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okay, so I've got a 15 year old zefal husky floor pump and almost thirty years of racing experience. I've thought I've had reasonably calibrated fingers and can gauge tire pressure pretty well.

but for $5 at a bike swap, I bought a digital tire pressure gauge made by Slime. I took it home, and tested all my wheels. Mountain bike tires - 18 psi. 'Cross clinchers - 24 psi. Road tires, 85 psi. Hmm. Seems pretty low I thought. Must be a lemon. So I ignored the gauge and continued believing my zefal pump.

Then the other day at the LBS, I decided to buy another gauge (same model) to see how far off the original (bad) gauge was. Funny thing, it's exactly the same.

So now I'm stumped. Either my buddy zefal and I are way off, or slime's gauges are consistently wrong. Not that it really matters - I will ride the pressure I ride anyway, but it's interesting to compare to pressures of others, of pros, etc.

So, anyone use a separate gauge? Any experience with these cheapo digital gauges? Anyone use gauges religiously, as opposed to the pinch technique?

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I use a hand held gauge for the cross bike and mtb tire pressures. The inaccuracies of pump gauges result in tire pressures that could be as much as 5-8psi off the mark. When running at 20psi a 5 psi difference will result in a very different riding tire.
Once we establish the tire pressure I'll make a note of the course conditions, ambient temperature and tire model for the future as a reference.
After a recent track day in a friends BMW M3 this summer Katie and I would measure tire pressures with a handheld pressure gauge after each track session. It was somewhat eye opening to see varying temps as the ambient temperature slowly increased and the sessions got faster. Even sitting in the shade vs in the sun would result in temp variations. Given this info it hits home the importance of tire pressures and how inaccurate pumps can be.
I have a sponsored pump that starts off at 6psi instead of zero so who knows what that little spring in the gauge is doing.
Handheld is the way to go if you are really looking for pinpoint accuracy.
thanks mark for the good info. care to say what gauge you use?

I bet the tire pressures on that car varied a lot due to the tires heating up from each session, in addition to changes in ambient air as well?

if my little slime gauge is right, I've been running a lot lower pressures than I thought in my clinchers...
I've been using a Topeak gauge, I believe Kona Mark was using this one before he hung up his wrenches and retired to the Kona offices.
What I'd like to see is a digital gauge on a floor pump.
On the next trip back to Belgium I'm planning on buying a Bosch handheld compressor pump. It's the same model Stu Thorne of Cyclocrossworld uses.
Craftsman also does a similar version. It's $35 w/o battery and has a one year warranty and a digital gauge. Since I've had mine, the floor pump is gathering dust.
yeah, I've been looking at that one. damn you guys, I may have to spring for it. you've had good with it thom? what does the battery go for?

maybe they'll send us one for "review".
The "pump" has been great. I already had a couple of tools that use the same battery and charger, so I didn't have to pony up for those. I know they are more expensive if you get the battery and charger by themselves. The best deal is to find a deal on the drill or other power tool that comes with the battery and charger. It winds up saving you about $30 and you'll get a new drill or whatever as well. Oh yeah, I also wound up using a much longer section of Silca hose with a Silca head. Mostly just for blingy dingy factor.
You know I don't have a dashing fellow like Mark to check my tire pressure for me, :-)

No I don't have a tire gauge. I will say this ever race I go to, I bring my pump. It's the same pump I have had for years, and it I know that 20lbs on my pump probably isn't really 20lbs, but it's my 20 lbs. Even though I know I'll have a ton of friends with pumps, their 20lbs won't be the same as my 20 lbs. So no Gauge, I bring my own pump.

Grangoue Cross UCI1 October 18
i use the craftsman electric pump as well, i saw stu's in portland last year and had to get something like it. i cut the end of the hose off and stuck a Silca disc wheel 'crack pipe' in there w/ a zip-tie, so i can use it at the track too. that silly thing will get up to 185-190psi on a full charge! under 100psi the gauge reads to the tenth of a pound, so i guess it's pretty accurate. works for me...
I thought about going with the Craftsman but I decided to give this a try.

For race-day, I pump my tires up to 40 psi—which is always more than I'll actually run—and then do several warm up laps, letting air out until it feels right.

I'll report back with my impressions of the Prestaflator.

FYI: I believe you can buy the hose w/ the Silca head on it from Prestaflator and attach it to your portable Craftsman.
the #s look hard to read. not that digital is more accurate but there's no guessing on the #s. so you have a compressor to use it with? or do you plan to use it only as a deflator/gauge?
This is for shop use.
Race day I've always gone by 'feel' rather than a definite pressure.

You may be right about the gauge being hard to read, though I won't know for sure until it shows up. Digital pressure gauges are available at most hardware stores, if need be I'll retrofit it.
I also use the Craftsman handheld compressor pump, and like the rest of you, have attached a silka pump head. But I found that it leaked air slightly, so the digital gauge would not sit still and give me a consistent reading. So, I attached a more modern, clamping pump head and a nice long hose. You can attach whatever you want to the 1/4 inch Craftsman hose with this little lovely, a 3/16 barb splicer, available at any hardware supply in the plumbing section (see attached). PS, when cutting the old head off the Craftsman, the outer covering will fray if you don't wrap it in duct tape first.


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