I have always been interested in the idea of airbag vests for motorcyclists, as you probably know this technology is commonly used on the Moto GP circuit, the European police bikers have been wearing them for years and at the last Olympics various ski teams also used them. Up until quite recently the technology involved has made them too expensive for most riders but that is soon to be a thing of the past.
There are all sorts of models on the market from the many thousand pound receiver based units all the way down to the un approved inflatable vest £200 affairs. So when we were at the Motorcycle Live show at the NEC and came across the offering from Helite who supply the European police forces and Olympic teams we were intrigued.
They have a range of different offerings from jackets with airbag systems build in to over vests but the fundamentals are all the same, CE approved armour to protect the shoulders elbows and spine and then a CE certified airbag system attached via a lanyard to the bike. If you fall this airbag system inflates in 0.094 seconds and provides an amazing level of protection, not just to the neck like the GP suits but all down the spine and across the hips.
Replacement canisters are £16 and a doddle to fit and you need a fair bit of force to set the lanyard system off so no worries about it going off when you get off the bike at a petrol station (believe us we’ve done it!).
It’s not cheap at around £400 depending on the model but for the protection you get wearing it its a bit of a no brainer.
We’ve bought two and wear them every time we ride!