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FOBO Bike Bluetooth TPMS Review

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  • FOBO Bike Bluetooth TPMS Review

    There are a lot of choices in tire pressure monitoring systems. I have tried a couple myself, with mixed results. And quite frankly, if Honda had a decent TPMS built into the Goldwing, an aftermarket one would not be necessary. However, the Goldwing TPMS is inadequate, not displaying the actual pressure of each tire. As a result, many Goldwing (and other motorcycle) riders opt for an aftermarket solution.

    FOBO Bike Bluetooth TPMS

    The FOBO system is unique in that it is completely wireless. The tire sensors communicate via Bluetooth (4.0) with your Apple iPhone (iOS 7.1 or above) or Android phone (4.3 and above). Click image for larger version  Name:	FOBO1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	45.0 KB ID:	56451



    The FOBO Bike kit consists of two sensors that replace your existing valve stem caps. Each sensor monitors tire pressure and temperature and signals the information via Bluetooth to your smart phone running the FOBO app. The app is a free download from Apple or Google Play. The kit also includes four security lock nuts (not sure why they include 4 instead of 2), two wrenches for installing the lock nuts (not sure why they include 2 wrenches instead of just 1). A small key chain is also included to attach to one of the wrenches.

    INSTALLATION

    Installing the FOBO Bike system could not be easier. Basically, all you have to do is download the app and install on your smart phone. Then, simply replace your valve stem caps with the sensors. You "pair" the sensors with the app by following the online instructions and tapping your phone to each sensor. Done! The app will instantly display the pressure in each tire as well as the air temperature inside the tire. The app can manage multiple vehicles, so if you have several bikes, trikes, trailers, ATVs, etc, you could have sensors on all of your vehicles managed from the single app. Very cool.

    The app can be configured to display tire pressure and temperature in a variety of international formats. When installing the app, you "unlock" it by entering your email address. A verification code is sent to the email requiring that you reply to the email before the app becomes functions. I had a few quirks getting my app "authorized", but finally figured it out. Once activated, you must add a vehicle to the app (clicking the plus + sign). You can give your bike a name (e.g. "GL1800"), and even take a photo of the bike to be displayed on the screen. When choosing the vehicle type, the app offers several profile options (motobike, bicycle, trike, reverse trike, trailer, etc.). However, one oversight is there is no profile for a motorcycle pulling a trailer. So, if you plan to use FOBO sensors on your trailer, you would have to setup a separate profile within the app for the trailer (see choices below).
    Click image for larger version  Name:	FOBO02.jpg Views:	1 Size:	53.6 KB ID:	56452


    The app allows you to program the tire pressure parameters for each tire/sensor. The app is very intuitive and simple to navigate.

    The kit comes with locking nuts that can be installed under the sensors to make them more difficult to remove. While I cannot figure out how they work, I installed them and they do make it nearly impossible to unscrew the sensors. Of course, you will need to keep once of the wrenches on the bike so that you can remove the sensor to add air to the tire. The sensors are also tied to your account (via the email address you enter when setting up the app). Therefore, even if someone were to steal a sensor, it would be unusable. A nice added security feature. Of course, a thief would not KNOW about this until AFTER they stole your sensor.


    There is no printed documentation included with the kit. However, a complete and well-written manual is available for download from the FOBO site.

    COMPARING FOBO TO DORAN

    I have been using a Doran TPMS for a couple of years and have been pleased with the system. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to each system. The biggest plus for FOBO is that the batteries in the sensors can be replaced. This is a HUGE savings over Doran, which requires that you replace the sensors when the batteries die. Doran sensors are not cheap. The FOBO app also INSTANTLY displays tire pressure as soon as the app is opened. The Doran monitor can take several minutes to "connect" with the tire sensors. You can ride several miles with Doran before getting a readout. This means that before a ride, you must still manually check your tires with a guage, or leave the bike turned on a running for up to 5 minutes before the Doran gives a readout. The FOBO sensors also display the tire temperature, something that Doran does not do.

