If you’re an older guy like me you remember when a telephone was hooked to the wall with a cord, you typed your letters on a typewriter and a tire gauge was just a pencil-sized device with a rod that popped out when you utilized it. Well, if you’ve kept up with technology since then and have a Blackberry, computer or an iPod you’re going to love the new Roadgear Programmable Digital Tire Gauge.
We all know how important proper tire inflation is, especially for those of us who ride motorcycles as we have only two relatively narrow tires to support us. Just a few psi off ideal and your bike will ride and handle sloppily or unpredictably, and tire life will suffer. It’s best to check and adjust tire pressure on all your vehicles at least once a week, or daily on extended rides.
With that said, Roadgear’s Programmable Digital Tire Gauge will keep the techy intrigued while offering good, solid information. First, it’s a hefty little bugger, about the size of the handle of a good-sized screwdriver, and its rubberized surface feels good to the hand. It has a large LCD readout, and the right-angle nozzle swivels 360 degrees to ease its use on all styles of wheels. To utilize it, simply press the nozzle onto the valve stem, hold it a second, and when you withdraw it the tire pressure will be displayed on the large backlit LCD readout to ½ psi for about eight seconds before turning off. It’s easy to read day or night.
As the late Billy Mays would say, “But wait—there’s more!” The programmable part refers to the fact that the gauge can be preset with your desired tire pressures, front and rear, as a reminder, which takes a little fiddling but the directions are clear. The gauge is programmable for only one set of front/rear figures, and keep in mind that these are only a reminder—the gauge itself cannot adjust pressure, and does not alert you if your bike’s tires are not at their target settings.
One other feature is that the gauge has a bright little light that can be activated by pushing a button above the LCD display. I tried it at night and it does illuminate the valve stem—so long as the nozzle is rotated to align with it; it’s also handy for map reading in an emergency. The gauge is capable of measuring from 5.0-99.5 psi, and Roadgear claims that it is accurate to +/- 1 percent.
I tried it against Roadgear’s talking Hi-Tec Digital Tire Gauge ($24.90), and each time I used it both gauges either agreed, or varied by no more than 1?2 psi. It fits nearly all valve stems on all motorcycle wheels, but sometimes can’t be aligned with shorter or sunken stems when the hefty body of the gauge contacts something first, as is often the case with car wheels and wheel covers. The product carries a five-year warranty, and the lithium battery is replaceable.
The Programmable Digital Tire Gauge performs as advertised, but the consumer will have to decide whether its additional features of the flashlight and recommended pressure numbers are worth its suggested retail price of $32.90, which is $8 more than the Hi-Tec Gauge that is not backlit but talks and measures pressure, or Roadgear’s $19.90 Ready-to-Go Digital gauge that is neither backlit nor chatty but has a tread-depth measuring tool.
For more information: Visit roadgear.com or call (800) 854-4327 or (719) 547-4572