Hands up who checks their motorcycle tyre pressure before every ride? No? Well, you’re in the majority!
Ok, if I’m honest, I don’t either, but it’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking them at least once every 2 weeks. It takes a minute to take a reading and it could save you a big headache. If your pressures are low, you’ll need a decent tyre pump to get them back up to pressure. But a good motorcycle tyre pressure gauge is also an essential!
If you’re going on a long journey, it’s worth checking your motorcycle tyre pressures before you complete your return journey. You don’t want to get stuck miles from home with a puncture that you didn’t notice or tyre wear that could cause an issue. It’s essential you check your tyre pressures when the tyres are COLD as this gives you a consistent temperature to work from.
Motorcycle tyre pressure gauges come in two types; digital and analogue. We’ve put together a shortlist of some of the best motorcycle tyre pressure gauges out there and answer some of the most common questions around tyre pressure. Let’s start with our top picks.
Digital vs Analogue
When you’re up against the decision of which tyre pressure gauge to go for, one of the biggest questions is, do you choose a digital or analogue gauge? We’ve tested around 20 different gauges to find the best motorcycle tyre pressure gauge.
Here are some pros and cons between a traditional analogue pressure gauge and a digital tyre pressure gauge:
· Less expensive
· More reliable (no batteries)
· Larger dial can be easier to read
· Less clear readings (relying on your line of sight of the needle)
· Clear display with accurate reading
· Usually backlit
· Requires batteries
· Can be more expensive
I use a digital tyre pressure gauge when it comes to checking my tyre pressures for trackdays. For my road bikes, I have a pressure gauge attached to my footpump and I go off that as I’m not that bothered about being 1 or 2 psi out.
It all comes down to personal preference. If you’re the type of person who is likely to check their digital tyre pressure gauge’s battery less frequently than their tyres then just buy an analogue gauge as it won’t let you down when you need it.
Quality pressure gauge developed by tyre professionals
With a posh backlit blue LCD, you’ll get clear readings from this quality gauge. Switch between PSI, BAR, kPa and kgcm at the touch of a button. The rotating nozzle and a thumb pressure release have been designed to make it a doddle to get accurate pressures every time.
Accurate and reliable tyre pressure gauge
The Oxford Pro is analogue and works without batteries. It has a 2-inch high-contrast dial, so no missing what measurement you get. A right-angled chucks stop any fights with the valve and an easy-to-reach pressure release button on the body makes it simple to adjust your pressures.
What do they use in the MotoGP paddock?
We spoke to long-time World Superbike and now MotoGP Technician Steven Bradley. His team, the Petronas Sprinta Racing Moto3 team, use the Prisma tyre pressure gauge pictured above.
According to Steven it’s a popular choice in the paddock and it allows you to record and calibrate front and rear tyre pressures for different situations. In racing, this would cater for wet and dry tyre pressures as well as allowing the team’s tyre technician to amend and record pressures for different track temperatures.
Designed for Motorsports, the Hiprema 4 automatically calibrates for every use providing the most accurate pressure measurements within a 0.5 / 72 psi pressure range. The digital display shows hot and cold pressures and automatically stores them to memory for your convenience.
Perfect for track days, the backlight on the screen automatically adjusts for the best lighting and its water and dust resistant. If it’s good enough for MotoGP…
Prisma Hiprema 4 / See it on Demon Tweeks.
RiDE Magazine Tyre Pressure Gauge Test
Best Buy: Venhill VT32
The Venhill VT32 won the RiDE magazine’s Best Buy for Tyre Pressure Gauge in 2018. It won for scoring high in accuracy, ease of use, features, and build.
The VT32 is a solid gauge that fits well into the palm of the hand. It features a solid 90° chuck with a 360° rotation, a long braided line, and a bleed valve to fine-tune. It also comes at a great price. You can buy it online here.
Halfords tyre pressure gauges
Halfords stock a large selection of tyre pressure gauges. Two of these are specifically aimed at the motorcycle market and cost between £10 and £22.
