digital tire pressure gauge after reading
the review on your website. (Actually, I also read a positive review in
Rider magazine, but your review was also very helpful and informative.)
I am very pleased with the product and found that it makes a huge
difference in making a routine task much easier to do with greater
accuracy. Thanks for the review, and I enjoy your website, in general,
for the interesting and informative articles and reviews."