- Jan 12, 2020
Interesting... Over here (first motorcycles market in Europe), I believe that the Motoairbag is barely known and there are apparently very few distributors.I recently bought the HIT air MLV and decided to return it. With most tethered systems you have to get separated from the bike for it to engage. That means no low sides, high sides, or rear-enders until you detach from the bike, which I would try not to do. Next I was looking hard at the Klim Ai-1 airbag vest system and almost pulled the trigger, but guess what... no low sides, high sides, or rear enders and you have to be going at least above 15mph, 30 in some cases- what? I nearly broke my clavicle on a my very steep downhill driveway after I forgot to pump the rear brakes following a tire change on a different bike (that will never happen again). Anyway, I was going less than 15mph and hit the pavement HARD before I even knew what was happening. All the "smart" Ai models that aren't physically tethered will require you to remember to keep it charged and turned on. I have a signal minder system on my bike, which may explain why that might be a concern for me, plus I ride nearly every day- charging would not be something I that I'd only have to remember to do every once in a while.
The Klim states that it will work best when it is picking up a GPS signal, and then it employs in 75 to 80% of crashes, which translates to it will probably work. Imagine an expensive helmet manufacturer claiming that in 75% or the cases, even though you put it on, the helmet will be there to protect you....
So, after a lot of Googling and finding that every choice had a significant downside, I stumbled on this European solution, the Motoairbag MAB v3, which is not available in the states. Perhaps those of you overseas will jump in on this with some comments. It is a tethered system, however, you only need to move 3 cm in a crash to activate it. Low sides, high sides, rear enders all covered. And, it's mechanical, which I actually see as a plus. It basically works like a shoulder harness seat belt (check out their website to understand)- the design is tried and true. I plan to order in the next couple of days from Italy or Switzerland... The Airbag for motorcyclists| MOTOAIRBAG
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Most known brands are the two Italian Alpinestars and Dainese brands and the other two French Helite (1st selling brand with tethered system) and In&Motion brands.
Given that the the electronic autonomous models are pretty recent, it is still too early to tell who will be the first seller but the battle will probably be tough between these 4 brands.
The choice for the electronic models (non tethered) will be between the e-Helite (launched mid-2020), the Dainese Smart Jacket (launched end 2019), the Alpinestar Tech-Air 5 (launched early 2020) and the In&Motion launched early 2019.
In&Motion is a French and small company created in 2014 (located in the French Alps, their first airbag was developed for skiers) and sold under different equipment names/partners such as Ixon, Furygan, Held, Klim or RST, others ? (Triumph was planning to sell it too but I have not seen yet any final confirmation ?).
I believe that each rider will find pros and cons. (all are valid reasons) :
- those who'd go for the electronic ones given their faster deployment (crucial ?) vs those with tethered system. The SRA independent organization testing airbags gives 5 stars only to the good electronic airbags for this reason (tethered system airbags get a max of 3 stars) : Classement des gilets airbag | SRA
The e-Helite, Smart Jacket and Tech Air 5 have not been tested yet by this SRA organization but this will depend on these brands to decide or not to get it tested by SRA given that all the airbags manufacturers seem not to agree on the test criteria and since the EEC has not apparently succeeded to decide which specific and new standards would be applicable to the motorcycles airbags...(but this may change ref. the future standards on helmets*).
- those who'd go for the tethered system given the risk of electronic bugs for the others
- those who want to wear it over the jacket (then the Alpinestar is out),
- those who want the airbag jacket to include also a back protector (then out the Dainese),
- those who want the best protection (then the Tech Air would be the winner before the Helite),
- those who want it lighter and not so warm (then probably the Smartjacket),
- those who do not want to pay a subscription (then the In&Motion is out) and so on...
* new EEC standards 22.06 (current one is 22.05) for helmets and effective 2023, will force the helmets manufacturers to change their models; it will be an improvement since the new helmets should protect better the brain by a system which will limit the "brain rotation". The new standard will include also the approval of integrate/added accessories such as intercom. Question is how much more it'll cost and what about the impact on the weight ?
There is the equivalent of the SRA organization but for helmets and this future standard : What is the certimoov project? | Certimoov