Safest Airbag Vest

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Sandscape, Oct 16, 2018.

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Which Model of Hit-air Vest is Best for the Money?

Poll closed Aug 7, 2019.
  1. VHR

    35.7%
  2. MC3

    14.3%
  3. MLV-C

    50.0%
  1. Sandscape

    Sandscape n00b

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    I've been contemplating an airbag vest for a while. Although they all offer great protection, I'm torn between the different models of the Hit-air brand. Here's my top 3...

    1. Hit-air VHR (DT: 0.09ms): Fastest deployment time, Lightweight, High-Speed oriented,
    Newest Model - $550

    2. Hit-air MC3 (DT: 0.5ms): Mesh-breathability, Most Coverage, Most Affordable - $400

    3. Hit-air MLV-C (DT: 0.18ms): Most Common, Less Intrusive, Many Testimonials of Saved Lives - $480

    All these vest have great reviews. I'm riding a KLR 650 averaging between 50-75 MPH. Also I've looked into the Helite brand (Starting at $600!) but find more riders use Hit-air, especially on the track.

    Thank You For Your Time
    #1
  2. Dave.0

    Dave.0 on the spectrum

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    I have some version of the MLV. I have never had mine inflate. My wife tipped off her bike into a ditch. It was a pretty low speed get off and I saw the entire thing. The vest looked like it was inflated before she left the bike.

    Its one more thing to put on, but once on it really is not noticeable. I wear mine anytime I'm really going somewhere.

    I think anyone of these options is better than not wearing one. I don't really think the deployment time difference is significant. If you get tossed off your bike they will all work. If you get hit while still on the bike then they won't work. If you hit a wall going 70, no vest will help.
    #2
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  3. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

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    I've been wearing the Hit Air MLV-P Airbag Vest for a couple years now. Price is $519. I don't know what the deployment time is, but it was inflated before I hit the ground both times I used it.

    I notice that each airbag vest you have listed, doesn't seem to come in hi-vis. IMHO, if you're really concerned about your safety, you really want to be seen to avoid an accident in the first place. I won't pick any riding gear for my upper body that isn't hi-vis because of that.

    Chris
    #3
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  4. dyg

    dyg dyg it Supporter

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    Have had the MLV for nearly 2 years now and like everything except that the velcro on the neck catches the velcro on my BMW Air Shell jacket sometimes when I put it on. Other than that, it is comfortable, light enough weight and was under $500, a reasonable price. Not sure if the difference in deploymemt times is important enough to buy the other models. I don’t race - ride mostly roads and some dirt.
    #4
  5. appliance57

    appliance57 Long timer

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    Don't think the MC3 offers more protection than the MLV - I think it's the same design with a different exterior. I think they both provide more rib and tailbone protection than the VHR. Also the vests inflate in a specific order - with the MLV prioritizing the neck area - so the total inflation time may not reflect the time for specific areas.
    #5
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  6. uski

    uski Been here awhile

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    Very interesting. I did extensive research in the last months and I settled with an Alpinestars Tech Air jacket.

    The main driver was deployment time : if you're on the highway and you hit something at 60mph or 100km/h, that's almost 30m/s
    At 0.2s deployment time, it will take 6 meters for the vest to inflate. 6 meters away, you may already be in contact with something !!!
    And it doesn't take into account the time/distance it will take for the cord to pull the trigger. You may loose an additional half a meter or so.

    The Tech Air Street vest from Alpinestars inflates in 25ms, that's 0.025s and the distance would be less than a meter from the shock, full protection !

    What's the point of wearing an expensive airbag vest if it can't inflate fast enough ?

    A few weeks ago I've been rear-ended on the high-way while driving at 60mph+ 100km/h+ and it's not fun. I did not have the airbag at the time but I did purchase one a few days before ! Had to return it because it wasn't the correct size and I was waiting for stock on the right size when the crash happened. So if you want to get one... do not wait ! :)

    I somehow missed the VHR during my research, I think they should make it clearer that it inflates faster. Had I knew, I might have got the VHR instead. However the Alpinestars is still superior technically as it uses an electronic system to detect the collision and inflate the vest. The downside is that you have to recharge it but for my riding profile that's a non-issue so I do not regret getting the Alpinestars.

    I really like the neck protection of the hit-air vests, and I regret a bit that the Alpinestars do not do it. I guess it comes down to a compromise between the 2.

    And it's very cheap ! $550 is nothing, really, for the protection it offers.

    I highly recommend you get one, to all of you. Once you get in an accident you understand and I am fortunate to be alive, so protect yourself and be safe !
    #6
  7. DukeMButu

    DukeMButu Minister of Culture

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    A question to all: I wear an Aerostitch Darien jacket. Could I wear any of these vests under that jacket?

    Thanks.
    #7
  8. George Hanson

    George Hanson Been here awhile

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    They're designed to be worn over the jacket.
    #8
  9. Chaostrophy

    Chaostrophy Been here awhile

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    If you hit something that stops you at 60 mph, you're dead, a survivable impact will have more time to inflate. Still might not be enough, granted.

