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SKS Airspy SV

8
£110.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Effective tyre pressure-monitoring widget with potentially handy low-pressure alert
Real-time tyre pressure data
Warnings if your tyre pressure drops
Occasional failure to connect
Instructions could be more comprehensive
Weight: 
43g

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If you're obsessed with tyre pressures, the SKS Airspy SV is your dream widget. It's a pair of electronic pressure sensors that fit over your valves and tell your phone or Garmin bike computer your tyre pressure to within 0.1psi.

The widgets themselves use Bluetooth to transmit tyre pressure data to an app – SKS MyBike – on your phone and ANT+ to send it to a Garmin device. The readings tally closely with those from a standalone gauge and various track pumps and inflators, but I'm a bit dubious about the 0.1psi precision. Seems optimistic, and even if Airspy achieves it, does anyone really need to know their tyre pressure that precisely? (We have a feature on how to choose the best bike tyre pressure if you're not sure what would work for you.)

> Buy now: SKS Airspy SV for £70.99 from Bike Inn

I found the Airspies generally easy and quick to use with my iPhone, but I did see them fail to connect to my Garmin Edge 1030 Plus from time to time. And it took quite a bit of faffing around to figure out how to set up the Garmin app. It's not covered in much detail by SKS's instructions or videos; they really need updating.

Installing the Airspies was very straightforward. You unscrew the tiny locknuts at the top of your valves, screw the Airspy valves into place, push the electronics pod down over the valve and hold the whole thing together with a knurled locknut. Optional 'anti-theft brackets' can be fitted between the Airspy and the nearest spoke, but I really didn't see the point. They might slow a thief down by a second or two, if that, and I found that if they pulled the Airspy to one side at all, they stopped it from working.

2022 SKS Airspy SV - box contents.jpg

You then install the SKS/Mybike phone app if you don't already have it, and set it looking for Airspies to pair with and voila! your phone displays your tyre pressure.

If that weren't giddily exciting enough, there's a Connect IQ data field so you can display tyre pressure on a Garmin device that supports Connect IQ, which is pretty much all recent Garmins.

To connect the Airspies to your Garmin device, you use the Garmin Connect phone app to tell the Airspy Connect IQ app what to look for, by feeding it the serial numbers of the Airspy units from the Airspy app.

The process is barely mentioned in the manual. For an Android phone you follow these instructions and for an iPhone you use these.

Should you?

All right, I can hear you asking, this is all very clever, but what do you actually DO with that information? I thought the same thing. Surely this is a case of not stopping to ask yourself if you could, but whether you should.

I've come up with a few use cases in my time with the Airspies.

Use case 1: Is that really a puncture? You know that nagging feeling that your rear tyre is soft, but you're initially not sure whether it's losing air or you're just having a bad day? Airspy to the rescue with a warning that your tyre pressure has dropped.

You set this up through the Garmin Connect app on your phone where you can set the target pressure for your tyre and the maximum difference from that you'll accept. Set the pressure at 70psi and the difference at 5psi and you get a loud alarm on your Garmin if the pressure drops below 65psi, confirming that you're not just being a bit crap, you do have a puncture, and you should stop and fix it before your expensive carbon rim starts bouncing off the ground.

These settings are quite well buried in Garmin Connect. To find them you go to: More > Connect IQ Store > Manage Device > My Data Fields > SKS AIRSPY > Settings.

Use case 2: Do I need to pump up my tyres? You know, yeah, you probably do, unless you pumped them up, like, yesterday. But if you're not sure, you can check them from your phone or if they've dropped too far you'll get a warning from your Garmin device too. I don't use latex tubes, but for folks that do I can see Airspy being a useful reminder when they've lost pressure.

Use case 3: What's the best tyre pressure for my local gravel riding? With the Airspies in place you can start off at a silly high pressure and gradually lower it until you find the pressure that gives you the best compromise of grip, comfort, speed and not getting pinch flats. This is where the mad scientist possibilities of the Airspies emerge, though I'm reminded of something we used to say when mountain bike suspension began to get super-sophisticated and adjustable: with on-the-fly adjustment you can be sure your settings are always wrong.

