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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Tale of 2 Gauges

With another bike built scheduled for next week, the little parcel from UK arrived at the office today, including my needed replacement. A Topeak SmartGauge D2.
 The old Oxford gauge was good for almost 4+ years... just when I was about to replace the battery, it decided to stop working (nope it's not a weak battery issue). I must be one of those that plug a pressure gauge into a valve more than 99.999% of riders out there...its an almost religious affair before each ride. No, those shoddy excuse of a gauge on a floor pump would not suffice.

Had a few minor issues with it even when it was working. For one the Schrader valve head hasn't exactly been the most sensitive after a few months use but bearable. Display was a little tiny although it has a backlight and that helped. Has to be pressed in hard enough but not too hard...else it wont work accurately enough. A lot of time I have to take the reading twice or thrice times to be sure.

 A little bit of a "googling shootout"  pointed me to the SmartGauge2. Big display that must be good for my reader-glasses dependent eyes these days. Shape and profile almost look like some cool tactical weapon and the usual functions of a gauge are packed neatly and smaller as well.

The real thing look even better than what these crappy pictures here show.

Battery cover, nice and easy to take off and put back. Battery pop in with no fuss.
Buttons are intuitive even if you cannot read the small prints beside them.
On-off/ reset switch symbol is one most with be familiar with.. .same as that found in computers.
Still haven't found out what the "tune" button is for as there is a yellow one that allows the letting of excess air

Single head for Presta and Schrader valves with a yellow switch atop to change between using the two. Something I thought was pretty neat until .. a couple of flicks later and that itsy yellow bitsy dropped right off.

Have to say every other part of the construction is strong and good except for this one bit. While I don't usually check tire pressure mid ride but its definitely not going to be fun looking for it just as soon as u take it out of the pack the mud. easy enough to snap back on, which means it will just pop back out as easily. If you ever lost it, a 1.5mm hex key in your multi tool would do the trick of moving to the desired valve head setting though.

One other little quirk after I test it on my tires... the "psi" reading, just about the only one I ever use has no decimal point.. so now my front tire is either set to 19 or 20 psi. In the "bar" and "kg/cm2" setting, the decimal place is there. Not a big deal but things like this irks science geeks like me to no end. I guess that extends to engineers too.

All these "smart" head pumps and gauges utilizing a single point for both types of valves has its pros and cons. Con here is that when used on a Presta, a larger amount of air will escape before its locked in to take a reading. Unless you have some real deft hand movements. Same on Schrader valves but not as much. Upon release it would also seep a lot more air than a shock pump. Not an issue for tires but definitely not something I would use to measure on small volume rear shocks or forks (that's what Topeak advertised it can be used for).

Display is the most positive feature. Easy to read and yes I will say again the looks wins it enough points for now that I will try to forget about that pathetic switch.

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