Should I get Airbag suit

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Vertical C, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Vertical C

    Vertical C Long timer

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    #1
  2. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    They seem to be a hell of a thing to have in a crash. There are members here who have crashed with them, and have escaped with no injuries or very minor injuries in the areas the airbag protects.

    Cheap they are not, but neither are they wildly expensive. I think you can start with some at around $600.

    I've never worn one, but I do question how hot or unpleasant they would feel, as wearing basically a rubber bladder will block air. That said, so does a leather suit.
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  3. ydarg

    ydarg Miscreant

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    Nah, you'd just look silly going into starbuck's in an airbag suit.
    :lurk
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  4. MechReclined

    MechReclined Adventurer

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    Especially if you forget to untether before walking away from the bike.
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  5. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    *senses a trap*
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  6. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    I dunno, what is your tolerance for risk?

    Further, do you risk compensate?

    Because the latte, could make the suit less effective.
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  7. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    I crashed at the track last year and didn't fare well- this season I'll be wearing a new Alpinestars Tech-Air suit. I suspect I wouldn't have been as broken with the airbag, but its difficult to say.... In any event, I do like the notion of a self contained system that doesn't require tethering and which is below the suit and not as subject to puncture as a Hellite or Hit-Air.

    My complaint (not having actually even worn it yet) is the incompatibility of the Alpinestars street and race vests with the garments they are designed to go inside of- The race vest doesn't work inside of the street jackets, and Alpinestars only offers two "street" jackets that the race vest works within: the Oscar Charlie retro jacket and the Missile jacket, which is more or less a race suit top. Neither look to be super awesome as daily use street jackets, although I did spring for the O.C. as it at least has pockets. You can't access the inside pocket of the O.C. if the airbag is installed, and it is a pain to charge and access the airbag if the thermal liner is installed over the airbag. I'm not too fond of the cuff closures, and it'll take a bit of getting used to- but it will let me use the vest off of the track. The vest's control algorithm needs to be switched to the street preference with the home computer for street riding, and back to track mode for track use- in street mode it senses "impact" and in race mode it senses "loss of control"- additionally it only used one of its charges in race mode allowing one to reenter the race and still have a charge left for a subsequent inflation, should you be so unlucky as to fall off a 2nd time. In street mode it uses both charges to slightly decrease inflation time and to increase the pressure within the airbag.

    For street riding only the Alpinestars street airbag vest can be paired with the Valparaiso jacket, which looks to be a lot more rational for most applications. Sadly, the race vest doesn't match this jacket- in a perfect world I would be able to pair the race vest to a jacket like the Valparaiso. Perhaps Alpinestars will license its design to other companies and the option of using their airbag system within other garments will become a reality. I'd like to see a Roadcrafter one piece suit that could use it, for example.

    As to the notion of risk compensation, I suppose there is a small component of that. I wouldn't ride as hard if I were naked, for example, but crashing still sucks no matter the outcome and there has to be an upper threshold to the risk one will accept no matter how protective one's gear is.

    This is all emerging tech and is expensive. Alpinestars vests are both about $1150 and the garments to go with them range from $460- $2000. If you deploy the vest it needs to be sent back to Alpinestars for recharging, about $300. The "over the coat" vests such as the Hellite and Hit Air are cheap by comparison, but both require a tether to the bike, and both are more subject to puncture during deployment. I took the plunge and went with the Alpinestars system because I wanted to keep riding at the track and increasing fall protection seemed "cheap" when compared to the medical bills. It's my hope that the technology will become better, cheaper, and easier to use with time and we will someday see airbag suits to be as practical and necessary as helmets.

    Of course, I think ABS is a nifty idea too, so I could be all wrong about this.
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  8. alienbogey

    alienbogey Been here awhile

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    I bought a Helite leather jacket last season, and my wife got their vest. I do track days, but don't race, and I also bought a Helite vest to wear over my leathers. It's gotten to the point for us where not wearing an airbag garment and clipping into the tether feels like getting in a cage and not putting on the seat belt.

    There are different features, price points, and tradeoffs, but IMO they are all a significant safety enhancement. The cost isn't exactly cheap but pain, suffering, and medical bills are a hell of a lot more expensive.
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  9. CPORet

    CPORet I Am Kirok!

