iBTPS Bluetooth Bicycle Tire Pressure Monitor Gets Pumped on Kickstarter

We’ve all gone to the garage, given the bicycle tires the thumb squeeze and thought “eh, good enough” and rolled out. Too often, things end up being softer than expected, and we stop mid ride spending five minutes wresting with a hand pump to do what a floor could have (and should have) done in a few seconds.

Inventor Chris, who has a degree in Physics and Materials Science, has created a nifty way to quickly check the real tire pressure without getting your hands dirty. His iBTPS monitors internal tire pressure in real time and transmits the data via Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ to your smartphone, cycling computer or other device. He’s already hacked his Garmin 800 to display the data as part of the normal readout options, and says he’s working with them, VDO and Brighton (and likely others in the future) to build in native compatibility via a software update. No doubt apps could quickly build this into their own feature set, too.

The video above may not be the most exciting thing you’ll watch today, but it shows the tech pretty clearly. This first generation is built with tubeless tires in mind, which makes a lot of sense given their proclivity to leak quicker than tubes. They’ve tested it with all types of sealant. For commuters and such, there are plans for a tube-type sensor, too…

Being able to see actual tire pressure as it’s inflated is pretty cool, but keeping an eye on it during rides lets us really geek out. While some may see this as overkill, it’s a neat way to see how temperature fluctuations actually affect tire pressure during a ride. And, temp swings or not, lets you better correlate ride quality and handling by seeing tire pressure in real time. Stop to let a little burst or two out mid-ride and you can check status and see how that changes the ride.

We think that’s neat, especially since it only adds about 7g to the wheel, which can be placed across from the valve stem as a counter balance.

Software updates can also be added to their app (or others) that hold a database of tires and models to show psi limits and recommendations, too. It’s one of the more ambition amounts we’ve seen in a cycling related Kickstarter campaign. They’re looking to raise $120,000 in funding, and a pledge of $140 gets you a pair of sensors. That includes the battery, which should provide about two years of run time. Campaign details here.

The tube-type prototype includes a cheap sensor on the tube that plugs into the electronics, transmitter and battery. So, all you’re replacing if you flat is the tube.

Comments

vectorbug - 12/26/12 - 1:01pm

I hope it’s more reliable than every car I’ve ever been in with tire pressure sensor because I am truly lazy and have often done the finger check only to later realize these tires are too low.

naytan - 12/26/12 - 1:07pm

Is a digital pressure sensor that much simpler than a digital strain guage? I’m kind of amazed that this is 5% the price of a power meter. While there are some clear differences they also share some clear similarities.

Maybe just a case of economy of scale and importing from the car industry? Maybe power meters are just capitalizing on the triathlete demographic?

Disker - 12/26/12 - 1:33pm

Very cool ! :-)

amhas - 12/26/12 - 2:11pm

Good idea, but this guy has no marketing skills. I had 3 great idea for this already after only a few minutes thinking about it.

Naytan, I have a friend who is an engineer and he and I have discussed how simple strain gauges are relatively cheap make. They are just WAY over priced or poorly managed making the cost extraordinarily high. Even though I could afford to do it you certainly won’t see me forking out $2-$3k for one.

Ck - 12/26/12 - 2:23pm

An incredibly expensive solution to something that’s rendered nearly irrelevant by spending the full 60 seconds before rolling your bike out of the garage to check both tires with a floor pump.

anon - 12/26/12 - 2:41pm

“An incredibly expensive solution to something that’s rendered nearly irrelevant by spending the full 60 seconds before rolling your bike out of the garage to check both tires with a floor pump.”

Too time consuming. And I get my fingers dirty when I do it.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!

Juan Pablo - 12/26/12 - 2:46pm

Its an amazing safety feature!

While riding a steep/long descent on a narrow road … I almost got killed …coming down no guardrail at highspeeds … I had a slow leak …

I am now always hoping my road bike prior to descending to check pressure that way , but it would be nice to have a red glow unit on the handlebar that warns when pressure drops below 85psi or so …

Trey R - 12/26/12 - 3:04pm

A low pressure warning before railing a berm would be pretty nice. Not to mention that checking tire pressure is a PITA regardless of how long it takes. I’ll take anything that reduces the time it takes to prep before riding. How bout an automatic chamois cream applicator next?

Bog - 12/26/12 - 4:30pm

Seems pretty cool to me as long as it is reasonably accurate. Most pump gauges are consistent but not accurate so you get similar readings each time you hit a certain pressure but your gauge doesn’t typically tell you accurately what the pressure is.

Chicken in a Biskit - 12/26/12 - 5:36pm

sealant compatible?

Ventruck - 12/26/12 - 6:35pm

The “problem” it’s trying to solve isn’t a big deal, and the price is out there. It is nicely executed, though. I don’t use my phone as a bike computer but give it a distinct alert tone to go off in my jersey pocket and that potentially could save me from riding downhill on a flatting tire (yet that never happened to me…ever).
Also, I’m on clinchers, majority of my flats are pinches so the “beeping” isn’t much better than the “pop” I’d hear.

carl - 12/26/12 - 8:09pm

Very cool. I was thinking the cross people should jump on this but I can’t see how you would make it work on a tubeless or tubi wheel. Still, for those running clinchers…………

dislivello - 12/27/12 - 12:50pm

nice..can i put it under shoes?

dislivello - 12/27/12 - 12:53pm

and with tubeless road tire?

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