    I don't like that type because I can't reset it in the field. For example, a friend tipped over in his driveway, broke some ribs (he lives in an extremely steep hill), any of these would have helped, but only the CO2 cartridge type would be ready to go after he picked his bike up.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
    #9
  10. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    I know you didn't ask about the Helite Turtle. But I have one and will add my .02c worth. I bought it last spring. I found myself not wearing it this summer. Probably when at most risk (tourist, traffic, distracted vacationers, etc). So this is why. It's very heavy and bulky. Yes some of the weight goes away when you start moving, but not all of it. Not too bad on the street or highway when moving. Head up a dirt road or trail where you need to be up on the pegs, and it becomes really heavy, really fast. A long day in the saddle, traveling and it wears you down over time. It's hot, as in you get no airflow through it on a hot day. stop and go traffic on a hot day on the asphalt can be really miserable. It's very long or tall. So its sits on the seat before I get my ass on the seat. Not a big deal, but it sort of rides up on me. Kinda irritating, like having your shorts ride up on the family jewels, not that bad, but you get the idea.
    It's well made, etc. But I am thinking I will get rid of it and try something else maybe.
    #10
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  11. HarveyM

    HarveyM Been here awhile

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    It's hard to find real world studies (not computer modeling) on these vests, but the one I did- where they ran a bike into the side of a car at 37 mph (40 kph) suggested less than .08 sec inflation time to be effective (inflated) before the hit was required. Their data showed the impact on the ribs dropping from a max of 250 g to something around 11 g..
    Study (in french) here: http://sra.asso.fr/sites/default/files/PDF/Communication/protection_motards.pdf
    #11
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  12. Sandscape

    Sandscape n00b

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    Those are all reasons why I didn't really consider it, not just the price tag. Hopefully the technology improves so more riders can be safe and enjoy the ride. I'm thinking the MLV is a good compromise of coverage and comfort. Thanks for your comment!
    #12
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  13. Dirtdogie

    Dirtdogie Adventurer

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    Basically you warned us indirectly how you decided to ride with a super inferior air bag jacket to everyone else. Alpinestar's airbag jacket doesn't offer any neck protection. Am I wrong or right? All, and every airbag jacket offered today will be fully deployed by time one hits the ground, which includes all mechanical airbag jackets sold today. So basically, Alpinestars offers nothing the others don't already have, except its lack of neck protection which is a major minus!

    However, I will give Alpinestar credit for trickery.
    #13
  14. KingOfFleece

    KingOfFleece SplitWeight(tm) waterproof seat covers Supporter

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    The one you will use is the best one.
    As for wearing them in the heat, the staff at BIKE magazine did a two week African ride story a year or so ago. All were wearing airbags but one.
    That guy broke several ribs and had to quit the tour. Several of the others had deployment and reset them in the field with no damage to the user.
    #14
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  15. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

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    I've had my Hit-Air airbag vest for a couple years now. I've deployed it accidentally twice when dropping my bike. Both times, it was deployed before I hit the ground.

    I wear it 100% of the time. Obviously, it is no issue for winter riding. I've used it also in 105F temperatures and it was no issue.

    While it seems great to have the air bag in the jacket, what do you do in the summer months? Do you wear the heavy jacket ...or go without? That's where I think the vest is a better option. You can wear it over any jacket, summer or winter.

    Chris
    #15
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  16. uski

    uski Been here awhile

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    Wtf ? Maybe my message was too long and I lost your attention, because what you're saying does not make sense.

    First, it is wrong to say that every airbag jacket offered today will be deployed before one hits the ground :
    - For wire-triggered jackets, this assumes you leave the bike. This may or may not be true, and you may hit the ground before you leave the bike. There are countless stories of people being stuck with the bike due to hard side cases, or people hit from the side.
    - It takes some distance for the wire to trigger, especially if you are projected in the forward direction of the bike. There is a need for a balance between the tightness of the wire and the need to move around and get in/out of the bike, and this additional distance is detrimental to reaction time. Reaction time quoted by the manufacturers is from the time the wire is tripped.
    - Reaction time. Some airbag vest take 0.25s to fully inflate. How much distance do you travel in 0.25s at 130km/h ? A few meters... you'll have left the bike long before the vest is fully inflated

    Second, hitting the ground is not the only hazard. My main concern on the road (which may be different if you do mostly adventure riding) is frontal collisions and being t-boned or cut.
    In these situations you are going to be in contact with the car very quickly and it is obvious a 0.25s inflating time (in addition to the time it takes for the wire to be moved sufficiently) is too much.

    The Alpinestars vest fully inflates in 25 milliseconds, this is 10 times faster.

    Look at the crashtest here :

    Look at the slow motion. The airbag vest is fully inflated even before the biker has left the bike and the inflation starts almost immediately after the collision and before the biker moves from his seat. No way a wire-triggered vest would react that fast.