    The advantage Doran has (IMO) is that it does not require a smart phone. The Doran has its own monitor mounted to and powered by the bike. This leaves your smart phone free for other duties (assuming you have a smart phone). The FOBO system only works if your smart phone is turned on AND the app is open. So, if you want to use your smart phone for another purpose, say controlling a GoPro camera, you will not be able to monitor your tires. Also, I don't know about your phone battery, but my phone may not stay fully charged when ON for a full day. That means some sort of power supply to the phone may be necessary if you want to have continual monitoring.

    PLUSES AND MINUSES

    PLUSES:
    • Simple to install and configure
    • Works with Apple iPhone or Android
    • Does not require installation of a monitor
    • Displays tire pressure AND temperature
    • Displays information INSTANTLY
    • Easy to check tire pressure BEFORE you ride
    • Simple to manage multiple vehicles from a single app
    • Can be configured for trikes, reverse trikes (Can-Am Spyder), trailers, etc.
    • Batteries can be replaced


    MINUSES:
    • Requires a smart phone to operate
    • Phone must be ON and app must be open to get monitoring


    SUMMARY

    The jury is still out on whether FOBO will be my "go to" TPMS. I am not an avid smart phone user like some, so the novelty of having a system that interacts with my LG Android phone is not a big deal to me. However, I recognize that most people are addicted to their smart phones and never go anywhere without them. So, for that reason, I have no doubt that the FOBO will be a popular option. My LG phone is very difficult to see in bright, direct sun, not nearly as easy to see as my Doran monitor. Also, there is so much shaking and vibration on Goldwing handlebars that I am not sure how my phone would hold up over time if used on a daily basis.

    That said, the system does perform exactly as advertised. For smart phone enthusiasts, the FOBO will be an obvious choice. I sort of wish FOBO at least offered an optional monitor to free up my smart phone for other duties.

    For more information, go to https://my-fobo.com/Product/FOBOBIKE

    WHERE TO BUY

    You can purchase the FOBO Bike Bluetooth TPMS from our board sponsor, Cyclemax

    VIDEO REVIEW AND UNBOXING

    Last edited by Cruiseman; 10-28-2017, 07:18 AM.

    • bob-c
      #1
      bob-c commented
      Editing a comment
      Shortly after I bought my new '07 Wing, I installed a Smartire TPMS. It has a transducer on a giant hose clamp in the center or the rim. It reads actual pressure, actual temperature, and pressure above or below preset values you put in. It has a flashing amber light that comes on when pressure is below 5 lbs of target or above 190 F. It has saved me twice, once with a broken cord heating the tire to 200 and another slow leak over night, just before a long lonely stretch. It has been trouble free. One of my better investments.

    • DCTruncale
      #2
      DCTruncale commented
      Editing a comment
      Just wanted to correct some factual inaccuracies above. I've used FOBO for almost 3 years now. I transferred it from my previous Kawasaki Vulcan to my current 2012 Goldwing. The comment about not being able to use your smart phone and FOBO at the same time is not correct. The tire monitoring application runs as a "service", meaning it is continually running in the background as long as the phone is powered on. It will warn you with an audible signal (since my smart phone is blue tooth connected to my Sena headset, I hear it in my helmet), even if you have some other application, like GPS, etc. in the foreground. It will also come in loud and clear, interrupting music that might be playing. I've even had it warn me when I was in the house that one of my tires had reached the low limit (customizable by the user) and needed to be aired. It's great to be able to easily and quickly check your tire pressure before EVERY ride, as well as monitor it as you ride. As for the phone staying charged, I solved that issue with a simple X-RAM phone mount and 12-volt power outlet that accepts USB plug-in chargers. Changing the battery couldn't be simpler, just unscrew the cap (the sensor remains mounted), slip in a new $3 battery and you're done. Batteries have been lasting about 9 months for me. One additional item I would recommend is look into getting a 'T-style' air valve. That way you can leave the FOBO sensor mounted whenever you need to add air. Also, since the sensor sticks straight up with the T adapter, there are no issues with clearing the brake calipers in the case of 90-degree valves. Great product - well worth the cost.

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