It’s becoming more and more common for new cars to have air pressure sensors built into the wheels, so that drivers can receive real-time air pressure readings for each tire. So, why don’t bicycles have them? Well, perhaps they should ... and that’s the idea behind the BTPS Bike Tire Pressure System.
Created by a Swiss material scientist and an American electrical engineer, the tiny shockproof BTPS unit itself consists of a pressure sensor, circuit board, and battery. When used with tubeless tires, it is mounted on the rim tape. If tubes are being used, it’s stuck right onto the tube, like a patch.
From there, it uses Bluetooth 4.0 or ANT+ protocols to transmit data to the rider’s iOS or Android device, or to a compatible smartwatch or cycling computer. The battery should last somewhere over two years, and the device is claimed to accurately measure air pressure ranging from 0 to 174 psi (12 bar). It weighs seven grams (0.25 oz) in its present form.
The idea behind the BTPS is primarily just to make it easier for cyclists to check their tires’ pressure. Instead of squatting down and applying an air pressure gauge (which involves letting some air out of the tire), they could simply check an app on their phone. However, it could also warn them as they were riding, if the pressure in either tire became dangerously low.
With the device currently in working prototype form, the inventors have turned to Kickstarter to raise funds for commercial production. A pledge of US$140 will get you a set of two tubeless-specific BTPS units, when and if they’re ready to roll. More information is available in the pitch video below.
Air pressure-conscious cyclists might also be interested in checking out the self-inflating PumpTires or the ADAPTRAC system, that lets mountain bikers increase or decrease their tire pressure while riding.