Are you a conscientious rider who knows the importance of proper tire inflation? Are you ‘that’ rider delaying the group from leaving in the morning because you forgot to check your tire pressure? Or are you simply getting older and the thought of getting down on your knees and/or your back, on the garage floor to check your tire pressure, is not something you look forward to?
Personally, I am #1 and #3, but I know a lot of #2s.
In my search for new and interesting motorcycle related products, I came across a solution to a problem that all riders face. We need to know our tire pressure, and we especially need to know if we have a pressure leak while riding. Many new model motorcycles are coming from the factory with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). However, for the rest of us, the chore of pressure checking just got a whole lot easier.
Malaysian manufacturer FOBO (For Our Better wOrld) is offering its new second-generation TPMS. You simply screw a marble-sized super-computer onto your valve stems to start the installation. I chose black, but they have a silver option also.
You finish the installation by connecting to your iPhone or Android smartphone the free FOBO Bike 2 app via Bluetooth 5.0. Your motorcycle’s tire pressures and temperatures are now visible on your phone’s screen, and updated every 15 seconds. I am sitting at my home office desk about 20 feet away from my bike, with one wall between us. I am checking my tire pressure—my front tire is 37.0 psi, and my rear tire is 37.1 psi.
This is awesome!
FOBO came out with its first-generation TPMS in 2015, and last year they released the second-generation Bike 2 with Bluetooth 5.0. There are many years of technology experience behind this TPMS. The app recognizes the positions of all the paired units, whether there are two or three, and you can even tell it you rotated your tires, and it adjusts accordingly—not that you rotate tires on a motorcycle.
I mounted the FOBO Bike 2 units with their supplied locking nuts. The locking nuts back up against the sensors to make it difficult for someone to just spin them off as you would a plastic valve cap. They supply an interestingly shaped wrench to facilitate tightening that locking nut.
The cloud-based registration process is also the second level of theft deterrent. Each unit is unique and registered with FOBO. A previously registered unit cannot be connected and work on a different phone without being released from the app by the original owner.
The moment the app did its registration process with the FOBO servers, which was only about 30 seconds, my iPhone startled me with a blaring foghorn sound. Evidently, the default low-pressure setting was higher than my rear tire pressure, and it let me know, quite abruptly. That is what this smart TPMS is supposed to do. Alert to changes in pressure that are outside of the parameters that you set in the app.
I set out for a freeway ride, and about 15 minutes along, I got that same foghorn sound in my helmet Bluetooth speakers telling me there is an issue with my tires. My iPhone was in my pocket, so I couldn’t see the problem until I pulled off at the next offramp. Apparently, 15 minutes of riding at 68 degrees had heated and expanded the air in both my tires beyond the upper limit of 39 psi I had set in the app. The front had gone from 36 to 40.5 psi, and the rear from 36 to 43.8 psi.
If I would have gotten a nail in my tire and the pressure had dropped below the lower limit set in the app, FOBO Bike 2 would have warned me of that, too. It is constantly monitoring tire pressure and temperature. If it detects a slow leak or a rapid loss of pressure, you will be immediately alerted.
The ability to check my motorcycle’s tire pressure from a distance and the quick warning of pressure loss are reasons enough to make this purchase. Here is a list of the other features of the FOBO Bike 2 TPMS:
- Haptic (shaking) alert on Apple Watch.
- Easily accessed replaceable battery lasts up to one year.
- Share your tire pressure with others via the web.
- Monitor multiple motorcycle’ tires from a single phone. If you are the stable master for your family’s motorcycles and quads, it is nice to look at your phone to determine which of those 16 tires needs your attention.
- If all the riders in your group are FOBO-equipped, then everyone with the app can see if anyone has left the vicinity of the group.
- If you loan your bike to someone, you can give them access to the bike’s TPMS warnings.
- When you get a new smartphone, the patented technology allows you to seamlessly swap your FOBO Bike 2 install to the new device.
Although I won’t go into the details of all the customizing of the app, it is easy and intuitive. As an internationally compatible product, it is shipped with the kPa pressure measurement and Celsius temperature as the default. Most Americans will change to psi and Fahrenheit.
If you are feeling adventurous, bar, and ksc (kilogram-force per square centimeter) pressure units are available, with changes performed in the settings pages of the app. All settings are explained in the 58-page manual that is accessible from inside the app on your phone.
The box comes with two TPMS units, two extra batteries, two extra locking nuts, two locking nut wrenches, and a keychain. I emailed their customer service to ask what the keychain was for, and they told me that it is so you have the option to carry the locking nut wrench with you.
For the app to alert you while riding, your phone must have specific settings turned on, and the settings must be correct to get important alerts. The app walks you through those settings during initialization.
As an example, on the iPhone, background refresh must be on as well as locations services on Always for the FOBO Bike 2 app. The Android smartphone must have Android Service running, and it has a genuinely helpful capability to show your tire pressure overlaid on every screen. You will always see it, though only if you have that selection on.
Last Thursday, when I installed the FOBO Bike 2 TPMS, I set my pressure at 37.6 psi. One week later, it is 37.1. Now, I know to expect a loss of two pounds a month. Of course, the Bike 2 system will tell me that.
It is not often that a product comes around that I feel is a must-have for me, but the FOBO Bike 2 TPMS is one of those products. I can’t count the number of times I have come home from our date night, dressed in nice clothes, and remembered that I needed to check my tire pressure for an early morning departure. Now, I simply bring up the app on my iPhone and check the pressure. I’m sold!
FOBO sells Bike 2 directly from its website at $99 for the two-unit kit, and $148 for a trike. FOBO is offering a five percent discount code—FB2UT5—through October 23, 2020.
FOBO Bike 2 Specs
- Dimensions: 13.8 x 20.2mm (0.54 x 0.80 inches)
- Weight: 7.6 grams (0.27 ounces)
- Wireless protocol: Bluetooth 5.0
- Smartphone compatibility: iOS 9.3 and Android 5.0 or later
- Battery type: CR1632
- Battery life: Up to one year
- Operating temperature: 4°F to 140°F
- Maximum operating humidity: Up to 90 percent
- Dust and waterproofing: IEC 60529 compliant
- Maximum tire pressure: 116 psi
- Colors: Black; SilverPRICES
- FOBO Bike 2 Price: $99 MSRP
- FOBO Bike 2 For Trike Price: $148 MSRP