Topeak Shuttle Gauge Digital
- For use on its own or with hand/floor pump
- Superb accuracy – digital PSI reading identical to floor pump analog dial
- Measures PSI, Bar or KG/CM2
- For use with all types of tires from road to MTB to Fat
- Starts registering at 0.5 PSI, good for fat bikes
- Head swivels 360 degrees for ease of reading
- Auto turnoff after 80 secs of non-use
- Very well made and durable
- Thumb lock a bit cumbersome when pump head attached
- Must use thumb lock for pressure reading
- On the heavier side to carry on the bike
- Display difficult to read in low light and not visible in the dark.
- Light weight and fits in saddle bag
- Audible tone when pressure reading ready
- Auto turnoff after 30 sec of nonuse
- Display visible in low or no light
- When using air release button readout didn’t change
- Accuracy was within 4 psi
- Can’t use in conjunction with hand/floor pump
Dialing in Accurate Pressure
Sometimes you need to be precise about the pressure in your tires, shock or fork. Analog pump dials aren’t always accurate and if they are mounted at the foot of the pump, damn near impossible to read (as mentioned in Jim Langley’s article). In this review, I’ll be looking at two digital gauges to use at home, leave in the car, or even stow in your saddlebag.
Here’s a comparison of key features from the two digital gauges I tested; Topeak’s Shuttle Gauge Digital and SKS’s Airchecker 2. Generation. Some of the similarities include types of pressure readings (PSI, BAR or KG/ CM2), for use on tires, shocks and forks, battery level indicator and air release buttons.
Even with some similarities, there are quite several differences as I point out below.
Topeak Shuttle Gauge Digital
The Topeak model is almost 2.5x the cost of the SKS but offers many more features. Having the ability to use the gauge by itself or in conjunction with a hand/floor pump is worth the extra money. When I tested the accuracy and functionality, I first attached the Shuttle Gauge to a floor pump head. The head of the Shuttle gauge swivels 360 degrees allowing me to read it from any angle. I then attached it to a road tire presta valve and engaged the thumb lock.
I did the same test on a fat tire which runs lower pressure (tested at 8psi). I used an analog low-pressure gauge first to get a reading. The Shuttle gauge read within 0.5psi which is acceptable due to air loss when removing the dial gauge.
Next, I proceeded to pump up a road tire. Each stroke of the pump I checked the analog gauge against the digital readout. Dead on. Then I engaged the air release button. It released air in 0.5 psi increments. I checked the digital readout against the analog as I let air out, again dead on.
I also tried the gauge without the pump. To do this I pumped up the tire to a specific pressure. Then I attached the gauge and the readout was within 1.5psi. I attribute this to some air loss when I removed the pump head and attached the gauge.
The Shuttle gauge is sturdy and well-constructed which does make it heavier compared to the SKS. The company specs had the gauge at 102g and according to my scale it weighed 106g. It’s a little big to throw in your saddlebag, but for a mountain biker or fat tire biker who normally run tubeless, there’s room in their saddlebag or camel back.
SKS Airchecker 2. Gauge
The Airchecker digital gauge is much more simplistic than Topeak’s Shuttle gauge. It is lighter weight and less expensive, but it also has less features. Let’s start with what features I liked. First it fits easily into a saddlebag. Second, there’s an audible tone when the pressure is read. Third, you can see the readout in low or no light. This is key because many times you’ll use it in dimly lit areas like a garage or trail.
When testing the accuracy on a tire, it was within 4 psi on a road tire and dead on with a fat tire at 8psi. If the gauge is consistently off by 4 psi on a road tire, then you just compensate for the discrepancy.
When testing the air bleeding teature, the digital readout doesn’t change as air is released. Instead, to update the reading, you must remove the gauge from the valve and reseat. Unfortunately, upon doing this, additional air is released. For me the air bleeder was pretty much useless.
If you need to precisely dial in your tire, shock or fork pressure, a digital air gauge is a must. Two options I teste were Topeak’s Shuttle Gauge Digital and SKS’s Airchecker 2. Generation. During testing the Topeak Shuttle had impressive performance and accuracy. It also had some unique features like attaching to a floor or hand pump. But the down side is it’s more expensive and heavier than the SKS model. So depending on what features you need, both brands have their merits.