Lee’s talk this time was to update us on new developments as well as to review what Helite airbags can do for the wearer.
Helite is a French company established in 2002 and is very well known all over Europe and worldwide now for Body Trauma protection being used by many of the emergency service motorcyclists and is mandatory in national cross country riding.
Air Vests is the UK distributor of Helite since 2012.
Over the last few years the public sector has started using these air vests and they are now being worn by eleven police forces, the whole of the London Ambulance Service, Cheshire Fire Brigade and a number of Blood Bikers who receive an extra discount. Since 2018 it is compulsory to wear an airbag in MotoGP.
Every year, Air Vests has a new marketing strap line – for 2019, the line is “no longer in the minority” reflecting the increase in popularity of wearin an airvest.
The “turtle” vest is worn over the top of the usual motorcycle jacket, and they are designed to take account of the back protection plates in some jackets. They come High Viz or black and are size adjustable. It is important that the correct size is worn as the inflated jacket protects vital organs, kidneys, spine, neck, collarbone, heart, ribs, liver and cocyx area. The Mk2 turtle vest hides the CO2 cannister from view as well as incorporating other developments such as a soft collar.
Other vests are integrated into a range of
jackets; there are tourer jackets, leather jackets and a leather vest for those Harley riders!
The airvest is attached to the motorbike frame by a lanyard which discharges the CO2 canister after 30/35kg pull so it will not inflate if you forget to unclip before dismounting. We were given a demonstration of the inflation and it is extremely impressive, being completely inflated within 100 milliseconds, it then gently deflates.
Vests have to be serviced every 2 years at a cost of £55.
The vest is re-usable and we were given a demonstration on replacing the canister for future use. The used canister is to be disposed of as it is not re-useable. A replacement cannister costs £20.
Prices start from around £525 for a standard Turtle Mk2 vest to £800 for a leather jacket with the vest built in. RoADAR members are given a 10% discount, plus a further 5% discount on the night which was taken advantage of by several members of the audience!
Thanks again Lee for an interesting talk.