If you would like to share your testimonial about a personal Helite Airbag Technology experience, please send it to us HERE. All feedback is welcome and shared!
Rider Testimony received October 2nd, 2020
4 years ago. I'd been hit by a deer, while traveling about 50 mph, without a Helite jacket. All right ribs and my right collar bone were broken. I was life flighted from near the scene and lost about 1 1/2 months of work.
On 10-2 of this year at 4:30am while coming to work at approx. 65 or 70 mph on the 4 lane, I was hit from behind on my bike by a young man who'd fallen asleep. I went down a grassy embankment and came off the bike, which I believe flipped.
The next thing I remember was the guy asking if I was alright, as I was getting up. At the time, except for being shook up. I didn't have pain.
He helped me set up my bike and we walked up the bank to the EMTs. I was going to get a ride to work from the trooper on scene but called in to work and our mill nurse told me I should be checked.
After checks at the hospital, I was found to have 3 broken ribs on my left side. A much better outcome than my experience with the deer.
I credit my lack of much more serious injury to my Helite adventure jacket, which had deployed at some point in my tumble.
The only damage to the jacket were some tears in the outer layer of material on the side of my right elbow. I likely may not have been back on a bike if my daughter had not sent my wife info about 'air bag' jackets.
Thank you Helite for a great product.
All the gear...all the time....including a Helite vest or jacket!
Rider Testimony received October 23nd, 2018
Just want to tell you how much I love this new adv jacket. It fits like a glove, is warmer than other jackets I own (36 degrees this morning commuting to work on the highway, warm and comfortable), has many great features, pockets and I just love the safety of the airbag.
Finding a suitable attachment point for the harness was a challenge on my K1600GT. Finally went to the internet which suggested a metal crossbrace located behind my saddle and under the passenger seat. Had to tape the edges of the crossbrace as I didn't want to cut or wear the harness material with use. The stock harness was _just_ long enough to reach. Hope I will never need the airbag but it's a great comfort to have it just in case.
-Rob G., CT RiderCoach-
Rider Testimony received October 22nd, 2018
Yesterday, I was rounding a turn in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. A gust of wind hit me and I overcompensated, straightening me up and sending me off the road at around 40mph. As I left the bike, the vest deployed exactly as designed. After bouncing along the ground, I got up completely unscathed, save some grass stains. I‘ll definitely be recommending your Turtle vest to everyone on a bike. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks for making such a great product!
Rider Testimony received June 18th, 2018
My father bought me the vest a year and a half ago for Christmas, and it’s now proven to be the most important gift I’ve ever received!
One evening a short while ago, I was riding my Yamaha - overconfidently I might add - on some twisty roads outside Point Reyes Station in Northern California. Entering a sharp left hand corner too quickly, I realized I wasn’t going to make the turn. I applied my breaks in a panic and started skidding uncontrollably at 60mph. The bike lowsided, I flipped off, and the vest deployed instantly: as I tumbled along the asphalt, my upper body — from the hips up— felt like a stone gently skipping across a pond. There was no impact pressure, no jerking violence on my hips, torso, spine, or neck. After I came to a stop, I knew the most important parts of me were fine — I could move, no nightmarish injuries seemed present. Friendly motorists pulled up shortly after and got me into an ambulance. I made it to the hospital with nothing more than a broken knee cap. It seems perfectly clear that the vest saved me from potentially catastrophic consequences of overriding. I cannot express how grateful I am to the minds and engineers behind the Helite vest. It’s a miracle invention and EVERY rider should wear one!
- Thomas M. -
Rider Testimony received April 5th, 2018
In September of 2017 I was riding a local road that I know very well. It was a beautiful sunny day. I was enjoying the sun despite the recent passing of 4 friends earlier that year. Little did I know I might soon join them. But, as I rounded a corner, I fixated on the road's edge, and that’s where I took my BMW GS Adventure. I tried to ride out of the shallow ditch. The next thing I know I was laying in the middle of the road on my back. My Helite vest had gone off. It was hard to breath and it felt like I laid in the road for a long time waiting for the vest to deflate. But it was only moments. I later realized the severity of the crash. My boots and gloves were damaged. My full face [Schuberth] was destroyed. I’m sure the vest saved me from serious injury.
The moral here is all the gear, all the time.
Pay attention out there!
