Airbag Vest, ATGATT's New Addition?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Sailorlite, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Sailorlite

    Sailorlite Long timer

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    Is it time to include the airbag vest in "all the gear"?

    I don't look forward to the prospect of wearing an additional garment over my newly acquired BMW jacket, but the recommendations on this forum and others make it seem that riding without an airbag vest is seriously shortsighted, if not downright foolish. Apart from cost and a possible reduction in venting, there evidently aren't any other serious drawbacks or reasons why it's "bad" to wear one.

    When I gear up for a ride I'm thinking I'd better get an airbag vest and wear it "all the time".
    #1
  2. alienbogey

    alienbogey Been here awhile

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    My wife and I both have 'em and wear 'em.
    #2
  3. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Been here awhile

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    Yep, airbag is the new neck brace.
    #3
  4. Turk1944

    Turk1944 n00b

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    I wear the Helite Turtle Airbag vest and find that I'm aware of the extra weight, but if you have a windscreen that's already blocking much of the wind, wearing the vest doesn't seem to have much impact on venting.
    #4
  5. dyg

    dyg dyg it

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    My wife and I wear airbag vests - Hit-Air. When I rode 3000 miles in the southwest in June when the temps were up to 100+, it was surprising how a well ventilated jacket (BMW Air Shell) works even with the vest - it is heavier though. One day when I made the 400 mile run from Phoenix to LA and it was over 100 almost the whole way, I put on a HyperKewl vest under the Air Shell and Air Vest and it was amazingly cool.

    Why I wear an air vest: a local rider here on Hawaii had a car pull out on front of him from a stop sign - the rider was probably doing 45 and had full right of way - he broadsided the car. We do not have a trauma center on Hawaii and he was flown by helicopter to Oahu where he passed from internal injuries. Sad, unnecessary tragedy - he was in his 40's and due to get married. It got me thinking and I bought the air vests.

    The air vest should help protect those critical internal areas of your upper body in an accident. $400-500 is a small price to pay for a piece of equipment that can help mitigate injury and perhaps save your life in an accident and the vest has a long wear life. I broke my collarbone 3 years ago on a track during a riding school - I was in full leathers but that wasn't enough protection from my fall. If I had had an air vest, I probably would not have broken the collarbone. I had no other injuries (save for a sprained finger). I had broken it in 5 places and it required a metal plate and 6 screws to repair and 3 months of rehab to get my shoulder back to normal. Luckily my medical bills were mostly picked up by insurance. I would rather have not gone through all that pain and suffering....

    One more thing: I have gotten use to the tether and it is just another part of my pre-check to hook it up before I ride off. Highly recommended and it should be a part of everyone's ATGATT. So many riders here in HI are riding in tank t's, shorts, flip flops and no helmet - I just shake my head in amazement.
    #5
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  6. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin'

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    Wearing a Helite Turtle Vest all the time. I'm used to the weight, and PacNW weather is not generally too hot. As an older 'returning rider' I figure I'll take all the safety I can get (along with integrated ABS, traction control, armored gear, etc).
    #6
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  7. Iron Cross Junction

    Iron Cross Junction Been here awhile

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    May be my age and realization that I am not (gasp) immortal, but Kathi and I both have Helite hi-viz vests. Now, cannot imagine riding without them. Won't, of course, keep one from all harm -- e.g., a double tap from a following tractor-trailer if one goes down :pep -- but, IMO, a significant safety device for most accidents that might befall us.

