Topeak SmartGauge D2 Bicycle Tire Gauge

15 Jun

You probably already know that having under-inflated tires on your car will cause you to burn more gasoline (i.e., use more energy). The same thing is true for bicycle tires—if the tires are under-inflated it will take more effort (i.e., use more energy) to peddle the bike. On the sidewall of every bicycle tire you will find both the minimum and maximum pressure it is tire is designed to hold (usually measured in PSI, pound per square inch). If you are a heavy cyclist you should probably keep your tire pressure at the maximum PSI for your tires, while lightweight cyclists can often run their tires down to the minimum pressure (though this is not always advisable). While low tire pressure will force you to use more energy as you ride, if the tire pressure is too high it usually results in a very bumpy ride. One of the best ways to accurately measure your tire pressure is with the Topeak SmartGauge D2 tire pressure gauge.

Topeak SmartGauge D2 Bicycle Tire Gauge

Topeak SmartGauge D2 Bicycle Tire Gauge

The Topeak SmartGauge D2 is a digital tire pressure gauge that works on both Presta and Schrader valves. This precision instrument is also useful for suspension forks, rear shock units, and even your car tires. The easy-to-read LCD display can show pressure in PSI, Bar, or kg/cm2 (it takes just a second or two to switch settings). This unit runs on a single CR2032 battery and weighs a bit over two ounces. The swivel head (Topeak calls it a SmartHead) rotates 180 degrees so you can easily read the gauge regardless of the position of the valve stem. This unit can measure a maximum tire pressure of 250 PSI (17 bar).

When I say this gauge is accurate, I mean that you can measure your tire pressure six times in a row and get the same reading each time. One of the problems with the cheap gauges found on most tire pumps is that they are not very reliable.

While the Topeak SmartGauge D2 is perfect for about 99.9% of cyclists, there is one small group that might have trouble with it, i.e., those of us who ride Fat Bikes in temperatures well below zero (Fahrenheit). The piston-plunger gauge on the SmartGauge and and the gauges on most bicycle pumps are affected by changes in temperature and humidity, but gauges with a Bourdon tube are not. In the winter most Fat Bikes run at 6 to 10 PSI in the snow and are extremely sensitive to changes in tire pressure—even a difference of one-half PSI can be felt by the rider. So, if you are riding your Fat Bike in extreme winter conditions I would suggest you try a low pressure tire gauge with a bronze Bourdon tube, like the Accu-Gage.

The Topeak SmartGauge D2 retails for around $32 and I highly recommend it. You should be able to find this at your local bike shop—if that fails you can find it on


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10 responses to “Topeak SmartGauge D2 Bicycle Tire Gauge

  1. billgncs

    June 15, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    do you check your tire pressure before each ride?

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 15, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      I check the tire pressure at least once a week, or after 100 miles on a bike (I ride five different bikes). Also, in the winter I do check more often (cold weather has a big impact on tire pressure).

  2. Joboo

    June 15, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    This gauge is as stated!!!
    It works very very well!!
    I reicieved the gauge as a x-mas present over 2 years ago.
    I used it a lot at first; over time I’ve come to use the squeeze method on the “Fat tires” of my Pugs.
    The only time it hasn’t worked (also as stated), is during extreme cold.
    All in all not a bad investment!!
    Something to be said about the piece of mind of a quick check of your PSI!!


    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 15, 2012 at 8:23 PM

      I might be a bit obsessive–compulsive, but I like leaving the house knowing that my tires ares at the right pressure!

  3. Willis24

    June 16, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    I really wanted to like this gauge, but must have received a lemon. Even tried a new battery, just in case the one supplied was an issue. I eventually just tossed it in the bottom of the tool box, where it randomly beeps whenever it feels like it. This was replaced with a Michelin MN-4606 gauge that is half the price and works flawless.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 16, 2012 at 10:09 PM

      The Topeak gauge did take me a few tries to get it right, but once I figured it out it has worked every time for me — but mine does make the random beeps as well and I have no idea why!

  4. bikevcar

    June 16, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    I normally just use the elbow gauge for my tyres – if they’re pumped up too high then my elbows start to hurt from absorbing all the shocks from the road ;)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      June 16, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      bikevcar — I love the “elbow gauge” — never heard that phrase before!

  5. Dawn Lomer

    July 9, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Is this more accurate than he pressure gauge on on my pump? I pump up my tires, at least a bit, before every second ride, and I just go by the gauge on the pump.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 9, 2012 at 9:33 PM

      Dawn — this unit is far more accurate than most gauges on tire pumps. The Topeak is “dead-on” accurate, while most gauges on tire pumps are plus or minus 5 lbs. On the other hand, if your tire pump is consistent you might not need a better gauge. I trust the gauge on my tire pump most of the time, but my Fat Bike runs at such low pressure (sometimes down to 5 PSI) that a variation of just one PSI can make a big difference.


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