- Stu Smith -
Rider Testimony received April 4th, 2018
What I experienced was a very low speed high side tip over. I left the bike on the left and landed on the roadway. The vest inflated per design and no injury to me. I carry an extra inflation cylinder and in 5 minutes I was good to go again. I wear the vest 100% when on the bike and I like the peace of mind. I ride about 40,000 miles per year in any weather except heavy snow. Thanks.
- Gary Hockerman -
Rider Testimony received April 3rd, 2018
I lowsided at Sonoma and the vest deployed as I separated from the bike. The vest held up well, no marks whatsoever on it! I love how it stabilizes your head and neck.
- DJ -
Rider Testimony received February 26th, 2018
It is now February 26 at 1:07am eastern standard time and it has been only two hours since I was involved in an accident. I'm only able to be at home, alive, because of your technology.
I ordered a Helite Custom leather airbag vest about three months ago and despite it costing a pretty penny, it was well worth every cent. Your airbag vest worked as expected, to the last description. Police officers were amazed how I was able to walk away with no broken bones, or anything serious other than some bad road rash and a headache. Probably from a mild concussion. Anyway, paramedics came on seen and they too were surprised that I was breathing, walking, and talking. I told them over and over it was thanks to my air bag vest. First responders were amazed by the technology.....
I remember my girlfriend and her dad - both serious riders - jokingly calling me Bubble Boy for wearing the vest. But after tonight I convinced my girlfriend that these airbag vests are a necessity. After this she now says "I can't possibly see myself riding a motorcycle without one," ..this technology saved my life. And now that my girlfriend will be needing one expect an order to come your way soon. Just as soon as I save up the money for a vest for her. Keep up the good work guys and gals. You are saving lives!
Rider Testimony received February 1st, 2018
I have been riding since I was 30 (now 72). I started out wearing shorts, short sleeves and an open face helmet. For my time spent with almost no gear, I was lucky. Then I laid my bike down on diesel fuel while riding 2 up, and, in the process, wiped out a very expensive suit not to mention removed some skin from my passenger.
I added more gear over the years to the point where I do not leave my driveway without it. When air vests came on the scene I bought one of the first which was intended for people on horseback. I read about Helite in a motorcycle magazine, then after seeing the demos and reading the specs I decided to make the leap.
I chose the adventure jacket for maximum protection even though the vest looked cool. The jacket allowed me to cut back down on the number of pieces it took to get ready for a ride. I called and talked to some one about sizing and they were correct despite my doubts. When I received the jacket it fit just like I was told. The hope was to never need its protection, well so much for that.
I went down on gravel surface with my K1600GT. When the bike and I parted company the jacket did its thing. I could not believe the amount of protection it offered. My head was supported, my chest and back were solid. I am not sure if it is possible to get more protection unless you're wearing official Moto GP leathers!
I like the fact that the Helite jacket does not depend on sensors to set it off. Just a line attached to the bike-fail safe-operation with no worries about battery sensors to depend on. The jacket wasn't damaged, so the thing is tough. I would not leave home without it! It makes my wife feel better knowing that if I mess up again I will have great help.
Driver Testimony received January 2nd, 2018
I recently witnessed a rider go down at 55-65 mph on the highway in front of me. He was wearing one of these vests, and I was amazed that he was able to walk away. He actually got back on his BMW after about 20 minutes of calming down, and rode the rest of the way to work.
I'm a believer!
- Greg K. via Facebook -
Rider Testimony received December 29th, 2017
EMT testimony received November 10th, 2017
I have responded to over 100 motorcycle crashes and a good 25% have been fatal. The last one I responded too was the first time I had seen the Helite or even heard of it. A**hole did a 3 lane change on the highway because they were texting and then missed their turn. Side swiped a bike at about 70 mph (both of them), rider was ejected, and slammed into a guard rail at a very impressive speed. Whan I heard this call, I figured he would be DO A. I got there and saw 2 riders talking, one sitting one standing. I didn't see the DO A anywhere, I walked up to them and asked them where the rider was and the guy sitting down said, "Right here." I was blown away, even more so after seeing his and his buddy's go pro recordings. I checked him over and had an officer make sure there were no other patients. He then told me about the vest he had and how it saved his life.
After watching all the live tests done with this product and hearing and seeing first hand what it can do, why aren't more riders wearing it? Why? Why is this not in every motorsport shop around the world?
