The rule of thumb for cycling is to always check your tire pressure before you ride as all tires slowly lose pressure over time. For most people that means a simple pinch with your thumbs or a more accurate check with a floor pump or pressure gauge. The former can be highly inaccurate while the latter can be a bit time consuming and can often get skipped. SKS’s solution to this is their Airspy Digital Pressure Sensor which provides real-time air pressure data via Bluetooth or ANT+ technology. The Airspy is available in two variations, the SV set we have here for Presta valves and an AV version for Dunlap and Shrader valves. Although tire pressure sensors are common on modern automobiles, the Airspy is one of the first that has been specifically designed for bikes. The convenience doesn’t come cheap though, as the Airspy SV retails for $144.99 for a pair of sensors and offers upto 500 hours of runtime from the CR2032 batteries. Also using the SKS MYBIKE app not only can you view the tire pressure sensors in real time but you can also navigate routes and even view real-time ride data.
The SKS Airspy SV is a compact tire pressure sensor designed to work slide over Presta valves and provide real time tire pressure data.
|Rating||8.6 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in g)||40 (pair + short brackets)|
|Likes||+ Simple installation|
+ Low pressure notifications helps catch slow leaks
+ MYBIKE app provides a wide range of functionality
|Dislikes||– Premium price|
– Retrofit style results in bulky form factor
– Bluetooth connectivity can be laggy
|Where to Buy (US)||SKS US|
The SKS Airspy SV comes well packaged in a gray and orange cardboard box with sharp graphics and information printed directly onto the exterior. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Airspy SV sensors
- 2x Airspy Presta valves
- 8 attachment brackets (2 sets of 4 different sizes)
- Informational packet
The inside of the box has laser cut-out foam so that each bracket and sensor is neatly laid out and accessible. A little cutout in the center of the foam allows you to lift the foam piece and parts out of the way to access the info packet.
Each sensor consists of four pieces: the valve, sensor body, lock nut and attachment bracket. You’ll want to first disassemble the sensor into the separate parts, deflate the pressure from your tires and then slide the valve over your existing Presta valve. Hand tighten the valve body down until it is snug as using a wrench could damage the seals. Next slide the sensor body on top of the valve making sure to orient the flat side toward the direction of motion (i.e. battery should be facing toward the front of the bike when the valve is located at the bottom of the wheel) for optimal aerodynamics.
Next you need to select the appropriate attachment bracket for your wheelset so that the bracket fits snuggly against your spoke and on the valve body. Finally you simply spin the lock nut on top of the bracket to secure everything together. Note if you are not able to inflate the tire or don’t see proper readings from the sensor, your valve body may not be fully seated. You also want to ensure you leave your Presta valve open during installation as you’ll now use the Airspy valve to inflate / deflate the tires.
The SKS Airspy uses a retro-fit style design that allows it to simply slide over existing valves. That means the Airspy is compatible with tubeless or tubed setups for a wide variety of applications. The downside to this design is that unlike an automotive Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensor (TPMS) which has the battery attached inside the rim, the Airspy has a bulky external battery design. Although the size of the Airspy isn’t much larger than the CR2032 (20 mm wide and 3.2 mm thick) battery that it uses, the sensor is a bit of an eyesore on the bike once you notice it. Visually it’s very similar to the SRAM’s Quarq Tirewiz as it sits on top of existing valves.
The sensors also have an additional bracket that secures the sensor against the spoke. SKS refers to it as anti-theft brackets, but at most they’ll slow down thieves for a few seconds as they are only hand-tightened with a top nut. We suspect the bracket may not be necessary, but it does help prevent the SKS Airspy from rotating on the valve. Unless you need to swap tubes or inject in tubeless sealant the Airspy doesn’t need to be removed from the valve as you can inflate and deflate tires using the SKS valve. With the real-time data readings you won’t even have to use floor pumps or pressure gauges to check your pressure before riding as you can simply check the readings from the app or a connected device.
Each pressure sensor utilizes Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly communicate to the SKS MYBIKE app or compatible Garmin devices using Garmin Connect IQ. For this review we focused on the SKS MYBIKE which not only allows you to view the tire pressure but also provides navigation, ideal pressure computation and a simple GPS computer functionality. It’s clear that SKS has put some time and development into the app as it feels polished and well designed. The app has some fun features such as an electronic bell, sleek speed gauge and the ability to save and record rides with GPS data. On the app you can show a dedicated Airspy page with named bike profiles and the ability to set the desired tire pressure for each tire individually.
A bike graphic on the top of the page colors each tire in either green or yellow / red depending on how much the actual pressure deviates from the setpoint value. You’ll also receive notifications to notify you if the values deviate too much which is a great way to know if your tires are leaking. As with other electronic gauges such as the Topeak JoeBlow Sport Digital the real time data value fluctuates a bit and requires some settling time. The ability to simply walk up to your bike and view the tire pressure values is a big time saver though, as you don’t have to bring out the floor pump or pressure gauge. The only confusing part of the sensor connection is determining which sensor is on the front wheel and which is on the rear, however, with some trial and error you can determine the correct one.
Overall we found the SKS Airspy SV to be a clever way to stay on top of tire pressures. Instead of having to manually check tires with floor pumps or pressure gauges, the Airspy allows you to use Garmin or the SKS MYBIKE app to see your real time tire pressure value. We’d describe it as one of those gadgets you didn’t know you needed until you used it. It is particularly useful for bike commuters or cyclists who ride multiple times a week the ability to confirm your tire pressure with a quick glance can be a big time saver. The convenience doesn’t come cheap though as the $145 retail price is a decent amount of money to spend for just knowing your tire pressure value. We also wish there was a more integrated design that could better conceal the battery from view. That said, if you’re tired of checking your tire pressure or want the ability to monitor and track it then the SKS Airspy SV is a must have.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by SKS US. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.