    Got ours through ADV'er ErikMotoMan. See, e.g., http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/helite-airbag-mesh-jacket-now-available.1228296/#post-32620070

    Have ridden with those in all sorts of heat and -- OK, not much yet -- cold, and find them near unobtrusive. Takes awhile to develop habit of attaching, but melted lanyards from exhaust teach that soon enough. :doh

    And, I encountered last week through my own stupidity the only downside I've discovered so far. Related to the "don't forget to attach the lanyard" issue I just mentioned, I worried after starting off that I had not. So, in doofus fashion I proceed to check while riding ... while crossing the Potomac at Hancock, Md. My brother, who was following me, said it scared him feceless just to watch me nearly hit the curb before I realized my stupidity. Wonder if the inflated Helite would have kept me (and my dead body :() afloat had I gone over the guard rail into the river below? :p3rry

    Naysayers here and elsewhere decry the "where will it end?" mentality, etc., but we'll accept it as worth the price of mockery. Actually, in "real life," we get lots of comments (and all positive so far) at stops from other riders ... well, at least from ATGATT-minded ones. :augie One of the other sort recently asked me, on seeing the covered CO2 cartridge, if that was my pepper spray. :D

    As with all such choices, YMMV, but we could not be more pleased.

    Bill
    #7
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  8. Heloflights

    Heloflights Been here awhile

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    My comments mirror everything you see above...inmate carlisja and I recently returned from a 3000 mile jaunt from VA up to Canada and back and right before we left we each invested in the Helite turtleback vest...we rode thru all types of weather and you get used to it pretty quickly.

    You might find this useful:





    The only negative was the camelback ... I wore mine as the last layer and that plan did not work well...I have since purchased a smaller hydration unit and plan to place it in my tank bag for the next long legged journey. The weather here in DC gets a tad warm in the summer and I am happy to report that the vest was still tolerable on top of my mesh jacket, as long as you are moving. Hi-viz didn't work for us so we went with the all black units (wish they had gray, but they don't) and we added some reflective checkerboard on the back of the vest to improve visibility.

    upload_2017-8-7_9-18-35.png
    #8
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  9. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Been here awhile

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    I have a Helite vest on the way and look forward to relegating the neck brace that I've been wearing for the last two years to dirt duty.
    Good service so far from the Aussie distributor who is exchanging the XL that I ordered for an L.

    My camelback is the waistpack variety, great on the trailbike, but I doubt it will go well on the road with the Helite.
    #9
  10. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

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    Not for me. I understand that wearing one reduces risks in some instances. So does not riding at all. Motorcycling is dangerous. We all have our line on the risks we are willing to take. For some that is no helmet for others it is no protective pants. I wear most of the gear all the time and ATGATT sometimes. But neck braces and airbag vests are not going to make it into my gear list. I already strap on special boots, jacket, helmet and gloves for my short commute everyday. that is where my line is. I do wear protective over pants when slabbing or longer trips, as if I have a choice of when I would need them. Again, I know and accept the risks as I do with any dangerous activity I do.

    I personally feel as if I keep rationalizing additional layers of protection I will eventually rationalize myself off the bike. Everyone is different, have at it.
    #10
  11. istadniy

    istadniy Ivan the Quite OK

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    Mine just stays on the jacket, so there is no additional strapping on to do - jacket goes on, the vest goes on with it. I did wear a light hi-viz vest before getting the airbag one, so from the point of view of day to day use it was just a hi-viz vest. One that gets increasingly dirty and is impossible to wash :) over 5 years of use.

    And them I highsided at 100 kph with one tiny scratch on my leg. Airbag's busted so I'm getting a new clean vest.
    #11
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  12. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

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    I could see it if it just stays on the jacket like yours.
    #12
  13. Smoke Eater 3

    Smoke Eater 3 Long timer

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    Every product has its pros and cons. If you're reading comments and reviews of any product regardless of the forum you need to take into account the vocation of the reviewer. IMHO airbag vests are interesting and probably something I'll end up with in the future. I'm interested in seeing the next generation.
    #13
  14. yellowcarbon

    yellowcarbon Been here awhile

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    I wear a Hit Air MLV hi-vis vest and think it is worth it. I do not think it is required gear, but definitely worth it's expense for the protection it can potentially provide. I believe impact injuries cause significantly more and long term damage to the body than abrasion injuries. I low sided well over a decade ago (15 years or so) and still feel the impact damage to my shoulder time to time. It hurts me when I work out hard or do a lot of manual labor. I was wearing a Vanson jacket with CE armor in the shoulder where I landed. I even have a weird big toe nail from where I kicked the ground while wearing Sidi touring boots. But I can't even remember where I got road rash in the same crash as I was wearing jeans (pre-kevlar jeans days), which definitely stung for a week or so. Most are concerned with abrasion resistance, but don't worry much about the debilitating, long term, and lethal damage impact causes. Most dirt riders get it as they crash a lot in the dirt.

