MotoGP riders have been wearing airbag suits since 2007 to protect them in a crash, but from this year they will become mandatory in all classes.
If airbag suits are good enough for MotoGP riders, they are also good enough for you.
Helite makes airbag vests and jackets for a fraction of the cost of the MotoGP suits.
The airbag vest is worn over the top of any motorcycle jacket and inflates on impact to protect the upper body. The Helite textile and leather jackets include the airbag.
Here’s a video of a rider crashing and then remarking how the Helite vest saved him!
An advantage of the vest is that it can be worn over any jacket. So you can wear it on the track, or just cruising down to your favourite cafe.
All vests and jackets are made by French company Helite, distributed in Australia by Moto Smart and are available through the Motorbike Writer online shop.
How Helite offers protection
They feature an airbag and a hard-shell Knox (EN1621/2) back protector like a turtle. The layer-like configuration is aimed to provide resistance towards sharp and pointy objects that a rider may encounter during a crash.
That can include broken motorcycle parts, glass shards, fences, or poles.
Helite claims the “turtle vest” minimises risk of serious injury to internal organs. It also keeps the head aligned with the neck and spine to avoid spine hyper-flexion injury.
Helite says the shell and airbag absorb and distribute the force of impact over the surface area of the vest to reduce trauma.
They are distributed in Australia by Moto Smart and cost from $825 depending on colour (high viz or black) and size.
They all come with one CO2 cartridge that ensures airbag deployment in less than 1/10th of a second or 100 milliseconds.
MotoGP airbag suits
If you are a professional race, you may be interested in the Dainese D-Air professional racing suit.
MotoGP stipulates that the airbags should protect shoulders and collarbone, and optional spine protection.
- Each airbag system must pass a series of tests to prove it fully complies with the regulations.
- Requirements range from the battery and electronics to deployment and inflation times, with accidental deployment also an important factor.
- An accidental deployment of the airbag must not risk causing a rider to crash or impede a rider from controlling their motorcycle.
- Airbag systems must not require any parts to be added to the motorcycle, and must be triggered without the rider being tethered to the bike.
- Each manufacturer must self-certify on the official documentation for the suit that their system fully complies with the regulations and reaches these standards.
- Manufacturers must also declare the reliability of their system based on internal testing.