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Can a Gadget Small Enough to Fit on a Keychain Possibly Help Save your Life?

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August 6, 2012 by Rider Newsletter Staff

We’re Talking Tires – Again
Monitoring tire pressure in real time can save your skin…

We’ve talked a lot about tires around here. That’s because, like it or not, your life depends on those two inflatable rubber tubes. Recently, a rider told us that his beloved Gold Wing was sitting at home with a nail protruding from the tread. He was questioning whether it was safe to ride the bike to get the tire replaced (note, we said replaced, not repaired) or if he needed to put the bike on a truck, or use a towing unit, to take it in.

The reason he knew about the nail in his tire was because he has a wireless tire pressure monitoring system. While riding home from work, the rear pressure dropped below its preset minimum value alerting him that something was amiss. As luck would have it, he was close to home, so after completing the journey with great care (and white knuckles) a quick inspection revealed the ugly truth.

In this case, the monitoring system alerted the rider to a potentially serious hazard and allowed him to take precautionary measures. The fact is; a wireless tire pressure monitoring system makes keeping your tires at the correct level a no brainer.

Digital monitoring puts the information right in front of you and can warn you with flashing lights or symbols when things are going awry. While every new car sold in America must now have tire pressure monitoring systems, only a few motorcycles are equipped with them at the factory. Aftermarket designs and prices can vary considerably, depending on the type of system and the complexity of its design.

There are basically two types of monitoring systems available. One design uses a monitor that is attached to the inside of the rim prior to installing the tire. Many people think these systems can be more accurate. In addition, they can’t be stolen. The second, and more common, systems utilize replacement valve stem caps that include pressure gauges and tiny transmitters. Some can also measure tire temperatures. These are obviously much easier to install. Most systems come with lock-down rings to make it difficult (but not impossible) to steal the transmitters. Display units range from large mounted systems to small units that fit on a keychain.

Prices for wireless monitoring systems range from as low as $80.00 to several hundred dollars. A good way to compare systems to go to Web retailers who sell multiple brands and read the ratings and comments users have left. As always, asking around (either in person or online) is the best way to find a system that will work for you. Keep in mind that if you often tow a trailer, you should get a system that can monitor four wheels instead of two.

Because tires are so critical to motorcycling safety and wireless monitoring systems have come down in price and complexity, this is a highly recommended addition to your bike. Besides, it’s a cool gadget and who doesn’t need more of those!


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