    While I now wear an abrasion resistant layer (Kevlar, Cordura or leather) 100% of the time, impact protection is much more important to me. So I wear quad-armor from Motoport and a air bag vest. I do believe armor (both the quad & airbag) significantly raise my chances of surviving significant crashes and walking away from minor ones. We protect our heads with helmets, so why not protect your chest/upper body with protection. It is an area where the majority of lethal injuries are sustained, second only to head injuries. Also, Motoport's armor coverage is double if not more than most other manufacturers. It come stock with chest armor & thigh armor. The elbow & knee armor is as big as some brands back armor pad. So between the Motoport and Hit Air, I do believe I wear everything I can reasonably do so in addition to my boots, gloves and helmet.

    I also ride in the heat as I live in Phoenix, AZ and used to commute for most of the year (I now work at home again). It doesn't really block the air flow much, I wear it over a Motoport Kevlar mesh shirt. It may cut down on the wind flow by 10% or so, it is just barely noticeable, but not a big deal when moving. The one thing it does do is make my jacket snug, which does make it hotter than wearing it loose to the body. I am a big dude (6'3" 300#) so the 'snugness' isn't caused by the vest, I am at the top of the fit range. But again, at speed, it doesn't really make much difference, it is when I stop at traffic lights that I notice it. And I am talking 100 degree plus weather, anything below 100 with low humidity and it is fine.

    It is just a tad cumbersome, but barely so. I only really feel it when wearing a messenger bag. The CO2 canister messes with the strap of my messenger bag, so I have to place it just right. I usually trap the strap under one of the vest buckles so it doesn't shift around. I make sure I have enough slack in the strap that if the vest deploys, the bag has enough room until I can get to the quick release buckle on the bag. But without the bag, I don't notice the vest unless stopped and walking around. When stopped, I take off my jacket, so not a real big deal.
    #14
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  15. Iron Cross Junction

    Iron Cross Junction Been here awhile

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    Accurate observation.

    I am a lawyer. :augie

    That admission probably tanked my review's value. :rofl

    Seriously, you make a good point. Blind acceptance of ads or reviews is fooli$h. I did quite a bit of research before deciding on the Helite for us, but have been very happy with them.

    Bill
    #15
  16. dyg

    dyg dyg it

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    Still waiting to see the Alpinestars air vest in the US that requires no tether (BMW was supposed to be working with them on a joint product - possible litigation may have killed that). It is for sale in Europe but must be ordered at a store (and not online) as I understand it.
    #16
  17. Rockhopper46038

    Rockhopper46038 Seeker

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    I wear the Helite. I don't find it hinders or diminishes my enjoyment of riding in any way other than the annoyance moving the tether between bikes, which could be remedied if I weren't so cheap. I totally get some of the guys that say even wearing jackets, pants and a helmet diminishes their enjoyment of "feeling the wind in their face"...but I guess I'm fortunate in that I've never felt that way.
    #17
  18. JC100

    JC100 Long timer

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    Got a hit air vest. Don't notice it while riding. Venting is still fine.
    #18
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  19. dyg

    dyg dyg it

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    The Hit Air vest is split on the back whereas the Helite is a one piece back. Don't know if it makes a difference in cooling.....
    #19
  20. Sailorlite

    Sailorlite Long timer

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    The Helite seems to have a good quality back pad included, as does my new BMW jacket. I'm assuming it would be sensible to remove one of them, probably the one in the Helite, right?
    #20