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There’s hardly a thing like too much safety when riding a motorcycle. For this reason, you should use anything you can, from a helmet and jacket to proper riding boots.
Still, one of the best ways to up your security is to wear a motorcycle airbag vest. It’s among the best accessories that can protect your body in case of an impact.
You already know what an airbag serves for in cars. Well, it has the same purpose when used in motorcycle riding, although it’s not installed on the vehicle itself.
Stay tuned as we discuss the top motorcycle airbag vests and what you should think about before buying one.
4 Top Rated Motorcycle Airbag Vest Reviews / Comparison
Flyastar – Ideal for Motocross
Flyastar might be your best option if you’re into motocross. It comes in several sizes and two color options, including black and yellow.
One of the best things about it is that you can reuse it after it’s been inflated. All you have to do in this case is change the cylinder as explained in the manufacturer’s instructions.
It takes only 0.2 seconds to inflate, which means it offers immediate protection in case of a fall. However, it’s sold without the gas cylinder that you have to purchase separately.
The cylinder weighs approximately 30 to 45 grams, so it won’t add too much weight to the vest.
Another thing worth noting is that this one is made from canvas and is quite breathable and comfortable to use in hot weather.
Helite – Unisex
Helite is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a unisex model to share with your significant other. It’s a CE-approved airbag that takes only 0.1 seconds to activate in case of an impact.
It’s made from 600D textile that’s durable and strong enough to resist different factors. The best thing is that it’s resistant to abrasions, which means you can use it in any weather.
It is worth noting that this one includes a removable SAS-TEC back protector that’s 1621-2 certified EC.
It comes in black and yellow, featuring reflective tape to improve your visibility, especially when riding at night.
The interior features 3D mesh for some added breathability and comfort when riding in hot weather. This also allows maximum freedom of movement.
It has one CO2 cartridge along with a motorcycle tether included.
Alpinestars – Ideal for Big Riders
Alpinestars is a well-known brand that offers a wide range of riding gear. This self-contained airbag vest features a zipper closure that’s often the most comfortable for big riders.
You can wear it under or above any of your riding equipment, although it works best with Alpinestars jackets. It’s meant to cover your ribs, chest, full back, and shoulders.
This one comes with an active electronic system and six integrated sensors. It has a crash algorithm that helps to monitor when to activate the airbag.
It’s quick and easy to recharge as it comes with a magnetic micro USB charger. It features Bluetooth connectivity and uses the Tech-Air App to connect to your phone. This helps to check its battery and operational status as well as the detailed ride analysis.
Flyastar Zipper Airbag – Breathable
This one looks more like a marine life-saving vest. It’s a popular model, and many people find it more comfortable and breathable when it comes to long-hour rides.
One of the essential things to mention is that it can be reused after being inflated. However, you’ll have to purchase a second cylinder and replace it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
It takes only 0.2 seconds to inflate, which is fast enough for most common motorcycle crashes. Another important thing to note is that this one comes in several sizes to accommodate a wide range of riders.
It has adjustable straps and strong buckles to ensure it stays in place. Plus, its canvas material is breathable but won’t slide around regardless of whether you wear it on top or under your clothes.
Inflatable Safety Vest Buying Guide
Your airbag vest is meant to protect you by absorbing shock and impact in case of an accident. For this reason, it’s vital to check whether it has been tested in these conditions by a respectable governing body.
CE certification is typically the most common in Europe, so make sure to look for one if you live in a European country.
Check what certification is required in the country you live in and make sure your airbag vest has one. Those that have a particular safety rating are known to have met specific safety requirements across several categories.
Size and Fitting
Your airbag vest can only perform well if it fits you properly. For this reason, make sure to go for the right size, or it might not produce such high levels of protection.
Luckily, most manufacturers offer a few sizes to choose from. All you have to do is measure your body and compare the measurements with the manufacturer’s sizing chart.
Look for a model that has a few adjustment points, straps, and buckles. These can help you achieve the best fit so that your vest isn’t loose on your body.
As you may have noticed, most models take very little time to inflate during an impact. This is precisely what you want from a vest, as it must inflate before you fall to the ground.
Some of the best models take only 0.1 to 0.2 seconds to inflate. This is the optimal time, so try not to go for any that takes longer than that.
One thing to keep in mind is that this is among the most critical factors to consider. The shorter its inflation duration, the higher the level of protection it provides.
Mechanical triggers have coiled wires and lanyards. These are much cheaper than those with electronic triggers but might not be as effective.
They’re unlikely to fail in the event of a big accident. However, not all accidents are big, and even the small ones can cause terrible injury.
Electronic triggers are more expensive and somewhat trickier to install. Still, they have their drawbacks, like battery life, which you don’t have to worry about with mechanical triggers.
In essence, both mechanical and electrical triggers have their pros and cons, so you should consider both before making a decision.
Every motorcycle airbag vest has the purpose of protecting your body in the event of a crash. Although some injuries are more severe, you don’t want to take that chance.
Having an airbag vest helps to avoid certain injuries. It’s a comfortable safety gear that acts as a barrier between your body and the road, absorbing the shock and impact you’d feel when hitting the ground.
It typically protects your neck and spine the most, although some models cover the shoulders, ribs, chest, and other upper body parts.
It can only protect you if it inflates before you hit the ground, so make sure to check its inflation duration.
Impact and Abrasion Resistance
Most models are made from abrasion-resistant materials that can take quite some beating. This is because motorcycle airbag vests are made to be reusable even after inflated.
These materials have to be resistant to erosion, extreme weather, and scratches if you plan on reusing your vest.
