Just how important is it to set your tyres to the right pressure? According to Wil, it is VERY important, and it can make a huge difference to how your bike rides on the trail. In a quest to find the best tool for the job, Wil and the gang have tested out six different tyre pressure gauges. Next up is the Airmax Pro from Schwalbe.
Of all the pressure gauges on test, the Schwalbe Airmax Pro is the cheapest and most compact here. It’s also been around for a lot longer than most. I recall purchasing one around six years ago, where I used it religiously to check tyre pressure on both my own bikes and for customers’ bikes that were being serviced in the shop I worked at. At the time, it came as quite the surprise to riders to realise just how inaccurate the gauges on their floor pumps were.
The gauge itself is somewhat generic – I’ve used the same unit rebadged under the BBB brand, which incidentally costs a couple of quid less. They do the same thing though, and that’s to measure tyre pressure and provide a digital readout to one tenth of a psi.
The Airmax Pro will fit either Presta or Schrader valves, and it features just a single button, which you hold down for a couple of seconds to turn it on. From there the button allows you to toggle through psi, bar, kPa and kg/cm2 units. Simply press the gauge onto your tyre valve, and a short ‘BEEP!’ follows once the gauge has registered the pressure. After removing the gauge from the valve, the measured pressure remains on the screen for you to inspect more closely. To remeasure, you’ll need to hold that button down briefly to reset the screen.
It’s a perfectly adequate and pleasantly simple device. In terms of accuracy, the Airmax Pro came out within a hair of the EVT, Fabric and Lezyne gauges – certainly close enough not to worry about accuracy. I do wish it had a bleed valve though. If you need to let pressure out, you must remove the gauge, then manually release pressure out of the valve, before refitting the gauge to check the pressure again. On a number of occasions I’ve let out too much air, partially because the gauge absorbs some pressure every time you fit it. When this happens, it’s a case of using a pump to pressurise before starting the process over again.
After a solid 12 months of use, the rubber O-ring inside the brass adapter is starting to look a little tatty, though it’s still sealing fine. I’ve only replaced the CR2032 battery once in that time, thanks to the auto-off function that helps to save battery life.
The smallest, lightest, and cheapest pressure gauge on test. I would like to see a bleed valve, but for pure simplicity and decent accuracy, the Airmax Pro is ace.
|Tested:||by Wil Barrett for 6 months|
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The BBB one can actually be had for £9.99 in places. So actually £8 cheaper!
I’ve got this, I think a bleed valve is key with a pressure gauge – That’s the reason it just sits in my toolbox.
How do you know it was the track pumps that were wring, and not your gauge ? I’m doubting it had a in date calibration certificate for 18 quid.
( digital does not equal accurate or repeatable – it can just be an easy to read incorrect number !)