Rider testimony received October 16th, 2017
I put in a lot of bike miles every year (40k on my latest NC700XD bought June 2016) and had been considering an airbag vest for a while. I immediately pulled the trigger and ordered a Helite after seeing a demonstration.
A couple of days after getting my Helite vest I was at the Flying Monkey Adventure Rally testing my bike and my off-roading abilities.
Prior to leaving on my morning group ride, I considered whether or not to wear my new airbag vest, ultimately deciding to wear it. While trying to go up a steep deeply rutted jeep track, where the ruts were full of large rocks, I tried negotiating the hard rounded center when my rear wheel slipped sideways. With the bike going down, I was flying thru the air, headfirst and upside down, towards the deep rock strewn inside rut.
I never felt the airbag deploy nor do I remember hitting the ground. My memory is of feeling like an upside down turtle, uninjured, only able to give a thumbs up to other riders arriving to assist me. My body weight was behind my helmet and shoulder hitting the ground first, but I had not even received a bruise!
I finally rolled over, disengaged the used air cartridge and was able to move freely again. Then, back on my bike, made it up the rest of that gnarly track and continued my ride as if nothing happened.
This is me at the next group stop, convinced that I chose wisely getting this Helite airbag vest from Erik and then wearing it.
Now, while concerned about breaking bones at age 65, but not wanting to slow down my activities, I never even consider riding without my Helite.
I have another off-roading event coming up shortly in Pahrump, NV and you can bet I’ll be wearing my Helite.
Immediately following that Rally I ride to Kentucky to join friends for some whiskey, Poker, and deer hunting. That will total up a few more thousand miles, on and off road, so you can bet my vest will be worn when on my m/c.
- Ray -
Rider testimony received October 12th, 2017
I was about to leave work in San Francisco an after-work party and thought should I really put on ALL my gear to go one mile? YES. It's why I bought my full RevIt suit, hi viz Helite Turtle vest, boots, gloves, and helmet in the first place. So I suited up, got on the bike, and headed to the party.
Commuter traffic was insane and the flow of pedestrians made it hard to find a good time to make the turn even out of my parking structure. I kept looking both ways for cars and people, waiting, with both feet on the ground.
Next thing I knew, 'POP!'. I had never experienced that before and it was shocking. I didn't understand what had happened. Then I realised I had hit the ground.
I stood up, took my vest off, helmet off, and found two people yelling at a man, "We saw you do that on purpose!" I had no idea what had happened but the story quickly unfolded. A pedestrian apparently decided to shoulder check the case on the back of my bike as he walked by. Bike weight + my weight = around 700 pounds. So this guy was up to no good and probably wanted to see if I would fall over.
That very morning before any of this took place, the parts guy at the shop I take my bike to even asked how I liked my airbag vest. "I don't know, Bob. It's never gone off." I returned to Bob with news. It works. It really worked. Yes, I was in no danger of real injury since it was a fall at no mph. But wow, it worked. And it worked before I even knew what was going on or why it was going off.
When I got home, I replaced the used gas canister with the spare I had ordered with the vest. I had assumed I would need the spare because I'd set it off by accident! I've never set it off by accident.
Get a Helite. Get the spare cartridge. Wear it everywhere, every day. Even if you're going a mile. Going down is not IF... it's WHEN.
- Debbie, formerly of San Francisco -
Rider testimony received September 7th, 2017 via YouTube
'Had one of these save my life. Was t-boned by a car, the impact threw my body (me) into the grill of a big a#$ Cummins truck. Granted it still bruised my ribs and I thought the wind would be knocked outta me forever. But, it beat becoming a metaphorical bug hitting a car windshield though.'
Rider testimony received August 29th, 2017
'Another real life field report for the Turtle vest.
Last Saturday I must have caught some loose gravel on a turn. The turn had good visibility and was pretty wide so I had braked and downshifted and I'd estimate I was carrying about 30-40mph going into the turn. (I was looking thru the turn, not at the speedo).
The bike started skidding and it was only time for a quick "aw Sh!$!" and it was over. I was laying in the dirt with my Helite inflated and the bike was on its side leaking gas a few yards down the road. A couple of good Samaritans in a Jeep came by and helped me pickup the bike. Fairing was trashed but bike was rideable back to home base with no problems.