Rivals

The only other similar device I'm aware of is the SRAM Quarq TyreWiz. TyreWiz has built-in LED lights to tell you if your tyre's not at the right pressure, so can be used without app or bike computer, but it only works with tubes that have removable cores, and a pair costs £253. That makes £110 for Airspies look like a bargain.

There have also been Kickstarter projects that aim to do much the same thing. BTPS didn't reach its funding target, and two recent ones, PSIcle and Smart iPump have hit target but aren't yet shipping.

Who should buy SKS Airspy?

Mad scientists and tyre obsessives, mostly. The Venn diagram of those categories probably encompasses time triallists and some ultradistance and gravel racers looking to nail the balance of pros and cons of different tyre pressures.

Verdict

Effective tyre pressure-monitoring widget with potentially handy low-pressure alert

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: SKS Airspy SV

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

This is a pair of electronic pressure gauges that mount on your valves so you always know your tyre pressures. They work with a phone app or Garmin bike computer.

SKS says:

Two-piece tyre pressure control system set

The compact and lightweight SKS AIRSPY tyre pressure sensor provides bikers with the certainty that they are riding with optimal pressure. Simply twist the valve adapter onto the valve, push the sensor onto it and off you go. When it has been mounted, the dust-proof and watertight sensor continuously measures the tyre pressure. The sensor uses Bluetooth or ANT+ to transmit the data to smartphones with the SKS MYBIKE app or a bike computer (Garmin) with the appropriate application.

Data transmission via Bluetooth or ANT+

Another practical feature: the AIRSPY tyre pressure gauge can also be used as a mobile digital pressure gauge. The tyre pressure can therefore be digitally measured each time the tyres are inflated. The AIRSPY is available as a set for the front and rear wheels. Suitable for all Presta valves and most Dunlop valves as well as for tubeless tyres. Includes a CR2032 button cell and U-lock in various lengths.

* For mounting on Presta or Dunlop valves

* Dust-proof and watertight

* Also suitable for tubeless systems

* Can be used as a mobile digital pressure gauge

* In-app alarm if there is a deviation in pressure

* Includes a U-lock

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From SKS:

material: plastic

color: black

weight: 18 g

valve: SV

output max: 8.3 bar / 120 PSI

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Tidily-moulded plastic shell around the all-important electronics.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

It works; measure tyre pressure, warns you if it drops.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Not a lot of extra weight for the functionality.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Objectively fairly expensive, but rivals are twice the price or not yet shipping.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Generally well; occasional issues persuading Garmin to connect.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Yet another data point to feed into my riding.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Obscure Garmin Connect IQ data field setup.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The only other similar device I'm aware of is the SRAM Quark TyreWiz. TyreWiz has built-in LED lights to tell you if your tyre's not at the right pressure, so can be used without app or bike computer, but it only works with tubes that have removable cores and costs £253 a pair. That makes £110 for Airspies look like a bargain.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No; I just don't need to know my tyre pressures all the time.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they really felt the need to constantly monitor their tyre pressures.

Use this box to explain your overall score

Airspy works very well and is the cheapest device of its kind you can actually buy right now.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 56  Height: 5ft 11in  Weight: 100kg

I usually ride: Scapin Style  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

Add new comment

21 comments

Avatar
peted76 | 1 year ago
0 likes

This seems like a very odd product. Surely the only thing to admire here is the manufacturers perseverance in getting this to market.

 

Avatar
Lenslion | 1 year ago
2 likes

I definitely suffer false puncture syndrome (FPS). These are a bit too expensive and I presume an extra faff when you get a 'real' puncture and have to change tubes. More bits to lose on a road side verge. Someone must be able to come up with a simpler and cheaper equivalent.

Avatar
CJSH replied to Lenslion | 1 year ago
1 like

"False puncture syndrome", love it. There are dozens of us!

Avatar
andystow | 1 year ago
0 likes

I'd maaaaybe consider something like this if they scavenged energy or were solar, but two more coin cells to replace, even if they last years, is enough to count me out.

Avatar
Welsh boy | 1 year ago
3 likes

"I'm a bit dubious about the 0.1psi precision."

