Product Review: Quarq TyreWiz Goes Wireless
WHEN TIRE PRESSURE GOES WIRELESS
Quarq TyreWiz Goes Wireless
Quarq has been a leader in power meter technology and growth since their first units hit the market in 2008. Although Quarq maintains their headquarters in company founder Jim Meyer’s remote hometown of Spearfish, South Dakota, the company is actually under the umbrella of SRAM, which has given Quarq the freedom and resources to move beyond just power meters and create products that track, measure and transmit a rider’s data in ways that have never been possible in cycling.
The TyreWiz is basically a valve extender with a real-time tire-pressure sensor attached to it, and each sensor unit has ANT+, Bluetooth LE and NFC to connect to your phone or transmit to Garmin and Wahoo head units. This data is delivered live and has accuracy to the 0.1 psi.
Each 10-gram TyreWiz is powered by a CR1632 battery with a claimed life of around 300 hours. The unit powers on automatically when it detects motion and will also turn off when idle for 10 minutes.
We used the Quarq TyreWiz app first to set up each unit. The app can also be used as a handy starting point for tire pressure for everyone. There is an input for rider weight, bike weight, wheel diameter and tire width. The app will offer a suggested front and rear pressure, as well as a range that is saved to each unit.
We used a Garmin Edge 1030 to display the pressures live. Unlike most sensors on the Garmin, all you have to do is download the TyreWiz data field at the Garmin IQ store. There is no sensor pairing; the data field will automatically populate when it is near a TyreWiz. If you don’t have a compatible computer or phone handy, there is an LED light to indicate the tire pressure status as well. The LED will only flash when the wheel is not in motion. There are three display modes, with flashing lights to detect when tire pressure is too low, too high or within the suggested range.
At first glance we felt that the TyreWiz was one of those products that is unnecessary and best intended for the self-indulgent cyclist. After the first use, however, it was obvious how this could help optimize the ride quality and performance for any cyclist. Additionally, we now had a universal pressure gauge no matter what pump we used. Although the suggested pressure was a bit under what we thought we should run, this seems to be the case with all the new pressure charts available (see page 78). We went with the suggested psi and were surprised at the amount of tire-pressure fluctuation due to the ambient temperature change.
We had set the pressure while our bike was in the shade and cooler than the average temperature during the ride. As we rode, the pressure rose, and we got to the point where it was well above the recommended range. We stopped and adjusted it back down for the riding conditions. This same practice could be very useful when out riding and conditions or terrain change as well.
We also had a few instances where we hit a large hole or debris and felt like the tire was losing air. A quick check of the pressure verified that we did indeed have a slow leak and allowed us to stop before it got dangerously low. On a few occasions with our new lower pressures, we were reassured that it was still good and just needed to get used to the added compliance.
The TyreWiz is one of those products that you don’t know you need/want until you try it. The knowledge and understanding of how much tire pressure affects one’s ride is astonishing. It is a safety device like those found on your car, and it is a performance device that allows one to specifically test and pinpoint the perfect balance of pressure and traction. Even if you don’t use the suggested pressures, they are a great starting point.
It’s not without its faults, though, and one had us in a tough spot on the side of the road when we suffered a torn tire on our tubeless setup. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal—just pull the valve out and install a tube, but not so with the TyreWiz. The pressure sensor itself was easy to remove, but there is a small flange on the valve extender that the sensor rests on. It was too big to fit through the valve hole in the rim. We didn’t have the tool to remove the extension and instead had to force a few things.
Of course, priced at $100 per wheel, this is an expensive luxury. As one person mentioned, this is about how much this same technology costs on a car per wheel. While some see it as a good investment, it is a lot of money for something that many cyclists get by just pinching their tires before each ride.
With the latest update from Garmin, this data is now available to analyze on their Connect site. The pressures are separated front and rear, and you can overlay ambient temperature, as well as a few other performance metrics that the Garmin Edge unit records. This offers riders and coaches insight on what tire pressures result in the best overall results, as well as how much temperature changes affect things.
• Who knew tire pressure could change so much?!
• Who knew it could cost so much?!
• A useful app to help navigate tire-pressure questions
Price: $200 per pair
Weight: 10 grams each