The bike obviously high sided when it went down. I guess I was launched into the air when it did. The Turtle vest worked as advertised. No neck or upper body injuries with the exception of a couple of abrasions and bruises on my left arm. There was only a small 1/2" tear in the sleeve of my perf leather Rev'it jacket so no flesh met the ground. I'm guessing the mild roadrash on my forearm came from friction with the lining.
Rev'it Airwave textile pants worked with no tears or abrasions to my left leg. I had a tweaked knee and ankle on my left leg and bruising on my left foot. Basically just sprains that are 85% healed after three days. The left BMW Pro Touring boot obviously did a good job of protecting my ankle and foot from serious injury. 'Stich Elkskin roper gloves looked a little scraped but no tears and none of my gear needs to be scrapped or replaced.
All in all a good outcome. ATGATT and Helite carried the day.'
- Slim -
Rider testimony received August 14th, 2017
"Hi there, my name is Gary. I ride a Suzuki Burgman 650. I purchased the turtle airbag vest about a year and a half ago from the Riverside BMW dealership. Last Tuesday, August 8th I had a car try to change lanes into me on the 10 freeway in West Covina here in Southern California. As I attempted to swerve right and accelerate around him, my left handlebar sheared off his right rear view mirror, the grips got wrenched out of my hands, and after several wobbles, I dove off the bike before it went down. I do not remember "belly flopping" onto the freeway, but I opened my eyes to see the grooves in the pavement through my full face shield. I heard in my heart a simple word, "Relax". I closed my eyes again and then had the sensation of going from skidding to rolling. Not sure how many times I rolled, but I stopped on my left-hand side. I rolled onto my back and realized the suit was inflated. IT WORKED!!!! I thought to myself. There is more to the story from there, but I have a broken left thumb, mushy right ankle, and had a displaced rib from the vest canister, that my chiropractor popped back in. Most of important of all, alive to tell the story. The vest WORKED!!! Thanks, Gary"
Rider testimony received August 8th, 2017
"Coming back from Sturgis today, our good friend on his BMW R1200RT was slowing from about 60 mph to enter the left-turn lane to complete a hard left onto another secondary highway. A midsized pickup following him failed to see him in time and delivered a very hard glancing blow into the rear wheel of his bike. He went flying and his bike exploded into dozens of plastic pieces. He was probably doing 20-30 mph when he was hit by the truck which was probably going at least 40-45 mph. When he came to a stop, and we all got to him, he was up on his knees, and talking to us, in some pain, but doing very well for what had just happened. To give an idea of the force, his rear wheel was broken heart in half, the right saddlebag was gone, the right handlebar broken off, and the right rear crash bar bent forward about 8". His helmet had two large impact and grind marks and the vest had a good scrape on the back. It remained inflated for about two minutes. He was up and walking around very shortly thereafter and then checked out by ambulance staff and taken to a hospital for evaluation, which was all negative, very fortunately. I saw in my mirror the moment the impact occured his body and bike tumbling very violently multiple times amidst all the broken pieces. We were all convinced his gear and the vest enabled him to survive what was a very bad accident."
Rider testimony received May 16th, 2017
I want readers of this story to know that I almost did not buy the Helite vest.
I was surfing the net to see what was new and stumbled across the Helite web site by accident. I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I should buy the vest as a Father’s Day gift to myself. I looked at the price and thought it was too high.
Every year for the past 10 years there is a group of 5 or 6 of us that do a June ride for 7-8 days. My brother-in-law passed away on one of those trips, no one saw it but he wound of leaving the road and crashing into a tree just outside of Cook City. So when I bought the vest I was thinking about him and thought what is the price on your life.
Next day I went on the site again and finally decided to buy the vest thinking what price is there on your well-being , on your life. So I ordered it.
We organized our group ride for last June, 2016, staying in Canada, going from Calgary to the Yukon round trip and back. I wore it for the entire trip.
It was June 25th 2016. We were a group of 6 riders.
The trip was great. Then, being two days away from home, we were heading east on Hwy 93, about 20 miles east of Kamloops BC. We had 6 riders in a staggered formation. I normally ride in the last position however this time I was in the middle. Other than the word "duck!!" I do not remember the crash at all.
When I came too, I was in the ambulance heading to the hospital. Apparently an oncoming SUV crossed the center line, took out a minivan in front of the middle 2, which is where I was, and proceeded to bounce of the SUV as it came into me on my Goldwing.
