Helite Inflatable Air Vest Review – are they worth the money?
Inflatable Air Vests have only really come about in the biking industry over recent years, and the brand that seems to have taken the market by storm and become the “go-to” brand for airbag vests is Helite. Helite were actually founded back in 2001 to produce products for the aircraft sector but they quickly noticed an opportunity to improve safety of motorcycle riders and hence today being one of the leading brands.
Helite Inflatable Air Vest – Key Specs
- It’s made from polyester but also has a PVC coating construction
- To stop you overheating it features 3D air mesh panels in back to promote better air circulation
- It’s really easy to quickly put on using the quick fastener on front
- When the airbag is triggered it inflates completely within an astonishing 0.1 seconds
- Benefit from extensive protection to the back, neck, coccyx, ribs and chest
- The air vest also comes complete with a Knox back protector, canister and lanyard included
How does it work?
The concept, whilst technical in how it was built, is actually very simple for the user. You attach a lanyard to your bike, which then clips to your air vest. Much like a kill cord if you’ve ever been out at sea. The lanyard is then attached to the bike at one end and your air vest at the other end.
In the event of an accident your lanyard will break free from the vest, deploying the gas canister and inflating the Helite Air Vest within 0.1 seconds, long before you’ve made impact.
The protection offered by the Helite Inflatable Air Vest is second to none, as you’d expect from this additional level of protection. It’s important to note that the air vest is to be used as additional protection and doesn’t replace the need for good protective riding gear like your boots, trousers, jacket, helmet and gloves. And with the inclusion of a Knox back protector you’ve got that extra level of protection for additional peace of mind.
These airbag style levels of protection have now become widely adopted in motorcycle sports thanks to their fantastic results at protecting riders both on road and track.
The protection offered by this vest extends beyond just the torso area because it inflates slightly above and below the torso therefore protecting your neck by stopping sharp sudden movements of your helmet and neck, and also inflates below to protect your coccyx.
It’s important for a bit of safety kit like this to be comfortable, and thankfully it is. It easily fits over the top of your normal riding kit and where it’s lightweight you won’t know it’s there….that said, please don’t forget it’s there…remember you’re tethered to your bike when you get off.
This is a tough one, “how can you put a price on safety” is the first thought that springs to my mind when trying to evaluate the value for money of this kit. But ultimately we’re all budget conscious bikers that of course want the best safety but don’t have endless pots of cash to be chucking at our kit.
The thing I would say here, is invest well in your initial riding kit like your helmet, jacket, trousers, gloves and boots…get decent stuff that’s going to last you and provide decent levels of protection should the worst happen. Then if you have £500 that you can afford without missing the mortgage payment, then perfect, you’ll not be disappointing with spending on the Helite Inflatable Air Vest and the additional peace of mind that it offers.
Demonstration of airbag
If you’re keen to see how the Helite Inflatable Air Vest works here’s a quick demo from Helite themselves. For me, there’s two important points to note from this video, and that’s 1. The airbag is fairly tough to deploy so you’re safe in the knowledge that it’s not going to just accidentally deploy if you catch the strap on something. And 2. The speed at which the airbag inflates is hugely reassuring, less than 0.1 seconds, so you’re safe in the knowledge that the airbag will be fully inflated before impact.
Replacing the gas cartridge
If you are unfortunate enough to have inflated your vest, you’ll be pleased to know that you can re-use the vest just with a simple change of the gas canister, have a look at this video to check out how simple this process is.