    Regarding neck protection, most motorcycle accidents I have been aware of involve broken ribs and collarbone. This is what I wanted to protect first, because it is a very common injury.
    There are also internal bleeding and organ damage, which the Alpinestars vest does protect very well. Neck injuries are far less common, from what I see.
    And there is no proof that the bulkier neck airbags would provide more protection. From the crashtest video above you see that the vest significantly increase its volume around the neck once it's inflated and it does limit the head movement. So maybe it's enough - I don't know, but you can't just assume the other vests are better.

    I do see back injuries however, and the Alpinestars vest comes with an integrated back protector.

    Also, the Alpinestars vest has been used for 10+ years in MotoGP and has an excellent track record (no pun intended) of providing good protection.
    Their technology is years ahead the vendors still relying on a wire to trigger the inflation. They expose their users to additional dangers because of the additional inflation time.

    So, it makes no sense to say that this vest is worthless, or that it provides no added value. It is faster, both in inflation time than in reaction time, and to me this is the most important thing
    We are lacking more data about their effectiveness (all vest types), mostly because so little people wear them, but I hope over the next years we'll have more info. In the meantime it's a gamble and, from my research, the Alpinestars system is the best, for the reasons aforementionned.

    It is very fun you say that.
    I just took a quick look again at Hit Air and Helite and they have changed their marketing materials. Now they mention 0.1s deployment time, with sentences like "useful in 0.1s". Yeah right... my ass ! The vest still deploys in 0.25s but they know it's a limitation so they just stop mentionning it. This is trickery.

    Alpinestars has no incentive to lie about their system. Others do.

    The Alpinestars "Tech Air" airbag system is designed so that the airbag can be moved between different vests.
    I personally prefer to use a year-round jacket but I could have a winter vest and a summer vest and move the airbag between them, as long as the vest are compatible with the airbag (most later models are).

    This is why I have favored the Alpinestars system over Dainese.
    #16
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  17. YourPal

    YourPal Been here awhile

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    I've been using the Helite for almost 2 yrs. Always put it on even in the Florida summers. I do change my jacket to a mesh one when the temperature rises. It has a good "Turtle" shell back protector. It seems a bit bulky at first but I am use to it
    I didn't get it as much for the vehicle collision but for that unexpected deer, dog, or cow that may be in the road. I ride a lot at night.
    #17
  18. ShineySideUp

    ShineySideUp Long timer

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    I have a Hit Air MLV. I have about 50,000 miles of street use with two slow speed get offs where the vest activated. Both times the vest inflated before I was totally off the bike. On the first deployment I landed on my back on asphalt. It was like landing on a pillow. The Hit Air design inflates the collar first so my helmet did not hit the asphalt at all.

    The second time was in soft sand same results as above.

    I carry an extra Co2 cartridge with me so I can re-arm the vest and continue my ride.

    When I buy my replacement Hit Air vest I am going to get the mesh one. The one I currently have does not flow air well in the heat. But, I would rather deal with the heat and not wear the vest. Wearing the vest makes me feel safer and my family appreciates I wear the vest as well.

    My 2 cents - just get some type of air vest, your body and family will thank you.
    #18
  19. Dirtdogie

    Dirtdogie Adventurer

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    How often have you've noticed Moto Gp riders facing an obstacle such as a light pole, mail box, road side curb, tree, dog, cat, or a car on the track? Neck protection isn't as much of an issue for track riders as it is for street riders. Sooooo of course tracker riders usually don't die from broken necks. Marc Marquez walked away from a 200mph crash on the track, however, imagine him hitting obstacles on public roads at 200+mph. I have three words to describe it, dead dead dead.

    When novices tell me how successful Moto Gp suites are that lack airbag neck protection. I laugh to myself, however, at the same time cringe for the motorcycle community. For example, most people see Bruce Lee as a real fighter. However, I saw him as a studio fighter who got credit for being a pro, tho he never had a pro fight in his life. I rejoice in theories not hypothesis.

    One can purchase a rip-cord slack adjuster for their tether or they can adjust most of the slack out of the cord themselves. However if you have an accidental get off, with your cell phone air bag system, one will need to call Uber or his mother. Not to mention one would need to send the jacket back to the factory to be reset. Basically you don't ride for a month or two because your airbag is in transit to Europe or Kentucky .

    I'll post/trust Hit-Air claims most deaths for street bike riders are due to neck injuries. Alpinestar equals an incomplete system to me. However it can be completed if the buyer use a Leatt neck brace.

    P.S Hit-Air VHR deployment time 0.09ms and Helite 0.100ms, if the mechanical trigger can't be set off, 9 times out 10 it isn't a serious crash.

    USKI said: " Reaction time. Some airbag vest take 0.25s to fully inflate. How much distance do you travel in 0.25s at 130km/h ? A few meters... you'll have left the bike long before the vest is fully inflated."

    Dirtdogie reply: I'd rather leave my bike at a slow deployment of 0.25ms with assurance of hitting the ground fully body and neck protected than only being body protected with Alpinestar. However Hit-Air's VHR deploys at 0.09ms

    https://www.hit-air.com/en/motorcycle/system/message.html
    #19
  20. husky390

    husky390 Long timer

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    #20