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 DigiGauge from Oxford Products.
As both a brand and distributor of motorcycle and bicycle tools, parts and accessories, Oxford Products offers a number of different pumps and pressure gauges. The DigiGauge is supposedly its most advanced gauge yet, and is claimed to read up to 200psi of pressure via a dual Presta/Schrader head that swivels 180°.
Powered by a replaceable CR-2032 battery, the DigiGauge uses a small LCD display – a little too small in my opinion – that will read pressure in 0.1 psi increments. You can also toggle between psi, bar, Kg/cm2 and kPA, depending on your flavour. Oxford states the DigiGauge is accurate to half a psi, and in testing against the other gauges here, it proved to be right up there.
With two small rubber buttons to control the settings, the DigiGauge was the least intuitive gauge of the lot – you’ll have to read the instructions with this one, since there are a whole host of different functions available, all of which require various presses and holds of the two buttons to access. These include:
- CAL: Calculation mode is used for measuring a single pressure reading
- ADJ: Adjust mode is for live-measuring tyre pressure as you’re bleeding air out
- CLE: Clears the screen of the last reading
- LIGHT: There are two lights; one for the screen, and another small LED that points towards the valve
- Unit: Chance between pressure units, including psi, bar, kPA & kg/cm2
- STA: Restart the gauge
After turning it on (by pressing and holding either button), you’ll need to press and hold the left button for a moment to select either the ‘CAL’ (calculation – which will measure the pressure but not allow adjustment) or ‘ADJ’ (adjust) mode before you fit it to your tyre valve. ADJ mode is what you want for providing live pressures as you bleed out any excess air from the tyre. After inflating the tyre with your pump, you turn the gauge on, select the ADJ mode, then push the gauge firmly onto the valve. Each time you press or hold a button, you’re greeted with a high-pitched ‘BEEP!’ to let you know you’ve done something. If you have a lot of adjusting to do, your riding friends will soon grow to love the sound.
The pressure reading remains on screen even after you’ve removed the gauge from the valve, which is useful if you’re having trouble reading the display at a particular angle. However, you’ll then have to select ‘CLE’ to clear the screen back to zero before checking pressure again. It’s a bit fiddly, but after a few goes, you soon work out the sequences required.
The DigiGauge does fit nicely in the hand, with a textured rubber lining for holding onto. Its curvy profile means it won’t poke into anything aggressively inside your riding pack, or jersey pocket. My only issue with ergonomics is the small metal bleed button, which is quite low profile and a little firm and awkward to press while you’re holding the gauge onto the valve.
Other neat features of the DigiGauge include a back-lit screen for dim conditions, and a separate orange LED light that may be of use for nocturnal fettlers, though it isn’t particularly bright. The auto-off function also means it preserves battery life by turning the unit off after 45 seconds of no action. This means you’ll have to turn the gauge back on if you’ve removed it to add some air with a pump, but it does increase efficiency – after 12 months of use, the battery is still yet to die.
A compact and fully-featured digital pressure gauge that fits in the hand comfortably. It’s initially a bit fiddly to operate, and I think the bleed button could be more ergonomic, and a larger LCD display would also be a nice improvement. Otherwise this is an accurate and great value pressure gauge.
|From:||Oxford Products, oxfordproducts.com|
|Tested:||by Wil Barrett for 6 months|