After a year of wearing the race collar, I started looking into airbag vests. Airbag vests aren’t exactly new to the protective gear landscape having been around for about 30 years, but they’ve seemed to linger on the horizon, rather than at the forefront of motorcycle safety gear.
Looking into how airbag vests and airbag jackets worked, I found most of them not only protect your chest and back but many designs will immobilize your head (when wearing a full face helmet) enough to help reduce/prevent neck injuries. I was sold! But which one should I get?
The old guard of Helite and Hit-Air use physically tethered systems which rely on a lanyard attached to the motorcycle to activate the airbag. Dainese and Alpinestars introduced systems a few years ago that use electronic sensor packages to determine when a crash is occurring and deploy the airbag. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses.
Mechanical systems are less expensive and often the user can easily repack a Hit-Air or Helite device and replace the compressed air cartridge. Assuming the airbag isn’t damaged, the rider can continue on their merry way. These airbag systems are typically in the form of a vest that goes over existing riding gear or the airbag system is integrated into a jacket for an all-in-one solution.
Dainese, Alpinestars, and now Klim, offer electronically triggered (non-tethered) systems. These systems can be used with dedicated apparel as well as most other jackets assuming they offer enough room for deployment. In the case of Dainese (D-Air Smart Jacket), one can even use their system on top of a jacket.
Note: Helite recently released their own electronically activated airbag vests, the e-Turtle and e-GP Air, but they do not appear to be available yet in North America. I’m sure once they become available we’ll have a look at these as well.
The Dirt 3 gloves from REV’IT! are a short-cuff option geared towards the adventure rider. Similar in overall form and mission to the Sand 3 gloves, the Dirt 3 gloves have a bit more mesh and offer a more traditional take on the knuckle armor along with some other minor differences. They represent a good option for hot weather riders in the adventure space as well as the commuting and other types of riding.
Earlier this year I took a look at the Alpinestars SP Air gloves as an option for a protective hot-weather glove and they provided a good balance of protection versus ventilation. However, they had some other issues that kept me looking for another summer glove option.
2020 has not only been a year of massive changes and reassessment of what is normal, but it has also been very hot and humid here in Middle Tennessee. This heat and humidity have been a driver for me to look into a pair of gloves with increased ventilation.
Back in 2018, I reviewed a pair of Sand 3 gloves from REV’IT! and while they ticked a lot of the right boxes, I decided to let them go in favor of keeping the Knox Orsa Leather MkII gloves I already owned.
A couple of months ago I heard (OK, read) on the ADVRider forums about the Dirt 3 gloves from REV’IT!. The Dirt 3 gloves were described as similar to the Sand 3 gloves but with some different armor and ventilation features.
The New Drake Air Textile pants from Dainese might not look like what one would think of for summer/hot weather riding pants but looks can be deceiving. Venting is better than expected and the trade off of protection from solid textile versus use of mesh appears to be worth it.
At the time of this writing, the first official day of Summer is only a couple of weeks away. As such, it’s time to start breaking out the hot weather riding gear. A lot of riders will be reaching for riding gear that includes mesh fabrics in the construction. I’m one of those riders and I’ll be the first to admit that a lot mesh gear is a compromise between ventilation and protection.
For my jacket, I currently wear a Knox Zephyr (first gen) which is a combination of a very tough mesh material and solid, abrasion resistant fabric. In this case, I feel the mesh material is strong enough and well placed that the jacket itself should offer reasonable protection for street riding. The Zephyr is also close fitting so the armor installed should remain in place during a crash.
As far as pants go, that’s a different story. My current mesh pants are a pair of Olympia AirGlide pants which I wear as overpants for commuting duties. Like most mesh/textile pants, these are loose fitting so while they work fine as overpants, they are too loose, in my opinion, for standalone use when riding.
By the way, in case the powers-that-be at Knox Armour are reading this, if a pair of pants designed in a similar way as the Zephyr jacket became a reality, I’d be first in line to buy a pair. Just sayin’ -B
I’ve also found that mesh pants that include mesh at the shin area can actually be a “cooling liability” as engine heat can get straight to one’s lower legs. Not all bikes create this problem but my Triumph Sprint 1050 did and my Ninja 1000 does expel some waste heat at the ankle/shin level. In these cases I’d rather have something solid blocking the wind in that area.
The point is that my current riding gear didn’t really include a pair of pants that worked well for hot weather riding, commuting aside. The hunt was now on for a pair of riding pants that had a mix of ventilation and protection that also didn’t break the bank and here’s where I landed.
My first look at the new Transit 3 two piece riding suit from Aerostich just dropped over at WebBikeWorld. The Transit suit has been out of production for a few years due to sourcing issues surrounding the perforated, waterproof leather (yes, perforated and waterproof). Now it’s back and I’m working on a multi-part review. Hit the link below to see the initial installment of this review.
Just in time for Christmas, I have the new Transit 3 suit from Aerostich in the house (literally) for review. My plan was to do an initial write up covering the details and construction since we are in Winter and I didn’t expect to get on the road with the suit.
As it turns out, the unseasonably warm weather provided the opportunity to get out and give the Transit a proper shakedown today. There’s a lot to cover on this suit so you can expect a multi-part review much like my review of the Cousin Jeremy suit.