I had my vest on. I was told that I and the bike hit the SUV on the drivers front side, and then ricocheted and slid off into a ditch. The vest prevented any core body injuries!
Other than fractures to my extremities and multiple bruises on my body, I had no other serious injuries. I was hospitalized for 4 weeks, on bed rest for 5 months.
I can only attribute that I did not have more severe core injuries to the fact that I was wearing the Helite vest. It did its job!
Since then I have told anyone that would listen about the Helite vest and have heard others order and buy the vest or full jackets. I fully endorse the product and can only say that as a rider one would be fool not to buy it if you know it is available. So now those that read this, don’t be hesitate, invest in getting a Helite vest or jacket, it will increase the chances of your survival like it did for me.
- Wilf Richter -
Rider testimony received February 7th, 2017
"Just wanted to write and let you know what a great product you have.
I ride a 2011 BMWR1200GSA and was riding to work yesterday down the same road I have for the last 20+ years. It had rained really good the night before and the road was wet, but nothing to really worry about (or so I thought). I was in the right hand lane (two lanes going my direction) and I had just moved over to the left side because there was a big Snap-On Tool Van merging onto the highway and I wanted to give him room. Just as I got past his front bumper and going about 55mph, the bike started fish-tailing right to left. I tried steering into the skid and let off the gas a little trying to calm the wobbles, but they just got bigger and bigger and on about the eight one, the bike went to the right and I was pitched out to the left, off the bike (high-side). I didn’t have any time to think what was going on; next thing I knew, I hit the highway pretty hard with the left side of my head and shoulder and was sliding down the road! I started feeling a “burning” sensation on my left thigh and rolled onto my back before coming to a stop by the side of the rode. Nothing hurt and I immediately stood up, but had a hard time moving my neck and arms! Then I realized that my Helite Vest had gone off and that was keeping my head and neck secure! I just felt the pressure all around my torso and realized it had protected my head / neck / spine / ribs / hip during the fall. Long story short, the guy in the Snap-On Tool Van stopped right behind me to block traffic and helped me pick up the bike (it had come to a stopped about 20 feet down the highway on it’s left side). I moved to to the side of the rode, gave the bike and myself the "once over” and realized that we both were in working condition! I picked up the broken wind deflector and left front turn signal, dusted myself off, gave the bike a quick look for any leaks, breaks, missing parts. I thanked the Snap-On driver for stopping and started up the bike and rode to work for a meeting (and I was only 3 minutes late!).
I can not tell you how impressed I was with the vest… I didn’t even realize it had gone off until I had stood up and tried to move! It inflated in a nanosecond and I now know why my back and ribs don’t hurt! Also, after looking at the abrasion on the left side of my helmet, I can honestly say that with out the vest and the way it secured my head and neck so quickly, I would not have been going to work in the Emergency Department, but I could have easily been one of the patients that morning! Thanks for making one outstanding piece of riding gear and I’ll be telling all my friends what piece of gear they really need to be wearing!"
Ray D, RN
Rider Testimony Received January 31st 2017
"I was traveling on Tasman Highway in Tasmania, towards Hobart. After riding for 3.5hrs I was pretty exhausted. During a corner, I wasn't paying enough attention, looking into the rear mirror for my friends behind me. Then I realised I was running wide and target fixated. That resulted in me running off the road, and low siding the bike at 80km/h. I don't know exactly when the airbag got deployed. All I know is that I tumbled for a few seconds, eventually hitting my bike and stopped. Immediately after the crash I feel quite a lot of pain in my knee and elbow, but no pain in my body, neck or head. After checking if my arms and leg were working, I unlatched my airbag, as it was really tight, and made breathing difficult, especially after being winded by the crash. Then I basically turned off my bike and got up. I did have full leather on with pads, so my knee and elbow was fine after about 10 minutes. There was scratch on my backside, between my leather jacket and pants. But yea, the part of my body that didn't feel any pain during or after the crash was the part covered by the airbag. I'm not sure if the photo shows it, but the vest has a small tear on the back. Without the airbag, this puncture probably would have been my back. Thanks to the protection gear, especially the airbag, I was fine about 15 minutes after the crash. I got to continue my trip in Tasmania, this whole incident only delayed me for about 1 and half hour.
Rider Testimony from Facebook October 2016
Hi. I've commuted with my new Helite Turtle Airbag Vest for a couple days now, and the quality and functionally (from a rider comfort standpoint) is great -- it doesn't get in my way at all. It goes on over both my heavy duty one piece riding suit (name omitted for reasons of political savvy) and my mesh jacket. It goes on in 4 clicks (including clipping into the bike), and I can attest that it is idiot (me) proof with regards to inadvertently getting off the bike without unclipping beforehand, which I do pretty much every time. I've tested that multiple times now and no accidental deployment. Lol. The potential for neck hyper-flexion or serious spinal injury has always been in the back of my mind as I commute through DC Metro traffic, and the vest helps to alleviate some of those concerns. Thanks for believing in and promoting such an essential piece of gear. I'd really love to see one on every rider. As a suggestion, maybe you can make one that is a leather vest and can somehow have patches sewn onto it to protect those burly, Harley types
Rider Testimony sent in October 11th
I purchased the Helite vest when you were at Laguna early last year and wear it every time I ride. I do have to say it looks big and bulky, but it does not get in the way while I am riding aggressively on the track. Yesterday, Saturday October 9th I had my first crash. It was a big high-side. I was thrown into the air and landed on my left shoulder and neck. The impact was violent that it knocked the wind out of me. When the track workers approached me, they thought for sure I had broken something and was surprised to see me conscious and alert. While I was in serious pain, I too was surprised that I had not damaged my shoulder or broke my clavicle. Needless to say I am very impressed with Helite vest and will continue to wear it when I ride. The vest survived the crash as well and only has a couple of scratches.
Rider Testimony sent in July 29, 2016
Rider Testimony sent in April 18th, 2016
As I was heading to the GP races, I turned into the gas station. The bike leaned more than usual and in a split second I went down. I was on my back held up by a cushion of air as I looked up to see my bike in front of me. I stood up and surveyed my situation. My head was being held steady, not bouncing on the pavement, as the air in the Helite vest was still pressurizing the front and rear tubes. Although I had slid from my side to my back I felt no pain. Two people came over asking where I hurt myself. I was not hurting as we picked up the bike. I parked it and checked my gear. Not a mark on my $600 Shoei helmet, the leathers showed a small scuff mark on the arm and the vest had a 4" square where some abrasion appeared. So I saved over $1200.00 in damage to my helmet and leathers. No pain in the upper body and neck area are due to the air tubes protecting me. After a quick stop I was off to the races, races that I travelled 1400 miles to see. The spill under normal conditions regarding gear would have meant a shut down. The vest proved a saviour, re cost savings, pain blocker and once in a life time viewing motoGP / motoAmerica races at COTA, Austin.
Other benefits wearing the fluorescent vest have been: A) drivers leave more room around me, (B) when I I am behind a vehicle alone or with a group of motorcycles, drivers pull to the right so the bike(s) could go by (C) I am more relaxed riding as there is a safety factor wearing the air vest, similar to a car driver that has air bags.
If you see a demo coming to your town, put on your regular gear and try out the vest. You will definitely realize the value of the vest. Check out a video of the vest in a fall
Rider Testimony sent in March 16th, 2016
I want to thank you for such an awesome product, The Helite Turtle Airbag vest.
I purchased the vest several months ago when it became available in Fredericksburg, Va. at Morton's Bmw cycles.I had been searching for such a product.
On 3-11-16, I found out the hard way that it actually works!
I was leaving bike week at Daytona beach Florida, headed back to Northern Va.
I was in a hurry to get on the road, did all my checks, attached myself to the tether for my airbag vest and off I went.
I went thru an area at the condo I was staying, that's used to wash cars. There was a lot of soapy water.
I thought I had cleared that area and twisted the throttle. Bad move!
The next thing that happened was a 900 plus pound Goldwing fish tailing down the road, after several fish tails I got thrown off the bike!
These were the damages.
1. Cracked and scratched full face helmet.
2. Several scratches on accessories attached to bike.
3. Foot peg jammed in my left chin (bruised up pretty good)
4. Slammed hard on the pavement
I really didn't noticed my vest had deployed, but it did. I got up at that point,and noticed the vest had worked as expected. I was so happy I had made the investment!
I feel that the impact of slamming into the pavement would have broken several ribs, and who knows what else!
