Hands up who checks their 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.
For longer journeys, it’s worth checking the pressure before you complete your return journey. You don’t want to get stuck miles from home. It’s essential you do this when the tyres are COLD as this gives you a consistent temperature to work from.
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.
Quality pressure gauge with digital readout
With a posh digital LCD, you won’t have to estimate a measurement again. Interchangeable pressure ratings, a rotating nozzle and a thumb pressure release make it a doddle to get accurate pressures every time.
Accurate and reliable tyre pressure gauge
The TireTek Flexi-Pro works without batteries and has a 2-inch high-contrast dial, so no missing what measurement you get. Straight and 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.
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? Here are some pros and cons:
· Less expensive
· More reliable (no batteries)
· Larger gauges to read
· Less clear readings (relying on your line of sight of the needle)
· Accurate display
· 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.
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 check it out at Demon Tweeks.
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
How often should you check your 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.
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.