First Impressions: G.H. Meiser Pressure Gauges

One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions. — Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, USN, PhD

It’s generally acknowledged that high-quality tires can improve the ride of nearly any bicycle. While superior materials and construction contribute to a tire’s ride quality, tire pressure is an often-overlooked component of tire performance. The ideal pressure is dependent on many variables (rider weight, terrain, etc), and often takes some trial-and-error to determine. Having an accurate, reliable pressure gauge is essential for determining a particular setup’s sweet spot.

Founded in 1906, G.H. Meiser & Co knows a thing or two about pressure gauges. The Illinois-based company offers a wide range of tire gauges and accessories for practically any application. For bicycles, Meiser’s Accu-Gage line covers the gamut with 15, 30, 60, 100, and 160 PSI models. Accu-Gage’s feature polished brass bezels easy-to-read 2″ dials, and bleeder/reset buttons. GRAVELBIKE recently tested Presta versions of the company’s 30, 60, and 100 PSI gauges. gravel grinder bicycle tire pressure gauge GH Meiser Accu-Gage G.H. MEISER

With so many different options available, how do you know which Accu-Gage is right for your tires? According to G.H. Meiser, their mechanical gauges are most accurate (± 2%) from 30% to 60% of the maximum pressure, and accurate to ± 3% below 30% and above 60%. The following table illustrates the range of maximum accuracy for Meiser’s bicycle pressure gauges.

Model – Max PSI 30% (PSI) 60% (PSI)
15 4.5 9
30 9 18
60 18 36
100 30 60
160 48 96

To test the Accu-Gages, we compared their readings to values reported by an SKS Airchecker digital pressure gauge. Our testing included high-volume 29er tires (2.1-2.4 inches, 16-26 PSI), medium-sized road tires (32-40 mm, 40-65 PSI), and narrow road tires (23-28 mm, 65-90 PSI). Across the board, the Accu-Gages delivered very consistent results. Even when measuring outside their respective sweet spots, the readings from Meiser’s gauges never differed from the digital gauge’s values by more than 0.5 PSI.

Why not just use a digital gauge? For one, mechanical/analog gauges don’t need batteries. It’s no fun pressing the power button only to have the display remain dark due to a dead battery. Accu-Gages retain their readings until you manually reset the gauge–most digital gauges lose the value when the unit is turned off (which often happens automatically). We also found that the Accu-Gages were far more tolerant of different valve styles (threaded vs smooth) and lengths (including those with extensions). Mechanical gauges such as the Accu-Gage can potentially lose their calibration if dropped, but G.H Meiser offers a $3.00 lifetime warranty program.

The Accu-Gages proved durable enough for home and shop use (one of our testers has a four-year-old gauge from G.H. Meiser that’s still going strong), but not too large or heavy to carry in a seat pack or tool wrap. The Accu-Gages were especially handy on mixed-terrain rides where we adjusted tire pressure to match different surfaces. With maximum pressures ranging from 15 to 160 PSI, there’s a gauge for virtually any type of tire.

Disclosure: G.H. Meiser & Co provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

First Impressions: MKS US-B Nuevo Pedals

Mikashima Industrial Co, LTD–aka, MKS–is known for their track, quill, and platform pedals. The Japanese company, which has been manufacturing pedals for more than 60 years, now offers clipless models as well. One of their more recent designs, the US-B, gained attention due to the pedals’ ATAC-like design and triple-sealed bearings. MKS will be releasing an updated version–the aptly named US-B Nuevo–later this year, and GRAVELBIKE had the opportunity to test prototypes of the company’s new pedal. gravel grinder MKS clipless pedals NJS US-B Nuevo MTB 29er mountain bike

The white cleat guides will be replaced with black guides on production models.

The Nuevo shares the original US-B’s reinforced composite body, chrome-moly axle, adjustable release tension, and triple-sealed bearings. To make clipping-in easier, the Nuevo features additional cleat guides, which attach to the pedals’ rear retention loops. These guides add approximately 50g, and bump the Nuevo’s weight up to 424g for the pair (with the cleats and mounting hardware adding another 48g). According to MKS, production models will be available in black, blue, or red (all featuring black cleat guides), and retail for less than $100.

For our testing, we paired the MKS pedals with Louis Garneau’s T-Flex MTB shoes. This combination proved to be extremely stable, and didn’t require any modifications or additions to the shoes’ soles. Depending on how you install the Nuevo’s cleats, they can be configured for 12° or 15° release angles. We tested both options, but preferred the 12° configuration. If the MKS cleats look familiar, it’s because they’re compatible with Time’s ATAC clipless pedals. Mechanics will rejoice in the fact that the Nuevos can be installed with a 15mm spanner or 6mm hex key.