I would never ride without my Helite turtle vest..
Thank you for such awesome technology.
Chris C - Virginia
"An airbag vest? Like one of those fancy things Moto-GP riders are wearing now? Or are they just for stuffy BMW riders? Well, in fact, all of the above and more!
From the Helite website: “Protecting as many people as possible from serious injuries” is their primary mission. Helite has been around since 2001, but is rather new here to the United States. Having spent a few years living and working in Europe I got accustomed to seeing airbag vests around, from scooter riders to track riders. Granted, the motorcycle culture is much more safety oriented across the pond. But this begs the question, why aren’t we (riders in the U.S.)?
After surviving a near death accident this past January out in Texas, I became a far more safety conscious rider. Granted, I have always worn gear head to toe but there is always room for improvement. In steps the Helite Airbag Vest, since I already own a fancy hi-viz Aerostich with no desire to replace it with anything else, the vest could be the perfect addition to my gear closet. Chatting with Nichole (Helite Rep) after a demonstration she gave, I presented her with an idea of loaning me a vest for a week or so as I was participating in a 24 hour Mini Moto race with a few friends. She talked it over with her boss and a few days later I had a loaner vest to destroy! I tried to give them fair warning that in a mini moto race the chances of a lowside or three are pretty high… and the vest would probably be returned with holes. For whatever reason, they didn’t have an issue with this.
Once I got my hands on the vest I instantly attached the tether to my trusty SV650 commute rat bike. A nice hook and loop design which you fasten under your saddle, simple 5 minute install on any motorcycle. The tether clips into the vest and off you go. As many of you are wondering, yes, I hopped off the bike the first time and forgot to unclip the vest. No, it didn’t explode and send me flying across the street. The mechanism requires 60lbs of force to trigger the large CO2 cartridge. That’s quite a pull, so don’t worry about forgetting to unclip. The vest itself is made of a cordura like material on the outside (think sturdy material like an Aerostich) and the inside is thick padded mesh to aid in ventilation. There are three buckles securing the vest, which are large and easy to snap even with thick fingered gloves. The icing on the cake for me is the built in Knox spine guard, protect those vertebra!
Flash forward a week or so and we are at the races. The vest fits nicely over any piece of gear, as it is easily adjustable via six velcro tabs. It had to be marginally snugged up over my leathers, compared to the frumpy frump of the Roadcrafter. It was a pleasant 103 degrees at Willow Springs International Raceway the day of our race, with the vest over my leathers I expected it to inhibit some of the airflow. I am very happy to report that it did none of the above, since the vest fits a bit loose (to allow for inflation room) the air circulates and allows your gear underneath to breath!
On my third stint out, I had a tasty lowside while diving into a corner chasing a Honda Grom. It was so quick I couldn’t react, thankfully the vest did. Leaning over on a mini moto, you are practically on the ground as is. The vest inflates within 100ms of the tether being pulled, so before I hit the ground I was protected. After coming to a complete stop, the bike and I had slid for probably 20 or so feet. The entire way I slid on my back, legs up like an awkward little turtle. I tried to jump up, but the vest was still fully inflated. My feet could not get good footing and my arms were raised off the ground. After floundering about for a few seconds I rolled over and crawled for off the track. Hopped back on the bike and rode into the pits for a tech inspection and rider change. Soon after arriving in the pits another racer and photographer came up and asked “Are you alright? That looked like it hurt!” Folks had been crashing all day and night, as this was a mini moto race. But rarely does someone come up and ask if you are ok, that must have been a good one! “This crash surely left some marks on the vest” I said to myself, but alas no visible signs of impact. Even my leathers were all scuffed up! Swapped out the used cartridge for a new one, which takes about 3 whole minutes to do with a hex key, and the vest was ready for another stint. If this isn’t a quality garment, I’m not sure what is.
I’ve been asked a few times, “Would you recommend it to a friend?” Absolutely, yes. As someone who has rather recently rolled down a desolate interstate 470 feet, I am confident that this vest would have lessened the pain and injuries I received, and the face plant in the mini
moto race could have ended badly as well. It would seem that I wreck rather often with firm vigor, and maybe I do… All the more reason to add this piece of gear to my stable.
