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Airbags, who uses them?


Well-known member
Feb 8, 2022
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Seattle WA
Anyone run an airbag? I ride street mostly, and think it might be a good piece of gear....
I've been looking. I like the Helite options best so far, but the e-Turtle still isn't available in the U.S., and that's the one that interests me most. Even the mechanical Turtle 2 vest is difficult to find.
I'm looking at the alpine stars. More coverage on the shoulders than the others it seems
I bought an Alpinestar Tech-Air 5 last summer. It's surprisingly heavy but not really noticeable when riding. I also didn't think it was unbearable in high temperatures under a mesh jacket. I know it will be obsolete soon as the market progresses, but I pulled the trigger after seeing the cost of a friend's life flight and hospital bills.
I bought an Alpinestar Tech-Air 5 last summer. It's surprisingly heavy but not really noticeable when riding. I also didn't think it was unbearable in high temperatures under a mesh jacket. I know it will be obsolete soon as the market progresses, but I pulled the trigger after seeing the cost of a friend's life flight and hospital bills.
Agreed, it's at the tip of the market, but a small price to pay for what I am hoping is good safety gear.

Just need to see if I need to up size my jacket.
Have been eyeballing the Helite vests. I didn't know they weren't available in the US.

I don't care for the idea of the A* Tech 5 -- I've read at least two independent reports of the bag blowing for no reason while riding normally -- and a recharge requires sending it to the factory and costs hundreds of dollars. Additionally, it's another battery to keep charged and software/electronics to fail. In the Helite's case, it's a $25 for a new gas cartridge and you install it yourself. The tether would seem to be no more annoying than a seatbelt in a car.
I crash too much to have one of these. It would have to have a high threshold for triggering.
I'll probably strap the airbag to my rack or stuff it in a backpack once off pavement. All of them look like they block more air than I'd like when riding slower.
Definitely block air. But a good trade off in traffic? Perhaps.
I've been wearing a Hit-Air vest since 2015. While the company says it's good for 5 activations, I had at least 20 on my first vest. The majority of those activations were low speed or stationary bike drops where I forgot to unhook my tether. A couple were while riding, and the final drop was at about 45mph on a muddy road. I ended up doing a superman slide on the road and it tore the fabric under one arm. The internal bladder held up and was still inflated, but the vest was no longer usable. I replaced it with a new one and it's been on 20k miles of riding without any issues. I like to switch between a couple different riding jackets depending on the weather so the vest works out better for me.
I wear the A* Tech Air-Race setup at the track. This is the model that is integrated into leathers, and it works very well. Great coverage, motogp derived algorithms, and while it does add some weight and bulk to your kit, once suited up/riding, it is unobtrusive.

It is a little pricey to have it recharged but really a drop in the bucket compared to any injury it can help prevent. (@ $300 to clean, inspect, repack, and recharge. whether one or two charges, tis the same price so as the A* tech once told me, wait to send it in until you've used both charges.)
I've got buddies who use the Klim and A* and like them both. The reason for me considering the A* over my existing Helite is the A* has a track mode where Klim is street mode only. I contacted the track day organizer and he said my Helite would be okay but it does not fit right over top of the suit speed hump.

Otherwise, I really like the Helite Turtle. I'm in SWFLA and while the vest itself doesn't vent, there is enough room with it on that I still get airflow through my vented jackets. If going the tether route, be sure to buy extra bike side tether straps for however many bikes you normally ride as they are a PITA to swap from bike to bike; oh and get a spare air canister too.
I wear an Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 and give it thumbs up. It has a fast deployment time, isn't dependent on a GPS link, and doesn't require a tether. About the only drawback for me is that I'm sensitive to heat, probably as a consequence of suffering from heat exhaustion years ago. Because the Tech 5 is basically a rubber bladder, I begin to get uncomfortable in it when temps reach 80, despite the fact that I wear a mesh jacket. I have an evaporative vest but I haven't yet tried it under the Tech 5, and I'm not optimistic that it'll work because the evaporative vest depends on air movement. Covering it with the Tech 5 will probably smother the evaporation. But I'll see.
I have the Hit-air (MLV?), I like it because of the open back allowing more air to blow through, and use it over several jackets. With a mesh jacket underneath I’m good to the lower 90s, after that it goes into the saddlebag. Too hot!
I have the hit-air that I use on the street. I also like that it can go over many jackets from mesh to leather. When I am wearing my vanson jacket with the hit-air over it I feel pretty bomb-proof. That being said, its never been set off. My wife on the other hand had a creative slow speed get off where she basically pitched herself into a ditch on the side of the road. It really looked like slow motion but the vest was up before she left the bike and the coverage when inflated was pretty impressive. She was rolling on her back like a turtle, it blows up around the helmet really stabilizing the head. The down side of this set up is as others have mentioned that it has a tether so there is a little delay before it goes off, but it is very quick, and it won't work if you don't leave the bike. For me, the flexibility and added safety overcomes the disadvantages. For the track I have the fancy alpinestars tech air set up and that is pretty seamless but the charging aspect would make that cumbersome to use daily or on any sort of a tour, at least for me.
Got the tech Air and my jacket fit over fine with the prescribed extra room. Hope I never need it.
Cheers to all! First post on the new (and improved!) - forum.

Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 user here (in fact, it is plugged in recharging the battery as I write this). Long time user of Alpinestars Bionic suit before that.

Experience #1: I crash-tested it. Lost the front of my GS with no warning at all and lowsided at low speed (40Km/h), in the pouring rain, on a curved entry ramp of a big 4-lane bridge that I cross everyday (and have been doing for years). Airbag deployed before I hit the ground (as it should). Felt like I was falling on an air mattress. After I stood up (two lanes over - thanks to the driver that stopped and didn't run me over), I did the Michelin Man impersonation (the airbag gets big when inflated) for a few minutes while collecting the bike and the scattered broken pieces (windscreen, mirror, etc) from the road. NO injuries whatsoever (not even a bruise). Additional gear I was using: BMW AirShell jacket (over the airbag suit), Alpinestars A-10 Air V2 pants, Forma Adventure Low Boots, Dainese Full Metal Pro gloves and a Shark Speed R helmet. Sent the suit to Alpinestars to be inspected/recharged, received it back in a week or two. Got back to using it immediately.

Experience #2: a few months afterwards, while dismounting my Street Triple RS with lots of shit tied to the back seat (no top box on this one), I had to perform that little left leg jump (as you do when you can't swing the right leg over the back seat to mount/dismount). When my left foot impacted the ground after the jump, BANG - there goes the airbag. This thing is loud when deploying (something I didn't notice the first time, for I was busy crashing), sounds like a firearm being discharged next to you. Did the Michelin Man for a few minutes again. Sent the suit to Alpinestars one more time. They were very apologetic, asked me not to loose confidence in the suit and inspected/recharged it for free. Got it back and have been using it ever since.
Unless the track requires doubling up on back protection, I'd remove an insert from the jacket or the airbag.


I removed the back protection from the Turtle but still does not fit right over top of the speed hump of the leathers...
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