Keep an eye here ( and on WebBikeWorld.com ) for the first part of the Transit Suit 3 review to come in the next few weeks.
The people over at Helite have been cooking up something new in the wearable airbag space for 2020. Currently there are only two major players that make electronically triggered wearable airbag devices for motorcycle riders. Dainese and Alpinestars. As they are very new, first generation products, there are barriers to widespread adoption as prices a re relatively high and if the products do get activated, they have to be returned to the manufacturer for “re-arming”
On the other side of the “airbag” street we have vests from companies like HitAir and Helite. These devices employ a physical connection from the device to the motorcycle, triggering once the rider has left the seat. These type of vests have the advantage of simpler design, ease of “re-arming” by way of a user replaceable cartridge, and cost around the same price as a premium level helmet.
Helite has starting spreading the word that they will be releasing their own electronically activated vests in the Spring of 2020 starting with their race model, the GP, followed by a version of their Turtle 2 vest that will use the same (or similar) electronics.
Why is this important? Helite has taken the best parts of both worlds here by using electronics sensors to detect when an impact has occurred combined with the convenience of user replaceable gas cartridges. Having the electronics means potential for faster start of inflation while the total cost of ownership should be reduced by user serviceable parts.
Below is the info I saw at the ADV Rider forums that was posted by Patrick at Helite. (or at least is claimed to be from him 🙂 )
HELITE will be offering an Electronically Triggered Airbag System besides the already existing Mechanically Triggered Airbag System!
The first available electronic option will the HELITE GP Air Vest. Then the Electronic System will also become available for the HELITE Turtle 2 Vest. We do not expect these to be available until Spring 2020 and pricing has not been released yet either!
The Electronic Systems will feature 2 sensors. One that is decting impact even at stanstill and one motion sensor in the Vest itself. The Vest is instantly re-usable by simply replacing the CO2 cartridge similar to the already exisitng Mechanical Airbag System. No need to send the vest in to have it re-set or re-packed UNLESS, of course, it is damaged and you would like us to check the functionality.
If you have any questions whatsoever feel free to send me an email to email@example.com! As soon as we have pricing information available and a better ETA we will also be accepting pre-orders.
Summary: The AR Knee Protectors from Forcefield offers an alternative to integrated knee protectors in motorcycle riding pants. Fitting snugly against the knee (under or over riding pants) they will stay in place better in the event of a crash than armor installed in most protective riding pants. Unlike many standalone knee protectors, these can be used for street riding as well as off-road.
For many years now I have employed “ATGATT” when I ride. In my case, especially when commuting, this means I am wearing over-pants or other riding pants that will fit over work clothes. Being roomy enough to handle this situation means that the armor in these pants might not be held securely enough to remain in place in the event of a crash.
To mitigate this situation, for the past several years I have been removing the installed armor in my riding pants and have instead used MX style knee protectors in their stead. I’ve had protectors from Alpinestars, Thor, and Shift Racing over the years and they’ve served me well.
The problem with the aforementioned protectors is that they are not designed for street riding. I have used them with the idea I would rather have protectors I know will stay in place offering some protection, rather than the risk of suitable protectors not remaining in place when I need them.
Aerostich is bringing back one of their most sought after products this October. The Transit waterproof and breathable two piece leather suit returns to the ‘Stitch lineup and with new products available for shipping this October! ( Images in this article are from the Aerostich website )
The Transit suits were always quite the aspirational riding gear setup for me and many of my fellow riders. I always loved the idea of the durability and protection of a special leather combined with waterproof and breathable qualities. Of course this special blend of features (and awesome looks IMO)came at a significant price at over $2,000.00 (USD) for both the jacket and pants together.
The new Transit 3 jacket and pants come in just under the price of the last iteration of Transit gear with the Transit 3 jacket running $987.00 and the Transit 3 pants commanding $897.00. These prices are still quite the premium over textile suits but for what one is getting, I’d say it’s not “crazy expensive” but perhaps more like “pretty pricey”.
The Transit 2 apparel was discontinued due to what Aerostich called “materials (supply-chain) complications”. The Transit 2 was made from GORE-TEX Pro Shell leather and this must have become hard to acquire. The Transit 3 gear is made from a laminated leather material called CORIUM+. This material is a new one on me and I’ll be doing my best to find out more about in the coming days and weeks.
I have to say I’m blown away by this return of what many considered the ultimate multi-season street riding suit. I have been eyeing my closet full of gear today see how much I can get if I sold all of it to put towards the new Transit 3. I’ll post more info on the return of the Transit as I find it.
Summer is in full swing here in Tennessee and it’s hot and humid. It may not be the most pleasant weather for motorcycle riding in full protective gear but as the saying goes, I’d rather sweat than risk injury from a crash (or something like that).
Of course, something has been missing from my summer gear kit for a few years now and that’s vented riding boots. Somehow I’ve neglected to replace my Alpinestars Recon boots from years ago (I miss those) so I was overdue for some hot weather friendly kicks.
I spent some time back at the start of the Summer pouring over various summer riding boot options and finally landed on a pair that ticked all the right boxes. Among the many boxes were;
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