What do you guys think of airbag vests? - Kawasaki Ninja 300 Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-08-2018, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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What do you guys think of airbag vests?

So Alpinestar seems to be pushing their Tech Air Airbag Vest pretty hard - just about all their new mid-to-high end jackets are compatible with it. And Revzilla has the item listed as a "Best Seller", something I'm both surprised with and sceptical of. Any thoughts?

Personally, I've got mixed feeling about the whole idea of airbags for motorcycles. Is the ideal form of it a great thing for motorcyclists? Sure. But is it really something that's going to catch on within the next decade? I'm less convinced about that. I dunno about other riders, but I wear more than one jacket throughtout the week and I'm not willing to swap the vest whenever I want to wear something else. Neither am I enthusiastic about paying what they cost, let alone buying more than one. The idea of having to "charge my jacket" doesn't have me too excited either. And if Europe ever starts to consider it mandatory, things get even more complicated.

As it stands, I feel like we need way more new riders than we need new tech (as nice as that tech may be). Painting motorcycling as both complicated and unsafe (hence the need for a high-tech airbag) doesn't seem like the most productive endeavour.

What do you guys think? Anyone own one? If these things are truly great, or I'm missing something, I'm happy to change my mind. Maybe it's just in my head that I've seen these pretty hyped up lately.

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-08-2018, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gables_Ninja View Post
So Alpinestar seems to be pushing their Tech Air Airbag Vest pretty hard - just about all their new mid-to-high end jackets are compatible with it. And Revzilla has the item listed as a "Best Seller", something I'm both surprised with and sceptical of. Any thoughts?

Personally, I've got mixed feeling about the whole idea of airbags for motorcycles. Is the ideal form of it a great thing for motorcyclists? Sure. But is it really something that's going to catch on within the next decade? I'm less convinced about that. I dunno about other riders, but I wear more than one jacket throughtout the week and I'm not willing to swap the vest whenever I want to wear something else. Neither am I enthusiastic about paying what they cost, let alone buying more than one. The idea of having to "charge my jacket" doesn't have me too excited either. And if Europe ever starts to consider it mandatory, things get even more complicated.

As it stands, I feel like we need way more new riders than we need new tech (as nice as that tech may be). Painting motorcycling as both complicated and unsafe (hence the need for a high-tech airbag) doesn't seem like the most productive endeavour.

What do you guys think? Anyone own one? If these things are truly great, or I'm missing something, I'm happy to change my mind. Maybe it's just in my head that I've seen these pretty hyped up lately.
I bought a Hit Air this past year on the premise that the older I get the longer I take to heal. I like the support under the helmet and protection of all major organs. The question I asked myself is if Not having a vest would be something I might regret should I ever be involved in some sort of incident. I participate in different forms of racing and while something else to think about I know I'm doing the best I can to minimize risk in thus area.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-09-2018, 09:10 PM
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A fellow local racer friend of mine bought the air bag race suit, then just by chance had a bad wreck on a track day, a few months later. He told me “it was like falling on a pillow”. . But.........he did break his hand in the process.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 10:16 AM
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A fellow local racer friend of mine bought the air bag race suit, then just by chance had a bad wreck on a track day, a few months later. He told me “it was like falling on a pillow”. . But.........he did break his hand in the process.
Better a hand than well.... you know
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 11:05 AM
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I had a Hit Air. The Hit Air was originally invented by horseback riders to prevent broken necks, and it does that well. It also somewhat protects ribs. But it does not fully protect against the number 1 (by far) track injury: broken collarbone. Broken collarbones are so common, but they are never life altering or fatal so people tend not to focus on them. But damn it they suck. And therefor Hit Air systems are overrated for the track.

The Astars tech airbag protects against broken collarbone. Even more so than broken neck... After all, how many broken necks happen at the track? Worth it for the track? Yes.

