Running out of gas on a motorcycle is annoying. Running out of air in your tires, though, is an emergency, especially if it happens fast, and at speed. But while you can––and should––check your bike’s tire pressures before every ride, it’s a lot harder to know what’s going on during the ride.
The TireGard Wireless Tire Pressure Monitor lets you know you’re losing pressure before you lose control, and that could save you from a face-to-face meeting with the pavement. The model I tested comes with a mount for round handlebars, including a clamp, several adapters for different diameter bars, and a bracket to hold the monitor. In theory you attach the clamp to the bar, and the two-piece bracket to the clamp, or you attach the bracket to one of the bolts holding the brake- or clutch-lever clamps in place. Neither option worked on my GL1800 Gold Wing, so I used adhesive-backed hook-and-loop to mount the monitor below the ignition switch. The monitor isn’t waterproof, but it comes with a silicone cover.
Tire pressure and temperature are relayed to the monitor by a pair of sensors that replace the valve-stem caps on both wheels. Each sensor is powered by a button battery, and is activated when the wheels begin turning. The sensor marked “1” is for the front wheel, and “2” is for the
rear. Installation couldn’t be much easier––put the sensors on the valve stems, put the included AAA battery in the monitor, and you’re ready to go.
You can enter figures for minimum and maximum tire pressure, and minimum and maximum tire temperature, and toggle from one to the other––although not easily, because the tiny buttons are almost impossible to operate even in thin gloves. Exceeding any of these limits results in a warning on the monitor and a flashing red light. Minimum pressure should correspond to a psi or two below the recommended cold pressures of your tires, but maximum pressure is problematic. The company that makes the tires on my Wing had no such numbers at hand, nor did they have figures for minimum and maximum tire temperatures. Just maintain cold tire pressure as recommended, I was told, and everything else will be fine.
Next I called Big Bike Parts, the distributor of the TireGard, and was told to set the figures “to whatever you’re comfortable with.” Since there doesn’t seem to be a common reason why the temperature or maximum pressure settings were included, I finally gave up and decided to use the TireGard only as a low-pressure warning system.
After checking my tire pressures and adjusting them to the Honda-recommended 36 front/41 rear, I set the TireGard’s minimum-pressure settings at 35/40 and hit the road. It was interesting to watch the tire pressures rise slowly as the tires warmed up. A 30-minute ride at highway speeds on a 50-degree day resulted in hot pressures of 42/50.
I got into the habit of scanning the TireGard as often as I checked the speedometer, so if the pressure in either tire started dropping I’d catch it before it became a bigger problem. A change of 2 or 3 psi would get my attention, as opposed to waiting for the minimum-pressure warning light to go off, which wouldn’t happen until I was down 10 psi (from 50 to 40).
As for the upper limits of pressure and temperature, I still don’t know how much is too much, but I figure after a while I’ll get a feel for how high the tire pressures and temperatures get under a variety of riding conditions, and react to sudden changes accordingly.
The TireGard Wireless Tire Pressure Monitor has a suggested retail price of $259.95.
For more information: Visit bigbikeparts.com