BTPS replaces bike tire pressure gauge with sensors and a phone
The BTPS Bike Tire Pressure System in use
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.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
Too bad they didn't design the system into a valve cap then it could be used on almost any pneumatic tire.
For some reason my skinny road bike tires always lose air pressure and everyone else I know with them has the same problem.
I know people who ride inefficient mountain bikes on pavement /just/ because they are sick of needed to add air to road bike tires every time they want to use it.
By the time you average in having to add air (using the adapter with the skinny little valve stem) there are a lot of cases where it would be faster to use a mountain bike with lower maintenance tires.
And why is this better than a $2 pressure gauge?
Road bike tires lose pressure because they contain much smaller volume. Using a slightly wider tire, 700x25-28c will help, plus you'll ride more comfortably and corner more securely. A good quality floor pump will
eliminate the need for the little adapter and make pumping less of a chore.
@ Captain Obvious: Can you or do you check your tire while you ride?
Kinda of ridiculous. So people have gotten so lazy they cant bend down and use a simple pressure gauge to check air pressure. Technology is great, but it goes to far stupiditly.
I'm building a motorcycle to tour the US. I can definitely see where this would be useful!
Hilarious. "However, it could also warn them as they were riding, if the pressure in either tire became dangerously low."
Yes! Checking my iPhone while I'm doing 30mph down a hill is MUCH more sensible than just FEELING that my tire has gone FLAT - which is what I take "the pressure in either tire [becoming] dangerously low" to mean - LOL!
As for Daniel Lafontaine why would you NEED to check your tyre when you ride? I check mine before I go out, about once a month.
I could buy an entire bike for the cost of four of these things...
ha, ya beat me to it daniel...
What packoftwenty said. Plus, I think it would be "awesomer" to be able to tweet your tire levels during your epic ride.
Over 160,000 people receive our email newsletter
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning