If you read my Tyre Pressure Guide you’ll know that it’s pretty important to make sure you are running the correct tyre pressures for you, your bike and the conditions you’re riding in, but without a decent pressure gauge it would be pretty hard to do that.
Below I have listed my top 5 pressure gauges based on the large amount of pressure gauges I have used over my time doing track days (I was too tight to buy one for myself you see). If you’re looking to get yourself a gauge then have a read of the following five entrants to help you better decide on the best tyre pressure gauge for you.
A popular choice of tyre pressure gauge around the paddock, simply because it does the job it needs to for not a lot of money while having a fairly high quality feel. The main dial is housed in rubber to protect from the inevitable drops, and the swivelling angle head makes locating the tyre valve a breeze.
The dial is readable in 0.5psi increments between 5 and 100psi, or if you prefer bar then it’s 0.1bar increments between 0.3 and 7. A handy feature is the brass bleed valve which lets you bleed small amounts of air out while you keep an eye on the pressure on the dial. Handy if you’re trying to fine tune your tyre pressures (like more of us are).
Another popular choice around the paddock for similar reasons as the above, the Race X Professional measures from 0 to 60 psi and 0 to 4 bar. It has a smaller, solid neck to it and a 45 degree angle chuck for easier readings.
Being smaller than the Draper it will be a little easier to carry around (it comes with a case too), but because of its non-swivelling neck it can make it a little more difficult when measuring the front tyre pressure on a bike with twin discs. This also has the bleed valve to fine tune your pressures.
For those after something a little simpler and dare I say it, ‘old fashoined’, then this Draper pencil type gauge could be right up your street. It measure between 6 and 50psi in 1psi increments (though it can be easily read in 0.5) or 0.5 to 3.4 bar in 0.1bar increments if you prefer.
With its basic but solid design and construction it looks like it could last a lifetime, so for those looking for a simple, easy to use pressure gauge (with a pocket clip so you can look like a fully certified mechanic) this could well be what you’re after. It also comes with a tyre valve remover.
For those wanting something simple but from the modern day, this digital tyre pressure gauge is just as simple as the pencil style Draper, but with an LCD reader.
It measures from 0 to 150psi (or 0.15 – 10 BAR) and shows pressure in 0.5psi increments. It’s easy to manoeuvre around the front discs, but to get a solid seal on the valve it will need your other hand to press down directly on the head. Not difficult, but it just means two hands are probably needed.
Very similar to the Race X Professional above, this Sealey gauge comes in much the same form with its design and pressure release button. The only real difference is the added benefit of a tyre depth gauge which measures tread up to 10mm deep. The Sealey gauge measures up to 120psi or 8bar.
Unfortunately like the Race X gauge, the solid neck means it can be a little difficult to get it around the front disks, but once you get a knack for it, it isn’t really too hard. Just remember brake disks get hot!
Having used a multitude of different tyre pressure gauges in my time doing track days I’ve pretty much sampled all of the above types of gauges (or at least they’re very similar), and in my opinion the easiest ones to use are the one with hoses as they’re less awkward when measuring the front pressures.
So if it was my money I would be opting for the draper with its middle of the road price, yet high quality build and performance. However, not everyone is after the same thing so if you have a different type in mind, then any of the above would read pressures just as well as the draper.
A motorcycle tyre pressure gauge is only as good as its accuracy and while none of the above will be perfect (often a percent or two out) they will be good enough for their purpose.
It’s worth noting though that over time gauges can start to give inaccurate readings, so you need to keep it calibrated. To do this just ask the tyre specialist at the track to set your tyres to a given pressure, then use your gauge to check if it reads the same pressure it has just been set to. Another thing you can do is test it against other gauges to see if they give the same readings for your tyre. If you can, change the dial to show the compensation, if you can’t (more likely) just make a note so you remember the difference.