It’s amazing how many riders overlook one of the most crucial aspects of their bikes when they consider uprating performance – wheels and tyres. After all, they’re the things that are putting you in contact with the ground.
The condition of your tyres, whether in terms of wear or how well they’re inflated can have a huge effect on your bike’s handling so optimising them via pressure gauges and pumps, wear gauges, etc should be vital.
On top of that, a roadside puncture repair kit is a wise buy – as can be puncture-preventative sealants. The wheels themselves need to be balanced correctly. Plus of course, you can customise the look of your bike with things like rim stickers and ‘tyre art’.
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But what can you get, what do they do and which are the best? Here’s our round-up of our favourites – and where you can buy them.
Best multi-use tyre inflator and pressure gauge
I keep finding more and more uses for this Ring digital pressure gauge and inflator - whether it's
The joy of never being able to think of sensible (non-bike-shaped) Christmas and birthday present
You don’t get a battery with it – I didn’t need one as I’ve got other Ryobi tools already and the batteries fit all tools – but the 4.0Ah unit I’ve got would set you back another £66.99. The unit will chug out a decent 16 litres of air per minute and can deliver up to 150psi (10.34bar) of pressure, which is dramatically more than you’ll need for any bike or car tyre. The hose is 20in long and comes with a right-angled connector for the valve. I’ve not had any difficulty connecting it to my various different bikes’ valve arrangements. It comes with a set of connectors for your other inflatable needs, too – whatever they may be!
It’s a doddle to use. Simply slot your battery in place, connect to the valve of your chosen inflation victim, and squeeze the trigger. It’s not the quietest thing ever, but is completely in line with every other electric powered inflator I’ve used. As the pressure builds, the analogue dial will give you a reasonable idea of the psi/bar figure – but I’ve noticed that it’s not super-accurate, or necessarily consistent. Overall, I’d say it over-reads by around 5-10% most of the time, so I tend to overinflate by about that figure, then check the pressure manually with a Venhill gauge for accuracy. Afterall, 10% out is 3 or 4psi on a bike tyre, which can make a fair bit of difference to feel and tyre performance on some bikes.
Verdict: So, it’s not the cheapest, nor the most accurate – but if you’ve got a fleet of vehicles and an aversion to manual labour, it’s a pleasing way to dodge some effort.
I’ve been taking this pump to track days to alter tyre pressures and it performs the task
The amount of air it pumps is well-measured, so while you can accurately increase in 1psi increments, it’s also not too much hard work adding 10psi or more when needs be, and it’s far less cumbersome than a foot pump. It’ll go up to 160psi, and you’ve got a choice of fittings, too. Finally, I love the way the long air pipe stows away, looping over the handle and clipping in on either side.
When you’re at a track day, one of the most important considerations is tyre pressure. I’ve been
It means I need a way to accurately drop pressures, so step forward this useful gadget from Oxford. It’s a solidly built gauge that holds the peak pressure reading until you press the reset button, allowing you to use it in confined spaces such as a garage.
The reset button also bleeds air pressure from the tyre, meaning you can accurately measure the precise pounds-per-square-inch needed for your hoops to perform perfectly. The gauge itself is large and simple to read, with a tough acrylic window that has stood up to everything I’ve thrown at it.
My only criticism is the 360-degree swivelling head, which can prove fiddly to get onto the valve at times. I’d prefer one that attached to the valve rather than having to hold it on to operate. The 36cm hose is extremely solid and thus tough to bend, which can make accessing the valve a little tricky as well.
However, for the money I’m impressed. It’s been with me on multiple track days so far, and I’ve always been glad of its compact dimensions when cramming my kit into a rucksack. It’ll work up to 60PSI, so would be suitable for a small trailer or caravan as well as your bike and any cars you’ve got access to.
Editor's Pick - We've tested this product and would spend our own money on it
A decent pressure gauge should be a must for all bikers, after all, how many times have you
There’s a large, easy-to-read scale graduated in increments of just 2psi; the gauge is mechanical for long-life accuracy; there’s a 250mm long, flexible reinforced rubber hose and a precision bleed button for accurate deflation.
More and more new bikes today come with the option of a factory-fitted tyre pressure monitoring
An aftermarket, accessory version like this is the solution. You simply fit the two special caps that wirelessly connect to the display which monitors the pressures. Easy, simple and surprisingly cheap!
Motorcycles don't have the luxury like most cars of coming equipped with a spare wheel in the case
A popular alternative to carrying a puncture repair kit is to install a tyre sealant such as this
When a puncture does occur, the escaping air pressure forces Goop into the hole immediately forming a strong, airtight seal, and will seal as many punctures as may occur. It can also seal leaking rims meaning it can work on both tubed and tubeless tyres.
It will last the lifetime of the tyre or tube and simply washes away with water without leaving a sticky residue behind when a new tyre or tube is fitted.
There's not much use being able to accurately measure your tyre pressure or repairing a punctured
It’s cordless, running off a rechargeable battery so you can use it anywhere, is suitable for motorcycles, rated up to 120PSI and has two clear LCD digital displays – one for the preset pressure you require, the other for its current pressure.
A cheaper, simpler alternative to sophisticated tyre-pressure monitoring systems are these
If the pressure drops below the minimum rating, a red ring shows – meaning it’s time to check and inflate your tyres. Simple but effective.
Fancy smarting up your bike's wheels? Then how about this easy to apply wheel stripe kit from
Again, if you need to be able to inflate your bike's tyres but don't want to go to the complexity
This one is by Gear Gremlin, comes with all adapters, is easy to use and is suitable not just for motorcycles but also scooters, bicycles, footballs, basketballs and even inflatable watercraft.
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