Take some time to check if the outer shell and the inflatable part are intact after inflated. Although some scuffing is okay, it should be in an overall good condition so that you can reuse it.
Go for a motorcycle safety vest that’s made from durable and resistant materials to enhance your safety and comfort.
Motorcycle protective vests are available at different prices. This means there’s one for everyone’s budget since some are quite affordable while others are rather expensive.
Those that cost $100 to $500 are usually considered affordable. They’re usually adjustable, breathable, and protective enough to serve the purpose.
Those at a price higher than $500 are usually made by reputable companies. Most of these vests have sensors and quick inflation time to offer the best possible protection.
Consider your budget and the price you’d be willing to pay for this type of equipment. Having an idea of the budget you’re working with helps to narrow the list of options.
As we’ve mentioned, most vests cover your back and neck, which are the primary body parts you want to protect. However, many models offer added safety to other body parts.
The more coverage you have, the safer you are during an impact. For this reason, you might want to look for one that covers more than your spine and neck.
Nearly every model covers your torso as well. However, some only cover your chest while offering minimal protection to your ribs, so make sure to double-check this.
Some vests have a pop-down part that extends the airbag to the tailbone.
Type of Fabric
The type of fabric you go for plays a significant role in the overall resistance and comfort. Although its primary purpose is to protect, it has to be comfortable, or you’ll probably hate wearing it.
For this reason, ensure that the fabric used is gentle to your skin and breathable. Breathability is especially critical if you usually ride in hot weather since these vests can sometimes be quite warm.
Double-check if the fabrics used are resistant to abrasion and resistance. As we said, some scratches are normal, but the last thing you want is for it to rip open after a few uses.
International brands that sell globally usually put a CE rating on their airbag vests. CE stands for European Conformity and has been in use since 1993.
The rating shows that the product conforms to safety, health, and environmental standards for bikes in the European Economic Area.
It’s not an obligatory rating in the USA, but it’s still better with it than without it. Although it’s not mandatory, it shows that your vest went through these tests and was marked as safe.
Check what certifications are required in your country and make sure to have those as well.
The type and location of the activation system are always vital to consider. Most tethered models have a high-speed deployment system and a coiled wire cord that controls it.
The vest is typically attached to your bike via a quick-release connection somewhere in the chest area. However, the deployment system and the CO2 cartridge are on the right side of your lower abdomen.
The system should be away from your vital organs to reduce any chance of hurting you when it blasts open. This is a unique technology that has to work accurately using all its sensors to activate at the right time.
What Are Motorcycle Airbag Crash Vests?
A motorcycle airbag vest is a piece of protective gear that inflates around several vulnerable parts of your body in case of an accident.
It has an inflation device located on the right side of your lower abdomen.
You can wear one under or over your riding gear as another layer of protection. It’s a versatile piece you can use with any other riding equipment, which is why many people prefer it over a motorcycle airbag jacket.
How Does it Work?
It relies on a CO2 cartridge that releases gas when triggered. This gas inflates all the tubes and bladders inside the vest, cushioning you in case of a crash.
Some models use electronic trigger mechanisms while others use mechanical. Mechanical triggers feature a coiled wire tether that connects you to your bike. It triggers in case you’re separated from the vehicle.
Electronic models use sensors that send signals to a small computer. The computer monitors the situation, always comparing the information with an algorithm.
Smart vests use a deployment system, and the rider isn’t attached to the bike. These use smart technology combined with sensors that monitor your position.
This way, the system detects and inflates immediately when you’re about to come off the vehicle.
Entry-level riders usually use tethered vests. It’s a basic airbag vest attached to your bike by a cable or a lanyard.
In the event of a crash, the cable punctures through the metal cap on the gas cylinder. This triggers it into inflating in less than a second.
Why You Should Wear an Airbag Vest in Motorcycle Riding
You should consider wearing an airbag vest because it can protect you in case of an accident. The cushioning is critical, and having it plays a significant role in improving your safety when riding.
Not only can it protect your neck and spine, but a quality model can also cushion other body parts like your ribs, sides, chest, and more.
Plus, many of these are waterproof. This means your vest can keep you dry in case you’re surprised by a rain shower.
Although vests are typically easy to put on and take off, it would help if you double-checked this. Most have several buckles and straps that are adjustable and easy to work with.
Another thing to consider is the weight of your vest. The last thing you want is too much extra weight as it can wear you down, especially if you usually ride for several hours at a time.
Remember also to bring some extra cartridges when going on a long trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are airbag vests effective?
Integrated motorcycle airbags are known to reduce the chances of major head trauma by up to 83%. A wearable airbag like that on a vest can reduce the overall impact by up to 90%.
Even if it doesn’t offer 100% protection, it still does a great job of reducing the chances of terrific injuries.
Can I wear an airbag vest again after it had been inflated?
Most models can be used several times, but you should always check if that’s the case with your vest of choice.
If it had been inflated before, take some time to check the material and mechanism to ensure they’re intact. Also, remember to replace the gas cartridge.
Can I wear a backpack over an airbag vest?
You can wear anything over your airbag vest as long as you leave enough room for it to deploy. Make sure that it’s loose, or you might counter its effect.
It would also help if you ensured that there’s nothing heavy in your backpack when wearing it on top of an airbag vest.
Since your safety is probably your number one concern, having an airbag vest will give you quite some peace of mind. This cushioning between your neck and the road helps to focus on the ride better, especially if you’re a beginner.
Although any protection is better than none, you shouldn’t just go for the first vest you come across. Instead, think about the critical buying factors we mentioned, always keeping your needs and preferences in mind.
These are the best models offered by some of the most reputable brands. For this reason, you’ll likely do well with either as long as it fits your needs.