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    I wear a Helite vest when I ride my Tiger. I don't wear it when I ride the Thruxton or the Bobber, but then I'm not on either of those bikes for long rides. It's surprising how comfortable you can get wearing one, to the point to where I feel funny if I'm not wearing it. It does block some airflow, but then again I've always said I'd rather be hot and sweaty then laying in a hospital bed getting skin grafts.

    I ended up getting mine in late November 2016 after I was rear ended and tossed off my old Tiger. Would it have made a difference in that accident? No, because I landed flat on my back and slid just a few feet. I think with the airbag vest I would have bounced a couple of times. Either way, I walked away from that one without a scratch. But it did cement my decision to go with the Helite vest.

    As for clipping in/out, I do occasionally forget to clip in, but when I realize I didn't, I'll pull over and connect it. As for getting off the bike while clipped in, I do that 95% of the time, but it takes quite a bit of energy to yank it & set it off, so just getting off the bike and feeling the tension is enough to remind me. Though, there will most likely be that one time when......

    I definitely recommend any kind of airbag jacket/vest. At this point, (for me at least) it's all about leveling the playing field.
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  10. Snowbird

    Snowbird Cereal Killer

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    Does Honda still offer an air bag (no, not an air suit, I know) on the Wing? What happened to the plan for the V5 VFR based bike that was going to have an air bag?
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  11. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    I had and wore a Hit Air MLV and I liked the simplicity and directness of the lanyard system- there were no batteries to fail or algorithms to go wrong.

    But one had to be tossed a certain distance from the bike for it to even begin to activate, and the lanyard does restrict ones motion to a degree. As an over vest I did destroy my first MLV in a fall before it managed to fully inflate, negating its benefit.

    I believe both Hellite and Hit-Air make airbag integrated jackets that solve at least half of the problem- and I think any of whats available are worth consideration.
    #11
  12. Bullet Burner

    Bullet Burner Adventurer

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    I have a Hit Air mesh jacket and I like it. I've got about 7000 miles on it and wore it for about 1000 miles of a TAT/CDR combo ride I did last summer and it has held up well. I do have the lanyard adjusted so that I can stand and ride which meant that the two low speed dump the bike in the sand falls I had while tethered it did not inflate. I'm used to clipping in now and will un-clip when I know I will be going into a rough low speed section off-road. Oddly enough, I feel naked if I don't have it on when I ride my Tiger but I never wear it when I ride my KTM 690 (probably because I know I will probably fall when on the KTM). In my head I compensate for this by wearing full chest/back armor when on the KTM.
    #12
  13. Uke

    Uke visualist

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    I don't know about the track, I've never raced.

    For a year now I've had a Helite Turtle Vest (HiViz). It is inseparably part of my ATGATT. I used a Leatt neck brace before the air vest, now it sits on a shelf. I've seen the vids and understand what an air vest offers in even a medium speed get off.

    I will never leave home without it.

    YMMV
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  14. Vertical C

    Vertical C Long timer

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    Is that as good as the ones for the moto gp. Is there a standard?
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  15. Friz Freleng

    Friz Freleng Religious zealot

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    I've followed this technology for a couple years now, so I'm more than a little disappointed that the Alpenstars/BMW and Dainese systems are still not available in the US.
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  16. Vertical C

    Vertical C Long timer

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    Can't you just order it from overseas?
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  17. Friz Freleng

    Friz Freleng Religious zealot

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    My impression is that merchants won't ship these suits to the US, though I don't know why someone visiting Europe couldn't buy a system and simply bring it back with them. I imagine a capable bike owner could install the sensors but that's another factor I'm not sure about. It's too bad. The technology is impressive.
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  18. Salzig

    Salzig Been here awhile

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    @Vertical C doesn't need ABS, yet is wondering on getting an airbag vest? :scratch

    this.
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  19. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    The Alpinestars system is evidently the same as the moto gp unit- at least as far as the control unit, inflation cartriges, and control algorithm. It sems the moto gp airbag suit extends lower to provide hip coverage.
    #19
  20. Vertical C

    Vertical C Long timer

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    I have abs on my bike. I don't believe it works.

    Since abs doesn't work I need something else to keep me safe

    It would be stupid just because one tech doesn't work to ignore others that do
    #20