But I kinda agree with Gables assessment for one of these systems for the street. It's too much. I'm not going to deal with all that extra complication, weight and hassle for street riding. ATGATT "plus a whole lot of extra gear"? Screw that. My extra safety gear for the street is my eyes and I keep them open for dangers. Riding like I'm invisible is going to save me more than a heavy, expensive, sweaty and complicated airbag suit.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 12:09 PM
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Kind of expensive, you can get hurt anyways, and a pain to wear, but I would still have one hanging in the garage.

I wouldn't use it every single ride. Hell, I'm not a ATGATT guy. I'm with @Zaph here. My best gear is my head, and so far so good.
But I would definitely use it on the track, and some street rides.

I think I'll get one in the future.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, totally agree that airbag vests make perfect sense for the track. In that scenario, they're a no brainer. But that wasn't really what I was curious about. I was more interested in the non-track usage of this. I kinda feel like there's a bit of a move to mainstream the idea to the general public at the moment.

I guess it's mostly being pushed because it's a novelty, it's flashy, and it's finally technically viable. As opposed to being pushed because riders are actually interested in buying it as it currently stands. Or as kinda touched on above, I don't really see an airbag vest being considered part of "ATGATT" any time soon. It just seems way too high on the inconvenience scale. I can't even conceive the improvements that would be necessary to change that. Specially for those of us in hot climates (unless "perforated" air bags become a thing ).

If anything, if there was a way it could be integrated into the bike, then I'd see it as a must have. But if that were the case I'd bet it would have as many problems as frame sliders, in the sense that either you want them or don't want them depending on the situation.

At the end of the day, if safety really were the number one priority, I'd grab my car keys instead of a road-worthy lifejacket. For the moment, I'd be a lot more interested in a helmet HUD. Pity nothing truly interesting has came out of that yet.

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 08:29 PM
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I wear mine on the street too, probably more risk there then anywhere. The only PIA is remembering to swap the lanyard which takes about 30 seconds.

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-11-2018, 12:47 PM
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I'm a big fan of buying the best protection you can afford. Would I use one for the track? Yup. For the street? Why not? It's not like a crash on the street is going to be more forgiving because you're on the street. If anything it can be worse than the track because there's a lot more stuff to hit. The airbags may just keep you safer if you have an off.

As for it being hot in the summer, I ride in leathers in the summer. If I have an off the street isn't going to be any more forgiving when it's 75F vs. 105F. I'd use them in the summer too.


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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-11-2018, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Would I use one for the track? Yup. For the street? Why not? It's not like a crash on the street is going to be more forgiving because you're on the street.

As for it being hot in the summer, I ride in leathers in the summer. If I have an off the street isn't going to be any more forgiving when it's 75F vs. 105F. I'd use them in the summer too.
But...would you? Or better said, if you would, why aren't you doing so already if that's how you feel? Not challenging, just curious. One thing the Milgram experiment left pretty clear is that we can be pretty bad at judging what we'd actually do based on just our opinions. It's the same way plenty of people say "ATGATT's the way to go', and then pull up to your house not wearing a helmet because that day it was annoying. While I wear gear all the time (I'm sure you do, too), let's not pretend it isn't a compromise of comfort vs protection.

I ride in perforated leathers with as little underneath as I can. And if it's real hot, mesh textile. Regarding the airbag, we're not talking about punctual occassions here, but regular riding. I really don't care for piling any more fabric layers on top. And if I have to constantly swap it from one jacket to another (as opposed to wearing it), forget about it. Probably the same if I have to conspicously wear it on top of my jacket, while having it restrict my access to jacket pockets or conflict with backpack use.

Perhaps the question should be refrained as what you guys think the future of airbags is in the consumer motorcycle market? As opposed to how individual riders feel about it. After all, the set of riders that are committed enough to be spending spare time browsing around in a forum may not be the most representative demographic.

On the other hand, who knows, maybe it really is important enough to mainstream it. I don't doubt an airbag is less obtrusive then a helmet, and that's non-disputed standard gear now.

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