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.
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)|
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.