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The tax office owes me a refund so I'm thinking about an air vest. I'm considering the Helite Turtle 2 on the basis of:

 

Cost, under £500 which is within budget.

Reviews say it is effective in use, including neck support.

Simple to put on and use, activated by a lanyard so no batteries to keep charged.

Easy and cheap to replace the gas cylinder. Some types need to be sent back to the manufacturer to refill.

Available in black or Hi Viz.

 

Just wondered if anyone has experience of air vests and has anything to suggest. 

 

Thanks

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I got one about three years ago. I thought it could be a lifesaver if I ever came off on one of the country roads on my commute home - I'd die of hyperthermia before anyone else came along and saw me in the hedge. After reading around, I decided on the Helite Turtle 2 - a black one - for the same reasons you've said. I also wanted something that I could wear with any jacket, not an integrated thingy. Of course now I don't commute any more, so the need has gone, but I've got in the habit of using it. 

 

I'll do the negatives first: 

It's heavy, and it's a bit stiff and bulky. Off the bike, I prefer not to have it on. When I'm not riding, it's another heavy piece of kit to hang somewhere. On the bike, though, I don't seem to notice it's there. Secondly, it looks a bit crap; I guess I'm vain, but it's a great way of ruining the look of a leather jacket. Last thing, it is super-adjustable for size, and I reckon it should be fitted by someone who knows what they're doing, as it's important to set it tight enough to immobilise your head when it expands, but not so tight it cracks a rib. If you buy from Sportsbikeshop, like me, you're left reading their instructions and hoping you've hit that happy medium.

 

Now the positives:

It's well made: decent cordura, solid stitching. I use it sometimes with a backpack; they say just to make sure the pack is loose, to give the vest room to inflate. You need to attach it to a lanyard that ties to the bike's frame, but you can buy extra lanyards to make it easier with multiple bikes. I've forgotten to unclip myself once or twice, and it hasn't fired. But when I did come off a couple of days ago, one of the first things I was aware of was that it had inflated and had me in a bear hug. As a piece of PPE, I think it's great.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd just like to flag up a warning for anyone looking at the cheap chinese versions on ebay.

Loads of companies selling airbags with similar names and claiming CE approved.   

 

I just looked up the certification for one of them - turns out that it is rated as a lifejacket/floatation device to assist if you fall into the sea.

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For £499 you can get a new Rst one piece race suit with and in&motion airbag built in. Looks nicer. Though you do have to pay £12pcm or £399 one off for the software licence. 

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My mate has the RST, as geofferz has mentioned above.  Great jacket, good fit, comfortable and apparently nice in the warm weather with all the vents open.  Down side is you have to subscribe yearly to in&motion,  the basic package only activates the airbag following a head on collision.  If you want it to detect and activate for low and high sides you have to purchase the track day subscription.  Another down side is, when you take the liner out, it's no longer waterproof and you need to carry a waterproof outer jacket.  The jacket seems pretty robust though,  he loves it and there's no lanyards to worry about,  you do have to charge the battery though.

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I have the Alpinestar TechAir 5. No subscription and just over £500. You need to make sure you have room under your jacket for it to expand. I cannot say how effective it is as I haven't crashed (yet).

 

No tether but expensive if you crash as it has to go back to Alpinestars.

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On 26/06/2021 at 22:39, bonio said:

I use it sometimes with a backpack; they say just to make sure the pack is loose, to give the vest room to inflate. 

 

Interesting - the very reason why I haven't purchased one, due to the fact I wear a Kriega Rucksack when commuting, would probably wear when touring and when not commuting. I would have one (once I can afford one)    

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I've had the original one since 2018, I had one demonstrated on my at motorcycle live and I was impressed. It's like wearing a seatbelt in the car it just becomes routine to connect and disconnect.

 

 

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I've worn the Helite vest for a few rides now. I have to say it more comfortable than I expected and I haven't even noticed it's there until I forget to undo it before getting off. Then you feel the tug of the cord.

 

There's something quite good about knowing it's there in case the worst happens. 

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2 hours ago, Mississippi Bullfrog said:

I've worn the Helite vest for a few rides now. I have to say it more comfortable than I expected and I haven't even noticed it's there until I forget to undo it before getting off. Then you feel the tug of the cord.

 

There's something quite good about knowing it's there in case the worst happens. 

What's it like when riding in the warm weather, can you get air to your torso. When its warm I usually ride in a mesh jacket, but when I have a rucksack on my back it restricts the airflow. 

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32 minutes ago, Pie man said:

What's it like when riding in the warm weather, can you get air to your torso. When its warm I usually ride in a mesh jacket, but when I have a rucksack on my back it restricts the airflow. 

Being a vest the front is open so when moving I was fine yesterday when it was boiling hot. The back has an armour pad which seems to shape it so it doesn't cling to your back. 

 

It was about 25 yesterday so I had the vents in my jacket open and the air got through fine.

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