You really should learn the difference between accuracy and resolution. The device may have a 0.1psi resolution but that is not to say that it has a 0.1psi precision/accuracy. 

Avatar
I love my bike | 1 year ago
0 likes

No comment about how these unbalance the wheels?

Also, mechanical indicators for car valves cost ~£1ea!

Avatar
henryb replied to I love my bike | 1 year ago
1 like

They should come with a little weight to attach to the opposite side of the wheel...

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to henryb | 1 year ago
2 likes
henryb wrote:

They should come with a little weight to attach to the opposite side of the wheel...

Nah, just adjust your spokey dokeys accordingly

Avatar
Grahamd | 1 year ago
0 likes

Aside from the price, which puts me off, surely the extra weight will unbalance the wheels?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Grahamd | 1 year ago
1 like
Grahamd wrote:

Aside from the price, which puts me off, surely the extra weight will unbalance the wheels?

I'm sceptical that bike wheels suffer too much from being unbalanced although at higher speeds I suppose it could become a factor

https://www.hambini.com/an-engineering-guide-to-bicycle-wheel-balancing/

https://road.cc/content/tech-news/202139-are-your-carbon-fibre-wheels-correctly-balanced

Avatar
ooblyboo | 1 year ago
0 likes

I already have an all-natural, fully organic tyre pressure detection system that warns me of low pressure and flats when I connect it to the saddle - it's called my backside.

Joking aside, I guess this could be useful if you have a slow puncture and don't notice it. But at £110  it's far too expensive.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to ooblyboo | 1 year ago
1 like

#whatposterioryourunning?

I thought in these days of new "not just road" disciplines, acceptance of wider tyres and frankly post-fat-bike that running much above ambient pressure was seen as passé anyway - in which case it doesn't matter?  (Also saves all that patching the tyres).

Avatar
Awavey replied to ooblyboo | 1 year ago
1 like

I seem to ride in a perma state of thinking I have a puncture so Im not sure its a foolproof system.

but Im not paying £110 for that. What happened to those auto pressure systems they were using at Roubaix ?

Avatar
OnYerBike replied to Awavey | 1 year ago
0 likes
Awavey wrote:

but Im not paying £110 for that. What happened to those auto pressure systems they were using at Roubaix ?

I assume you're talking about the Scope Atmoz? In which case:

1) I don't think anyone did use them at the Roubaix in the end 

2) If you don't want to pay £110 for this, I don't think you're going to like the price tag on those either...

Avatar
Awavey replied to OnYerBike | 1 year ago
0 likes

 I just wondered what had happened to that tech that was supposed to be the next big thing, youd only need the bit that sensed the pressure as opposed to the inflator/deflator bit, which might make it cheaper.

then again must be something you can do with speed sensors and GPS to detect a difference in wheel rotation over time period against speed

Avatar
levestane | 1 year ago
3 likes

I think I may be getting too old and skeptical.

Avatar
Steve K | 1 year ago
2 likes

£110!!!!!

I saw the link to the article with the 4/5 rating and thought that looks at interested idea.  But not at that price, thanks very much!

(I take the point about other options being even more expensive, but doesn't that just mean there is not a cost effective way of delivering this 'nice to have')

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Steve K | 1 year ago
0 likes
Steve K wrote:

£110!!!!!

I saw the link to the article with the 4/5 rating and thought that looks at interested idea.  But not at that price, thanks very much!

(I take the point about other options being even more expensive, but doesn't that just mean there is not a cost effective way of delivering this 'nice to have')

The link to BikeInn has it for £71.

If there were £30 I'd be intrigued, but a quick squeeze of my tyres usually tells me if they're about the right pressure.

Avatar
Steve K replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

If there were £30 I'd be intrigued, but a quick squeeze of my tyres usually tells me if they're about the right pressure.

Yeah, I'd be tempted at £30, particularly with a display on my garmin to give me early warning of a slow puncture.

Avatar
bob zmyuncle | 1 year ago
2 likes

How have I managed without one of these?

 

Avatar
henryb replied to bob zmyuncle | 1 year ago
1 like

<ping!> "You have a flat tyre"

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