When I received the press release for this product I thought it was too good to be true, especially for $210. A couple late-model motorcycles come with factory tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) now, and others offer it as an expensive option, so I’ve been able to experience the convenience and added safety such a system provides.
It’s no substitute for regularly inspecting your motorcycle’s tires for wear and foreign objects, but knowing at a glance—without having to crawl around on your knees with a gauge—that your bike’s vital tires are properly inflated sure is nice! I mean like Hallelujah nice!
Now Big Bike Parts has brought this convenience to virtually every bike that has valve stems. Its TireGard Tire Pressure Monitoring System uses tiny battery-operated, wireless sensor/transmitters that screw onto the valve stems and transmit inflation data to a pocket-sized receiver with an LCD display. You set lower and upper pressure limits for the tires in the receiver, and the instant those limits are exceeded—up or down—this little device will start flashing, beeping and vibrating. The rest of the time the unit displays the actual pressures front and rear, and updates them when a tire undergoes a 1 psi pressure change. The receiver has a switched backlight, and also displays tire and ambient temperatures and can warn when tire temperature limits you set are exceeded, too.
Each time I simulated a pressure drop by unscrewing a transmitter from a valve stem (no, I’m not about to stick an ice pick into one of my tires for the sake of absolute realism), the receiver instantly began its tweeping and shaking. I also tried setting a very narrow upper and lower pressure range, and when the tires warmed while riding the pressure rise unfailingly set off the device. We also tried unscrewing a sensor several times, moving farther and farther from the bike with the receiver each time, and were able to get a signal about 50 yards away.
Each sensor takes the place of a valve cap and is marked with a number so the receiver knows which tire the data is coming from. The sensors come with anti-theft rings you can install if desired, and BBP sells the sensors separately if one is lost or stolen. The sensors are powered by one lithium button battery each with a claimed life of one-two years; the receiver takes a AAA battery that BBP says will typically last about six months. Separate icons for all three batteries on the receiver display indicate when they’re getting low.
I tried the TireGard on several bikes, including one with angled valve stems (make sure the sensors clear everything on the bike for a full rotation of the wheel/tire) and it worked flawlessly under hot, cold, dirty and bumpy conditions, and the sensors didn’t leak air. The valve-stem-mounted sensors are waterproof, of course, but the receiver is not. The best place for it is a pocket next to your skin where you can feel it vibrate, or someplace where you can see it—the beeping is not loud enough to be heard on a running bike.
After you try it this is one of those products you’ll wish you’d known about long ago, especially if it’s hard to access your bike’s valve stems. The Big Bike Parts TireGard TPMS 2 Wheel sells for $209.95; no tools are required and batteries are included. There’s also a version for Trikes ($279.95) and a 4 Wheel kit ($349.95) for bikes with trailers.
For more information: See your dealer or contact Big Bike Parts, 2300 Pioneer Avenue, Rice Lake, Wisconsin 54868; (800) 826-2411; www.bigbikeparts.com