Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Smart" Pumps and PSI Apps

It's getting to where a person can't even pump up tires anymore without a smart phone and some kind of "app."

At least, that's how it seems after looking at a couple of recent pumps from Airace. Offered in both mini pumps and in floor models, the i-Gauge pumps use a Bluetooth 4.0 connection to the user's iOS or Android phone, and the pressure gauge app is claimed to be accurate to within +/- 1 psi up to 100 psi. In the case of the floor model, it is supposed to be capable of reading up to 300 psi -- you know, for people who like their tires really, really hard. On the other hand, the actual pump is rated for "only" 240 psi so maybe they're being optimistic.

Besides the claimed accuracy, one of the benefits of using a smartphone app for a pressure gauge is that the app allows a person to pre-program a desired psi, then an alarm will sound when that pressure is reached. Wow - that right there probably just made the whole thing worth whatever price they're charging.

Most mini pumps and frame pumps lack a pressure gauge. Then again, if all you want is to fix a flat and finish your ride, how important is having the perfect pressure? Squeeze the tire between two fingers 'til it feels right. Am I wrong? But now the iGauge mini pump with Bluetooth sends a signal to the user's smart phone, where an app will give the accurate pressure. And yes, that means the pump requires batteries (two CR1632 coin-type batteries). If the batteries go dead, users will have to guess at the pressure just like the "old days," but at least the pump will still work. Oh well. . . Price? $102. (photo from Airace)
Having a Bluetooth-enabled mini pump is a cute (but ultimately unnecessary) gimmick for people who obsess over having the perfect air pressure for on-the-road repairs. But for a full-size floor pump that stays at home, wouldn't it just be better to have a normal built-in gauge? Apparently not. Heck, it could even be a digital gauge for those people who are convinced that such things are automatically more accurate than a good quality analog gauge (which isn't necessarily true). But then users wouldn't be able to fiddle with their smart phones when pumping their tires, and where's the fun in that? The iGauge Veloce Bluetooth floor pump has no gauge whatsoever apart from the smartphone app. Like the mini version, it also requires batteries. If getting the right pressure is important, then keep an eye on those batteries. Price: $117 (photo from Airace)

30 years and still working fine, even
if the pink is a little out of fashion.
Are floor pumps equipped with analog pressure gauges (that don't take batteries) going away? I certainly doubt it. "Smart" pumps like this aren't likely to change that, or make my classic old Silca track pump obsolete. So I suppose these Bluetooth pumps are little more than an amusing little indulgence for people who believe there has to be an app for everything.

As for me, I still don't own a smartphone. My phone makes calls and takes calls, and that's about it. I'm resisting this technological march as long as possible, and so far, I'm proud to say that I'm still smarter than my phone. It's shocking just how much a person can do without one. Maybe more people should try it.


  1. Still using a Zefal frame fit HPX pump and still a smart phone holdout with my talk and text phone.

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  3. Plato said that every book makes us dumber because we don't have to remember what's in the book.

    I'd love to hear what he'd say about smartphones--or bike pumps or other tools that work off smartphone apps.

    No smartphone here. And my pumps are Silca (floor) and Zefal HPX (frame fit)--and Jourdan, darling!