Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Kamloops, BC, Canada
Rep Power: 1
We used to sell a product called SmarTire at the shop I worked at - it consisted of a sensor that mounted on a rim band in each tire and a little wireless display. This company stopped making the motorcycle version a few years ago to concentrate on the very lucrative 4-wheel market (tire pressure monitors are required by law in new cars and trucks in Canada, at least).
They were a really useful product. The safety benefit is obvious, but how many people really know how their pressure changes, depending on temperature, type of riding surface, and the rider? We had a set on a KTM 950 Adventure and the tire temperature (and hence pressure, according to the ideal gas law: PV = nRT) would vary a lot depending on rider, surface (asphalt vs. old pavement vs. gravel), air temp, surface temp, tire type, etc. I know not everyone likes to analyze the physics of the motorcycle as much as I do, but I would definitely consider this product if the price was right.
And motorcycle manufacturers specify COLD tire pressures because hot tire pressures are hard to measure - as mentioned above, the gauge flops around when you ride, and if you wait until you stop moving, your tires have partly cooled down. If you start with the manufacturer's cold recommendations, determine what that translates to in hot pressures, you can make your own informed decisions about tire pressure and temperature that are more accurate than the recommendations. (Considering how much is written about one tire brand vs. another, I wonder how many 'crappy tires' actually never reached their proper operating temperature, and were therefore judged harshly.)
The other thing we found was extremely long tire life when we used tire monitors - a tire that is consistenly running too hot (usually because of low cold pressure) will wear out much faster.