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Helite to Offer Electronically Activated Airbag Vests in 2020

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 patrick@helitemoto.com! As soon as we have pricing information available and a better ETA we will also be accepting pre-orders.

Hit-Air MLV-C Airbag Vest – Preview

Product: MLV-C Airbag Vest
Manufacturer: Hit-Air
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)


Introduction

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.

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