Checking the air pressure in your tires at least once a week is an important part of the maintenance of your machine. This article attempts to show what kind of gauges are available for this task.
While you're shopping for a gauge, do yourself a favor and buy a bicycle pump. It takes very few strokes of a floor pump to get air into a motorcycle tire, and then you can check and inflate your tires any time you want. A floor pump is best, but it doesn't have to be a fancy one like this. You don't really need a gauge on it. Use an actual automotive pressure gauge. They're more accurate.
There are a lot of different gauges to choose from. Many people use the stick or "pencil" gauges, with good results. They're inexpensive, and are durable and take up very little room on your bike. They're not always accurate, though. If you, or a friend, have an electronic one, compare it to the cheap one and see how far off it is from being accurate. Then write the difference on the gauge itself or tape paper on it reminding you of how much (if any) it's off.
The most important thing is to find out what range your tires work best at, keeping above the minimum recommendation in the owner's manual, and keep it in that range by constantly checking them. This is an important part of riding safely.
Here are some models to consider, in no particular order.
- A clip-on type with a flexible hose that works quite well
- Has a pass-through so you can pump while it's connected
- Push release valve
- For a true dial gauge, its design is compact. Good for travel
- About $20 + s/h
- Clip this on once a week and check the tire. If low, clip the pump to the other end and pump some air in it while checking the gauge. The bleed valve makes it easy to get your pressure exact.
- Although not an angled connector, there's no problem with it and the 250. Also, the flexible hose is not just rubber; it has those fiber weave things outside, so it feels more robust. The overall build feels very sturdy and heavy.
Accu Gage There are lots of different types of gauges on this website.
- About twenty bucks, with a right angle chuck to make it easy to get to valve stems between discs
Accutire MS-4021B Backlit Digital Tire Gauge
- It's inexpensive, zeroes easily, and is accurate to 0.5 PSI. Fast reading. Available all over the web.
- Dissenting viewpoint: The Accutire MS-4021B and the Accutire MS-4400 are not very good for the Ninja, and probably most motorcycles. They are very difficult to seat on the valve, and a lot of air usually escapes before you get it on there. It is also nearly impossible to not get your hands dirty finagling the thing onto the valve. They do seem reliable and accurate, just the wrong shape.
Road Gear Ready-To-Go Hi-Tec Digital Tire Gauge, model number TG102
- About the same size and weight of a standard pencil type gauge.
- Valve fitting is set 90 degrees from its length, so it sticks straight out from your tire so that brake rotors, spokes and the like just aren't in the way.
- Valve depressor is set 180 degrees from the valve fitting, so bleeding air and rechecking pressure is super easy and fast.
- LCD readout - 5.0 to 99.5 PSI in 1/2 pound increments.
- Very nice tread depth gauge is on the end away from the air pressure parts.
- Very nice, easy to use tool, small and lightweight.