A bright idea in airbag protective equipment.
Helite is back at it with its airbag tech for motorcyclists—and this time, the French company brought hi-viz to the party. Its new Free-Air Vented Airbag Jacket only came in black before, and while some riders may still prefer that, the addition of hi-viz yellow is a good option to have.
For those unfamiliar, Helite has been making airbag vests and backpacks for some time, and announced a new wireless sensor management system in November, 2019. The interesting thing about this jacket is that the airbag deployment system is purely mechanical—and made so that jacket owners can easily pop out and replace the spent CO2 cartridge themselves, with no need to send the jacket away to the manufacturer after a crash. Just two minutes is all that replacement takes, according to the company—not bad if true!
The Free-Air is made of 600D Cordura with plenty of mesh panels to get good airflow where you need it when you’re riding. It also includes a removable, waterproof rain liner as well as CE-approved shoulder and elbow armor made by Knox. A Sas-Tec Level 2 back protector is fitted as standard, which sits over the airbag and away from your body.
Gallery: Helite Free-Air Vented Hi-Viz Airbag Jacket
According to Helite, the airbag can offer between 14 and 28 liters of protection, depending on its size. It inflates in under 100 milliseconds to stabilize your head, neck, and spine quickly. This works in concert with its Turtle technology, which includes that back protector as a rigid “shell” to absorb and redistribute impact shocks in a crash.
As you’re probably aware if you’ve priced airbag jackets, all this protection definitely doesn’t come cheap. It’s listed at US $939 on Helite’s site, but a replacement CO2 canister ranges between $23 and $29, depending on size—which is a small price to pay if it keeps you from getting seriously injured. This jacket comes with a one-year warranty from the date of purchase, as well. However, to receive warranty service, you must provide Helite with a copy of your police/accident report from your crash, in addition to proof of purchase.
This jacket comes in sizes S to 4XL, and is a unisex fit. One note about sizing: Helite advises that you should plan to order about two sizes up from your normal t-shirt or jacket size when ordering this jacket. If you need sizing help, there’s a live chat option available on their site to assist you with any questions.