A pressure gauge really is a must for both road and mountain bike riding – the redesigned SKS Airchecker proves a handy, reliable tool that is well up to the job.
The Airchecker's head fits the usual two valves – Schrader and Presta – though it's a shame there are no markings to tell you which is which. It's mentioned in the instruction manual, but I’m as guilty as the next person of ignoring that particular document...
The head swivels through 180°, making it easy to view the digital screen whatever angle the valve is at.
One feature which proves incredibly handy is the 'real time measuring' function. The MODE button toggles the thing between the usual momentary reading and a continuous live measurement. Having always used a gauge to check the pressure, then adjusted and rechecked, I didn’t appreciate the usefulness of real-time measuring.
This allows the pressure to be adjusted (via the DEFLATE button) with the Airchecker attached, which in turn removes the guesswork and leads to adjustments that are quick and precise. The readings can be toggled between Bar and psi.
The screen is backlit too, so it remains visible after dark.
While the plastic casing does feel a little cheap, it fits well in the hand, and the rubber strips down each side make it comfortable to grip.
At £28 it's fairly priced for a quality piece of kit that allows very precise settings – useful indeed off-road – and slightly cheaper than the excellent Topeak SmartGauge D2 at £30. On the other hand, something like the LifeLine Digital Pressure Gauge offers all the same features for £12.99, even if it lacks the svelte, robust looks of either.
The second-generation SKS Airchecker is a handy, reliable and effective tool that will serve any enthusiastic cyclist well.
You may also like: