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Airbag Vests Comparison (hitair, Helite, Point Two)

Discussion in 'Jackets' started by dima, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. HitAir

  2. Helite

  3. PointTwo

    0 vote(s)
  4. Other

  5. None

  1. Hi,

    I've been following for a while what's being happening in the airbag vests/jackets area and decided to share some of my experience and a few things I learned so far.

    I will start with the vests I think are available in the order of my preference:
    1. Dainese D-Air street (price - N/A)
    2. Alpinestars Tech Air Race Suite (Price - N/A).
    3. Helite vest (~$545 AUD + $105 shipping=$650 AUD, maybe minus EU VAT?).
    4. Point Two vest (~$560 AUD + ?? shipping, maybe minus EU VAT?)
    5. HitAir MLV HiViz vest ($370 AUD + $56 shipping = $426 AUD, [safermoto.com])
    (note: prices and exchange rates are valid at the time of this writing, using Google conversion).

    Now, starting with the first 2 positions. The Dainese and Alpinestars have the fastest inflation time out of all and are very track oriented. Those guys are out of equation since they won't be available any time soon here In Australia. Also the cost is pretty high.

    Now, I will jump to the last (but not least) one - HitAir.
    It has been on a market for a long while. Has the biggest product line-up with a few options suitable for all kinds of riding (track, road, touring etc). The cheapest out of all and probably the most value for the money. Currently the inflation time is <= 250ms. But a few documents (2011 JARA tests) I received from dealers actually show the fastest inflation time of 90ms and slowest of 180ms. I also was sent a video of the test which was quite impressive (There're lots of old YouTube videos with 500ms inflation time - disregard those - too old).
    The HitAir jackets are used by police all over the world and seem to be proven by time and number of crashes. Seems like you can't go very wrong with it.
    Also price-wise, one can get 2 vests (one for racing another for the street) for the price of single Helite or PointTwo vest.

    Now will jump onto Helite (France) and Point Two (UK). Previously the ProAir Force jackets incorporated the Helite airbag and trigger system. More recent jackets are now including the Point Two air bag and trigger system approved by RicoTest. This system incorporates a bayonet fitting on the canister to reduce the risk of individuals not fully tightening the canister, and a base cap that can be used with either an allen key or a spanner. The trigger housing also holds an allen key so readily available. The new ProAir Force jackets also incorporate a longer EN1621-2 back panel than the original Helite design.

    The Point Two jackets are used by quite a few enduro racers. The inflation time is <100ms. But unfortunately I couldn't get much more information from them. They don't seem to be willing to communicate a lot and answer more detailed questions.

    The Helite (French) is claimed to be the only CE certified airbag system (didn't verify that). The inflation time is <100ms. Not much information on who has been using it though.
    They tried to explain quite a few things. But they provided false or misleading information about the competition (some of the number came out of the blue, like 0.36s inflation time of HitAir). Here's the excerpt from the email comparing the products:

    Helite Hit Air Impact jacket Point Two
    Efficiency time 0,1s 0,36s (0.25 or .5 OLD - WRONG!) 0,9s (0.5s - WRONG!) helite airbag (WRONG!)
    Full chest protection Yes No (WRONG!) Yes Yes
    Prevents back over flexion of neck Yes No (WRONG!) No Model ?
    CE certified Yes Model? No Model?
    Respect EN 1621-4 Yes No No No
    Price exwks (usualy) Model ? Model ? Model ? Model ?

    Additionally they (Helite) claimed that their neck protector design is more beneficial comparing to the the HitAir which was "floating". They couldn't explain what would make HitAir's vest float (which is significantly bigger), neither they could explain why exactly that is an issue.

    Finally our conversation ended with:
    I didn't want to continue the conversation, whatever that meant.

    I know for sure that Point Two is former reseller of HitAir. Helite probably too (that's what I suspect what they mean saying "we worked with HiAir").

    So as a summary of all this: my conclusion is that HitAir is the most pragmatic choice out of all the options available (that I listed).
    But I wouldn't mind to try Helite/Point Two since they may have a little more protection, but the controversy scares me off a little.

    Hope this will be helpful to some of you. I probably forgot a few things, but at least I did my job sharing what've learnt after spending a significant amount of time on the airbag vests "research".

    What are your thoughts guys?
  2. I'm not a fan of these. I imagine it'd be a huge pain in the ass to use. They'll probably be compulsory one day though...
    Till then I'll stick with leathers and a back protector.
  3. Why do you think so? The tether?

    You probably know that, but just to make sure - the vest is not a replacement of any protective gear. It's just additional impact protection. It can be worn over any existing gear.
    No leather or back protector can currently do what an airbag can. When used in combination, it can really save the life (or at least some badly broken bones :) ).
  4. ^ yes the tether, installing on bike, checking batteries, checking gas cartridges for damage... I think it's great in theory but doubt it's livable in practice.

    Also, if you have a risk profile that would lead to bubble wrapping (literally lol) to avoid injury, maybe a motorcycle is the wrong form of transport?

    There comes a point where the safety/paranoia overcomes any thrill you may otherwise have experienced and you might as well be in a cage.

    Motorcycling safety should be about preventing collisions, not preventing damage.

    Just my 2c obviously
  5. #5 dima, Nov 5, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
    There are no batteries at all. Installing is a few minutes job that you do only once. Checking gas cartridge - can be done once a year (but AFAIK it's obvious that it's fine just from its weight).

    Doesn't seem like much hassle to me (maybe similar to a car seatbelt) for a piece of mind :(

    A lot of people wear hi-viz vests to be seen. Airbag can be the same plus a bit of protection.

    Yeah :) That certainly applies to me (maybe I should really quit motorcycling??). Had my share of crashes.

    But you know, there are riders who crashed and who will :)
    And when that happens it might be worth extra protection. That's of course personal choice but still.

    That's totally true in the ideal world. In that case we wouldn't even need to wear any protective cloths at all. Unfortunately riders have been crashing and are going to crash.
  6. I think the A* is battery powered and it looks like the best system.
  7. Yeah, Dainese and Alpinestars have batteries and seem to be the best out of the bunch. Unfortunately those are not available for us (and won't be any time soon). Thus out of equation. Probably I shouldn't even have mentioned those to avoid confusion.
  8. Sorry mate.. TL;DR fully.. but knowing that im thinking about the same sorta thing.. have you thought about these guys? or are they the same as hit air in australia?

    Going to the states soon and actually hoping to see something i can try on..
  9. Crashbounce were very helpful when I talked to them and they seem to have the lowest prices. They only don't post to Australia. But the jackets/vests should be the same as from the local distributor in NSW which unfortunately is so much more expensive :(

    Any dates? Are you settled on HitAir or considering others too?
  10. I'd be very careful about taking explosive compressed gas on a plane in the US...
  11. leaving in the next couple of weeks..

    There are places that "trans ship" for a sensible fee from the states.. (im lucky to have the inlaws.. ) but these places allow you to ship stuff to them then they on ship it to you.. dont know of any names but pretty easy to google.. might still end up being cheaper than buying from NSW..

    Not really settled on any.. or the concept at all.. im already pretty damn bulky with all my gear on.. and i wouldnt be too thrilled about putting another layer on top of that.. The tube style ones that RS taichi (like the blow up life jackets on boats) seemed less bulky.. but more bulky in a smaller area if you know what i mean..

    I wont be searching out places to try em on in the states.. but if i happen past a bike gear store i will be trying to stop in and have a look.. :) but half of my trip will be with family in country arkansas.. and the other half of my trip will be in New Orleans on Bourbon street were i might not remember to go. :p
  12. Thanks for that cptn obvious.. :p hehehee.. nar not looking to buy anyway.. was just looking to try on.. if i could id love to bring a certain pair of panniers home with me.. but i dont think they will be available by the time i get there.
  13. ^ Hey, stranger things have happened. I know someone who tried to fly home with a steering wheel :banghead:
    I guess you could just come to think of it as a jacket and forget it contains an explosive.
  14. Co2 isnt explosive the last time i checked.. its just under pressure.. but not actually flammable... and if it couldnt handle the pressure change in flight (being about a 6-7000ft change in the cabin AND the luggage compartment..) then i would hate to buy one of these jackets in colorado and then ride down the hills.. :p

    Regardless.. not buying.. just looking..

    P.s im assuming the steering wheel was airbag equipped .. otherwise.. whats the problem?
  15. #15 Unconnected, Nov 5, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
    your better off with a neckbrace from leatt imo, go to sportbiketrackgear and check it out, at least its passive.

    The airbags are a gimmick, im yet to see any data that suggests they help, also the potential for accidental inflation is high, and would probably cause a crash.

    Spend your money on instruction, if your still scared stop riding, its not for everyone and thats just reality. I wanted to be an civil engineer my entire life, but im terrible at maths, so i had to give up that dream, sometimes you are just not cut out for certain things.

    Sorry, please dont take this personally.

    Also im sure you can get those airbags shipped in from the US, dont support the scam of australian retailers and their monopolistic importers. They cry poor, but its their own fault and they deserve to be sent broke.

    You need to get real about motorcycling, what piece of mind? in what way will your airbag help you when you snap your spine on a tree or end up under a kenworth.
  16. ^ lol, I was taking a tread softly approach but agree with that.
  17. Some of those Hit-Air jackets looks good.
    Why don't you just get one of those jackets?
    You probably need one don't you? Or did you old one survive?

    That is true, I don't think anything will help getting splatted with a Mac truck. But having the additional protections could help in other situation.
    D, I think if you had the airvest at the track, it might help you escape your injuries.

    Not sure how these compare, but when I go snowboarding, I usually carry an hydropack. Stacking on hard ices, over high drops and landing on my back, I can say the waterpack definitely help and takes some of the impact! hehe (but now on my 3rd waterbag tho!)
    • Like Like x 1
  18. That's an interesting and helpful review, thanks for it.

    I'm quite traditionalist in my bike and gear choices - I wear leather and dislike textile, and my stomach turns at high vis (which I think is not that helpful), but airbag jackets are an interesting idea about which I'm quite open. Protective gear has always gradually improved and most improvements or laws about these have been resisted, and the resistance (such as to helmets) has appeared quite silly in hindsight. I would consider a HitAir for touring. I probably wouldn't bother for the commute, perhaps, even though that is where I am most likley to suffer an accident.

    As a pudding basin helmet lover I have no fear of gearing down, but it's nice to have the choice of gearing up, also. Some people do that out of cowardice, others because that is how they respond to the risks which they accept are a part of riding.
  19. Seee.. dont call this thread a review.. coz.. i dont think any of us have one to review on.. .. .. BUT..

    If it was comfortable.. but not part of my main jacket id be calling it part of my "twisty kit" ergo.. if i ride locally or to sat morning practice.. i wear my jacket jeans and knee guards and boots..

    if i go on a "ride" i put on my full pants and boots and jacket..

    id probably add the airbag to my "twisty kit" but not my casual jeans and kneepad sat morning kit.. its all about wearing the kit for the riding your going to be doing at the time..

    just a learners two cents..
  20. how much?
    Also no fluro for this little black duck