View Full Version : SmarTire Monitoring System Review

09-01-2005, 01:12 PM

Not really a tire review, but this little doodad could help save your tires if you're like me and don't religously check your tire pressures. The SmarTire (http://www.smartire.com) tire monitoring system consists of two small sensors that are mounted inside each tire, which transmit tire info (pressure and temperature) wirelessly back to a receiver. The reciever can then display pressure and temperature, but also alerts based on pressure deviation, low pressure, and high temperature.

Just got this installed yesterday, and already learning a bit about this system. First off ... it appears that my gauge isn't as accurate as I had thought it was ... the gauge reading 41psi is coming up closer to 37psi when temperature compensated. That certainly explains why my front tire cupped a little sooner than I expected ... I was running about 5psi light and didn't even know it.

Installation turned out to be simpler than expected. I had a local shop helping me, because I was expecting the narrow channel inside the front wheel to create a little bit of a challenge. The sensors mount inside the wheel, along the center of the rim, on the opposite side of the wheel from the valve stem. The sensors are held into place by the supplied 20" worm drive hose clamp ... just like the clamps you use around radiator hoses and the like. Of course, you trim the clamp down to size so that you don't have excess strap inside the tire. The kit also includes a bridge to route the strap over the valve stem, so there is no interference or cause for damage to the valve stem.

Once the sensors are installed, the receiver just needs a switched 12v power feed, and you're ready to go. When you first turn on the reviever, it will need to "learn" the sensor ID's for front and rear, and can be done by hand spinning the tires with the bike on the centerstand to activate them. The sensors shut themselves off when not rotating, and so the tire needs to be spun at least 6mph for them to activate ... not all that hard with the bike up on the center stand. You train the receiver to learn the rear sensor first, then the front. You can also train the receiver to your desired tire pressure, after it has learned the sensors.

With all the long trips, I like the idea of having a monitor that will alert me if a small leak or puncture develop while I'm traveling. By tracking tire temperature, the unit is capable of adjusting it's pressure measurements based off temperatures, so it can still alert you of a small leak if one is detected while the tire is warming up ... as the tire warms, the pressure will also increase, but if the pressure doesn't increase in the same ratio that it should, the unit will alert. The deviation alert goes off if you experience a 15% pressure swing either high or low. The low pressure alert is triggered if you drop more than 25% of your desired pressure.

I hope to be able to add more impressions with the unit after next weekend, when I'll use this on my first long trip and long distance rally since equipping the bike with this setup.

Ride on!

09-01-2005, 03:49 PM
Very good write up! Can I ask how much it costs? I know that my once good tire pressure guages have to be off. They get bumped, vibrated and the such.


09-01-2005, 04:41 PM
The kit costs me $169 + shipping. I got my kit from Donahue Harley-Davidson in MN ... Brett Donahue is one of the riders in the 2005 Iron Butt Rally, and is pretty well known in the LD circles.

I had BMW of North Plano help with the install, as they seem to have done a couple of these installs, and knew what was going on. (Talk to Jonathan ... he's becoming a pro at this).

It costs more than an accurate tire gauge, but the temperature corrected pressure, plus the near real time read-out while I'm on the road, made this system an easy decision for me.

Hood Ornament
09-01-2005, 08:53 PM
Dang, no wonder we never hear from ya anymore. You've gone farkle crazy!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

09-02-2005, 10:42 AM
Oh, I'm still around. Just been working like mad (trying to stay employed), and getting the bike ready for the start of riding season. :) First LD rally of the 2nd riding season is next weekend ... man, gas prices are going to make this an expensive trip. :(