Essential in MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 since 2018, everything suggests that, in the near future, airbags recommended for off-track motorcycle riding will also be available. (Motorcycle airbags are a vital safety element)An increasing number of motorcyclists regularly use equipment equipped with airbag technology, and the number of brands working to develop this exciting system continues to grow. Whether incorporated into a suit, jacket, or leather vest, the variety on the market is growing.The first airbag systems were developed for exclusive use in electric circuits and their prices were very high, but little by little they have been evolving and becoming simpler, allowing them to be used every day as well and without the need to spend an exorbitant amount of money on them. For these reasons, there have been a lot of talks lately about motorcycle airbags, and although there is still a long way to go for the use of this technology to become widespread, several organizations are working on it to promote its use.In fact, several motorcyclists’ associations around the world have reported that, although it is not mandatory, it is worth promoting the use of airbags among motorcyclists. Also in Spain, the platform VIVE LA MOTO started a few months ago the campaign #PonteUnAirbag with a video in which some MotoGP riders recommended the use of airbags outside the circuits. (Motorcycle airbags are a vital safety element)
How do airbags work?
Although one version of the Honda GL1800 Gold has been equipped with an airbag system as standard equipment and some helmets also have a small airbag to protect the wearer’s neck area, when The term “airbag” for motorcyclists refers to a “bag” in the form of a jacket that inflates in the event of a fall or crash and primarily protects the neck, shoulders, chest, and back. This technology has been developed in MotoGP for several decades and must now be used by riders in all three categories.Logically this type of airbag is not a definitive element and the range of its protection depends a lot on the type of fall and the speed at which it occurs, but it has been proven that the reduction of the energy received in an impact can be reduced by up to 90 percent, a significant percentage that could prevent many injuries and also save lives. According to data offered during the presentation of the #PonteUnAirbag campaign mentioned above, deaths in motorcycle accidents due to thoracic trauma account for 35 percent of the total, so the degree of protection offered by an airbag can be comparable to that of a helmet in the event of an accident.As a rule, in addition to the “bag” that inflates, such a device also includes an activation system with GPS, accelerometer, and gyroscope, together with the necessary battery and the inflation mechanism, which can be equipped with one or even two compressed air cylinders. The activation system can be mechanical or electronic. The former is attached to the motorcycle by means of a belt and is activated when detached from it. The second is independent and has a series of sensors that detect sudden changes in the rider’s position. Both activate a striker that pierces the compressed air bottle, which is capable of inflating the entire “bag” in about 25 milliseconds (0.025 seconds). Then, in the event of an impact, the energy generated is distributed throughout the vest, reducing the possibility of trauma. For example, Dainese, a pioneering firm that has been working in this field for more than 25 years, warns that the protection that its Smart Jacket can offer in the back area is similar to that of seven back protectors combined.Once the airbag has inflated in an accident, it automatically loses pressure after a few seconds. It will then need to be taken to the manufacturer for replacement of the “bag” and air bottle, as well as repair of other damage if any.
How much does an airbag cost?
About the prices of motorcycle airbags, it depends a lot on the type and brand. In general, vests – which can be worn over or under the jacket – range from 400 to 600 euros. In the case of opting for a jacket or a leather suit, the above-mentioned amount will have to be added to what they usually cost. A leather or Cordura jacket (with an airbag) can cost between 1,500 and 2,000 euros. In the case of opting for a motorcycle suit with an airbag, the addition can even exceed 1,000 euros as it has a more sophisticated technology. Hence, the price of a good suit with an airbag can be close to 3,000 euros. Text Credits: Box Repsol