Clipping info the US-B pedals was immediately followed with distinct tactile–and audible–feedback. With the MKS pedals, there was no guessing if we were clipped in or not. The pedals’ front retention bars are slightly taller, and that made it easier for the cleats to engage, or catch. Once the front of the cleat was engaged, stepping down was the only action required to fully clip-in. The Nuevo pedals feature adjustable release tension, and even on the lightest setting, we never unclipped unintentionally. Adjusting the tension is easy with the included 10mm spanner (an open-end wrench also works), but we’d like to see MKS add markings to indicate the current tension.

In use, the US-B Nuevo pedals felt much like Time’s ATAC system. This comes as no surprise, however, as the MKS and ATAC cleats are interchangeable. While rotational float was similar, the MKS pedals’ retention had a slightly stiffer feel as you approached the release angle. Mud proved to be no problem for the MKS pedals, even with the cleat guides blocking portions of the retention bars’ openings. We didn’t detect any slop or rocking as the cleats wore, and the pedals were squeak-free during our test period.It’s too early to comment on the bearings’ long-term durability, but the pedals are easily serviced with a 6mm hex key and 9mm socket.

We rode the Nuevo pedals with and without the cleat guides, and found that the guides did make clipping-in easier. After five or six rides, we noticed that clipping-in required slightly more effort. Inspecting the pedals, we discovered that the guides’ mounting bolts had become loose, and the guides had shifted position on the retention bars. A few turns of a 2.5mm hex key later, and the guides were back in place. We did make it a point to periodically check the bolts’ tightness, but we’d like to see MKS add split washers or locking compound to the bolts at the factory.

With their sub-$100 price tag, the MKS US-B Nuevo pedals are an outstanding bargain. Whether you’re an experienced rider, or are looking for your first pair of clipless pedals, these pedals deliver a level of performance that’s well above their price point. Replacement cleats are affordably priced, and we like the fact that you can use ATAC cleats if OEM cleats aren’t available.

Disclosure: Merry Sales/MKS provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

First Impressions: Panaracer Gravelking 700×32 Tires

When Panaracer introduced their Gravelking tires in spring of 2014, the go-anywhere tires generated lots of excitement and positive reviews. Our review of the 28mm Gravelking tire quickly become one of GRAVELBIKE’s most widely read articles. Some riders, however, wanted a larger tire with more aggressive tread than the original Gravelking. In response to those requests, Panaracer will begin offering the Gravelking in a 700x32mm version ($44.95 MSRP) in late November, 2014. gravel grinder Panaracer Gravelking 700x32 tire

While the 32mm Gravelking sports a completely new tread pattern, it retains the same casing, folding Aramid bead, and ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) natural rubber found on the narrower Gravelking tires. Our sample tires weighed 305g and 310g; under Panaracer’s claimed weight of 320g. At maximum pressure (95 psi), the tires measured 32mm-33mm, depending on the rims’ width.

Installing the Gravelking tires was completely uneventful. The tires mounted true and hop-free, with no need for cajoling or aids such as soap-and water. Unlike the narrower Gravelkings, which have a noticeably round cross-section, the 32mm version has a slightly flatter profile. Fitting the 32mm Gravelkings on wider rims (23-26mm outer dimension) produced a distinctly u-shaped casing. We didn’t test the new tires’ ability to be run without tubes, but the beads seated easily on tubeless-compatible rims using only a Blackburn floor pump.

On paved roads, the 32mm Gravelkings rode smoother, faster, and quieter than anticipated. The tightly spaced tread, combined with Panaracer’s supple 126tpi casing yielded a ride that outperformed many tires with less aggressive tread patterns. During hard cornering, we didn’t notice any loss of traction or slippage when transitioning from center to side knobs. Although Panaracer lists a maximum pressure of 95psi for the new Gravelkings, we never ran them above 80 psi on pavement. It’s too soon to comment on long-term durability, but tread wear has been minimal after several weeks of commuting duty.

When it comes to dirt and gravel, the 32mm Gravelking handles like a much wider tire. While it obviously can’t offer the flotation or rim protection afforded by higher-volume tires, it certainly feels wider. Hardpack dirt, and loose-over-hard, is where the new Panaracer tire really shines. Drop the pressure to 50-60 psi, and you can comfortably–and confidently–cruise dirt roads and non-technical trails. In very deep gravel, or soft, loamy soil, the tire’s performance begins to suffer, though. For those conditions, you’re better off choosing a tire with taller, more widely spaced knobs.

Panaracer’s 32mm Gravelking does a great job bridging the gap between traditional road and ‘cross tires. The increased traction doesn’t come with a substantial speed penalty, and the tire transitions easily–and predictably–between paved and unpaved terrain.

Disclosure: Panaracer provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.