The best one, at £22, is the dial-type Halfords Tyre Gauge Pro 0-60 psi. It is a heavy-duty gauge with a long 10″ flexible hose. It also has a dual dial, showing readings up to 60 psi and 4 bar, and features a bleed valve.
So if you’re in a hurry and need to find a tyre pressure gauge near you, then Halfords is a good bet.
Get a tyre pressure gauge with a hose attachment, making it easy to get on the valve
Always replace the valve cap after checking the pressure. At high speeds the centrifugal pressure on an uncapped valve can cause it to open and the tyre rapidly deflate. Just as any dyno operator how scary it is..
Right-angled tyre valves make it easier to access the valve
Stick to the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressures
If you are running wet tyres on your track bike, you might be tempted to run lower pressures, thinking you'll get more grip but lower pressures close up the wet tyre's tread meaning it can't displace water as well, so stick to the recommended pressures.
Tyre pressure FAQs
What tyre pressures should I run in my motorcycle tyres?
If you ride a conventional motorcycle with a 120/70 – 17 front tyre then a good base to work from is 36psi in the front and 42psi in the rear. A few psi lower won’t make a huge difference but if your tyre pressures are in the twenties your handling will suffer. If you ride a 125cc bike or a scooter, aim for 30psi front and rear.
How often should you check your motorcycle tyre pressures
Check your tyres once every fortnight if you’re riding regularly. Always do this on cold tyres; how do you know if your tyres are cold? As a rule of thumb, a cold tyre hasn’t been ridden for around 2 hours or only ridden on a short run of less than a couple of miles at a reduced speed.
If your motorcycle has been in storage, check the tyres before you go out and after any long journeys to ensure you haven’t got a slow puncture.
What are the best tyres for my motorbike?
We’ve put together a motorcycle tyres review to guide you through the best way to choose a brilliant set of tyres for your bike.
Is it normal for motorcycle tyres to lose pressure?
Yes it is, it’s also normal for you to see fluctuations in your pressures. A typical motorcycle tyre can lose around 1psi per week, which is why it’s a good idea to check your tyre pressures regularly. However your tyre pressures also depend on external factors, like the outside temperature and also whether or not your tyres are warm. You should always check your tyre pressures before you ride, to ensure you have a consistent reading.
How do you put a pressure gauge on a motorbike tyre?
Motorbike tyres pressures are harder to check than car tyres due to access. The rear wheel on a motorcycle isn’t usually too tricky as the rear brake disc tends to be small compared to the wheel size. However on the front, the twin large brake discs on a conventional motorcycle make access that bit harder. The next time you change your tyres you can ask for a 90-degree valve which makes checking your tyre pressures a lot easier.
How does tyre pressure affect motorcycle handling?
If your tyre pressures are low your bike will feel sluggish and won’t want to tip into corners. You’ll notice this most with the front tyre. This is why it’s so important to check tyre pressures.
Can you put green slime in a motorcycle tyre?
You can but it’s best not to run it all the time. If you get a puncture you can use slime to try and stop, or at least, slow the air loss. However the slime prevents your motorcycle tyre shop from being able to carry out a permanent repair as the reside of the slime can’t be removed from the tyre.
How do you find a slow puncture on a motorcycle?
Get a spray bottle and put some washing up liquid and water in it. Spray this on the tyre and any holes will create bubbles in your solution. Spray the tyre, the rim and the valve to check for leaks. Wash the tyre off with water to remove the soapy residue.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this motorcycle tyre pressure gauge guide:
Motorcycle Garage Guide
Here at BikerRated, we think that every biker’s garage should be a sacred place. Not just a place to securely store your motorcycle but space where you can work on it in comfort and enjoy not just riding, but owning and maintaining your motorcycle.
See our motorcycle garage guide for more tips on how to turn your garage or shed into motorcycling nirvana.