Schrader, the German company responsible for the pneumatic tyre valves on virtually every car in the world and many of its bicycles, has turned its attention to developing tyre pressure monitors for e-mobility.
The Munich-based firm used Eurobike 2022 to unveil its AIRsistant system, although it is already working with a number of e-bike and cargo bike companies keen to fit the Tyre Pressure Management System (TPMS) onto their bikes.
Schrader Global Market Communications Manager Miriam Lochoshuili said the steady emergence of e-bikes, particularly cargo bikes, had been a major incentive for the company to adapt the TPMS it first developed for cars in the late 1990s.
It initially created its TPMS for Chevrolet’s Corvette C5 in 1997 and now has a 50% share of the tyre pressure monitor market for cars and trucks.
The market has been boosted significantly by the US, UK and China making pressure monitors mandatory for cars.
Miriam said Schrader started developing the bike version about a year and a half ago, encouraged by a number of factors:
- Correctly maintain pressures have additional relevance when using cargo bikes or e-bikes to transport commercial loads or children as passengers.
- Electric bikes have attracted many newcomers to cycling who are often less mindful of bike maintenance and would therefore benefit from automated monitoring.
- The weight of the valve-mounted monitors, at 21 grams each, is less of an issue for electric bicycles.
An AIRsistant app enables users to calculate the optimum pressure for their bike by inputting the type of bike, the type of tyre and the total weight of the rider and any additional load.
The app recommends an optimal tyre pressure, sets default maximum and minimum levels either side of that figure and gives a warning if the pressure goes outside that range.
Depending on the mobile or display device coupled to the monitors, the system provides a visual or audio warning, or both, when pressures deviate outside the recommended pressure range.
The rider can ‘snooze’ the alarm but only for a maximum of five minutes before it sounds again.
The pressures can also be monitored remotely, which Miriam says is advantageous for companies to manage e-bikes and cargo bikes in their fleets.
She said Schrader is also investigating opportunities for AIRsistant to be used in bike racing, enable teams to do real-time monitoring of tyre pressures and temperatures.
Each AIRsistant monitor comes with a lithium battery which is sealed into the unit – to protect against moisture and other conditions bike wheels commonly encounter – and lasts up to 5,000 riding hours.
She said while that effectively limits the life of the monitor itself, the battery’s long lifespan helps to overcome the environmental implications. They are also countered by improved tyre life achieved by maintaining suitable pressures.
AIRsistant is compatible with Schrader and Presta valves, and can be used with tubeless tyres.
AIRsistant monitors can be purchased in single packs, pairs for bicycles, or packs of three or four for cargo bikes and LEVs.
Valves are also sold separately because they can wear more quickly.
AIRsistant is already on sale in Europe, where a double pack is retailing for €99 (A$146), and Miriam said Schrader is keen to get it distributed into Australia soon.