Product: MLV-C Airbag Vest
Sizes: Medium (covers S – XL), Large (covers XL-3XL)
Color(s): Black, White, Red, Blue, Brown, plus special edition colors
Made In: Japan
Price: $479.00 base ($509.00 as tested)
Recently I posted that I had purchased an airbag vest so as one can tell from the title of this writing, I chose to go with the Hit-Air MLV-C Airbag vest. Here’s a look at why I chose the Hit-Air brand and why I chose to go with a vest instead of an airbag integrated jacket.
Why Hit-Air over Helite?
The two major players in the motorcycle airbag vest/jacket arena are arguably Hit-Air and Helite. There are also a handful of others making vests using a tethered system like the one used on these devices. After a lot of research I chose to go with the Hit-Air brand.
(Note: There are options from Dainese and Alpinestars that use electronic sensors to activate their airbags but I wanted to focus on the tethered systems for this review)
Deciding wasn’t easy as both manufacturers offer a quality product. Helite, for there part, does a bit more marketing than Hit-Air so their name may be more familiar. Marketing isn’t everything (but sometimes it is, I’m looking at you Betamax) and I wouldn’t have guessed that Hit-Air got started several years before Helite based solely on name recognition alone.
In terms of options, Helite has three with their Turtle vest, a race version, and a custom leather option. Hit-Air has several offerings for vests, seven by my count, and that is just the vest options. There also appears to be 13 jackets available from Hit-Air that include their airbag technology so Hit-Air has the most variety of options.
The Helite Turtle vest has an integrated back protector that sits over the inflation bags in the vest. This is a great feature for impact protection. The Hit-Air vest offers optional back protectors for their vests that installs via hook and loop fastener on the inner side of the vest under the airbag.
I like the optional nature of the back protector in this case, especially since I have CE level 2 back protectors installed in my riding jackets already. This last point I would consider a toss-up so no points either way. In the end I chose the Hit-Air, but then I had to answer the next question…
Which one?! Read on to find out.