Now the $600 dollar price tag could seem a bit steep in some people’s minds, understandably so. But this vest is completely reusable and requires no repacking of material, just a simple CO2 cartridge swap. Also, this vest is not simply for a racer/track rider, in my mind this is the perfect piece of gear for a commuter, maybe the most important piece of gear (besides helmet) as it protects and cushions your vital organs and spine. No jacket or one piece suit can provide the level of protection that this vest does.
All in all, after wearing this vest on the track, for daily commutes and hooligan rides in the mountains I forget it is even there. It has become part of my daily gear."
"On December 7, 2014, my Helite Airnest paid for itself many times over by protecting me when I went down on a freeway at close to 50 miles per hour. I was thrown from my bike, landed hard on my side, then on my back, and then slid before coming to a stop where I easily stood up (to the amazement of motorists who had stopped). As a testament to how well my Airnest Vest protected me, I immediately walked away, and the only first aid I needed was a Band-Aid on one knee. I better appreciated the force of the impact 24 hours later, when I developed 1 to 2 square feet of bruising that took 2 weeks to clear up. The majority of this bruising was in the areas not protected by the Airnest. I have since surveyed my extensive protective gear, and although every piece helped and shows evidence of some impact, the Airnest vest was instrumental in protecting the critical torso area. Most importantly, when I was checked out the next week, I had no neck or whiplash injuries. Surprisingly, the vest shows little abrasion damage despite cushioning me as I slid on my back down the freeway.
I have since spoken to a friend who has the unusual background of auto racing as well as rehabbing spinal cord injury patients. He is very impressed with the multiple ways the Airnest protects a rider, and it is very clear to him that at the very least, the Airnest saved me from significant road rash and likely saved me from additional significant injuries.
I have to say that the Airnest is the best investment I have ever made."
John Wagner, San Diego, CA
"Good news and bad- I ditched the bike and slid after clipping a car at 40MPH and triggered the jacket- which worked perfectly and I got up and shifted the wreckage myself! Not a mark on my upper body (leg got a bang but nothing broken). No stiff neck, helmet was held perfectly even though I tumbled a bit.
10 out of 10- the bystanders and police who responded couldn't believe it. (We needed the police cos I ride a GS and it killed the car which blocked the road)
The vest has a little abrasion damage to the cartridge cover flap but otherwise looks fine. "
"Last Christmas my caring wife bought me an inflatable motorcycle jacket for added protection. The cool thing is the vest fits over a normal motorcycle jacket and is virtually unnoticeable except for the lanyard that attaches to the motorcycle. I am an ex motocross racer who was forced to retire after I ripped my knee apart. However I started riding motorcycles again 8 years ago and have loved my daily commute to work and weekend rides with friends. It didn't take long to put my newest accessory to the test. Whilst commuting to work one morning a car made an illegal u-turn right in front of me, before I knew what was happening I was lying on the floor after being body slammed into the car in question. I looked down and noticed that my inflatable jacket had deployed as designed and I had minimal injuries of which I should have had several broken ribs and severe whiplash, I sustained a damaged shoulder and medium case of whiplash. I know it is an expensive bit of kit but it was worth every penny and I can't recommend it highly enough, just a pity my bike wasn't wearing one as it was a write off! Regards"
I bought the vest as opposed to a jacket for the simple reason that I have a number of jackets for summer, winter and hot weather riding and the vest would be used all year round.
9:10am on February 29th 2012 was when it paid for itself. Whilst riding on my BMW adventure to a meeting in Halifax I had an accident, which saw me run at 20mph into the back of an almost stationary car that had to brake suddenly. The result was that I was thrown forward off the bike and rolled off the car boot landing on the road looking back at the damaged bike. The motorcycle vest had inflated protecting my front, back and neck and acted as a cushion when impacting on the car, in effect I 'bounced' off his boot. As for injuries, the only ones I received was a bruise on my thigh where my leg hit one of my mirrors, a couple of grazes on my shins and a dented pride at having had such a stupid accident.
I am 6ft 3" tall and weigh in at 21 1/2 stone and so the inflatable motorcycle jacket did its job even on someone of my size. What can I say, to walk away from an accident with two grazes and one bruise is good even if the bike is written off. I dread to think of what injuries I would have received had it not been for the inflatable vest, certainly a lot more bruises and probably damaged collar bones at the very least.
All I need now is another bike and a new gas cylinder for the vest. If ever there was a prize for the best safety feature then this air vest should get it. "
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