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Thread: Helite Air Vests- what do you owner's think of the products?

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  1. #1
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Helite Air Vests- what do you owner's think of the products?

    I am pondering purchasing a Helite touring jacket with the airbag built in. LOL, while I hope most of you have not had to test the airbag in an accident, what do you owner's think of the products and the company over time? St.

  2. #2
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    BMW MOA President Reece Mullins was wearing a Helite when he encountered a deer on his RT. I think he wrote something about it on the Forums (with photos) but I can't put my finger on that right now.

    I just looked and found that BoxFlyer was wearing a Helite when he was rear-ended by a Toyota RAV 4. See the thread here: https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...Helite-Turtle2
    John Gamel - BMW MOA Consumer Liaison 2018-Present
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    MOA #153274
    "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo-via Walt Kelly

  3. #3
    I recall reading Reece Mullin's and BoxFlyer's account of their accidents and the credit given to the wearing of the helite vest with preventing injuries. These accounts were largely responsible for me obtaining helite vests for me and my wife. I found the company very professional to deal with and we got the vests, extra lanyards (for other bikes), and extra CO2 (just in case of inadvertent vest actuation). I have not crash tested either the Helite Vest or my 'Stich.

    I could not locate the post by Reece about his accident. I did find some other stuff - yikes!!!

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...le-Airbag-Vest

    https://www.bmwmoa.org/blogpost/1239...venture-Jacket

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...-Vests-in-2020

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...flatable-vests

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...iz-Vest-Review

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...cket-or-Others

  4. #4
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    I just bought a new Dainese jacket and sized it to allow an Alpinestars 5 jacket under it. It includes shoulder and upper arm protection that the Helite doesn't, nor does it require a tether to the bike.

    I have a 'stich and the Dainese, so I'm going to buy something that works with either. And based on my experience with electric jackets, the tether is a complete PITA that I always forget to unplug. My buddy set his Helite off by getting off his bike and doing exactly what I do with my electric jacket.

    I saw the Helite jacket at the Quail Lodge Motorcycle Show last year and was not impressed, hence my looking at vests more deeply.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  5. #5
    I have the Hit-Air vest very similar to the helite. I wear it all the time and have not accidently set it off getting off the bike. It takes a pretty good tug to deploy. I have stepped back several times with it hooked up and hit the end and it did not go off.
    Shawn Conver
    K4CTD
    2016 R1200GSA, 2018 Cummins 2500

  6. #6
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    My problem

    LOL, my problem is I am not of average size and weight. I cannot order jackets online and expect a fit and in a lot of cases there is not a big enough size to fit me.

    I do like the alpinestar vest with the extra shoulder padding, I question it's neck coverage such as Helite has to reduce or prevent whiplash (LOL, exactly what just happened to me in my recent accident)

    I loved my Aerostich Roadcrafter Jacket, its back pad and padding did their job along with the Cordura.

    LOL, few dealerships or brick and mortar stores stock jackets and riding gear in my size and are not interested in having an item shipped to them that may or may not fit me.

    So, it is early stages of the looking. Winter is on in my neck of the woods and I am still in pain from the accident. St.

  7. #7
    RK Ryder
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    Fortunately, I have never been in situation where my Helite needed deploying.

    Despite wearing it on every ride and having buckle up reminders beside each bike's ignition, I occasionally forget to attach the tether. Luckily once I start rolling, my routine is to check that it has been secured and occasionally have to pull over to attach the tether. If I were buying mine today, I would buy the recently introduced electronic version which is not tethered to the bike. This would eliminate the need to remember attaching the tether.

    The Helite is heavy. The weight disappears once I am on the bikes as the lower part rests on the pillion's seat. However I am now down to 5'6" (used to be 5'9.5"). If you are tall, the weight might not disappear as does mine. I have a bicycle cable lock to attach the Helite to the bike if I am going to do a walkabout (not a short trip into a gas station); for me, the weight is a too little much for that activity. (Of course I'm a short, 140+ lbs, grumpy old man, quickly approaching my 76th year.) Your physical fitness is possibly in better shape than mine and the vest's weight would not be an issue for you.

    Bought the highly reflective version which, for me was a mistake. I have key parts of it covered with black duct tape to eliminate the vest's reflection onto my GPS.

    The Helite, once deployed, can be folded back up, and with a spare cartridge on board, is operational again. I believe that some vests need to send back to the company to ready for future use.

    It is a good product to take on every ride.
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  8. #8
    The helite and hitair can both be repacked and rearmed by the user. I think all of the electronic ones have to go back and be inspected and repacked for a considerable fee. Some also have a monthly service fee, I know the KLIM does. Also you are limited by battery power. If I am out riding for several days and camping I don't want an extra electronic item to keep charged.

    I do offroad riding on my GSA and I disconnect or do not wear the vest when doing that, do not want it deploying during a fall over. But I do wear Klim gear with level 2 padding and a neck brace from Leait when I do not have the vest on.

    A lot of things to think about to get the one that is right for you.
    Shawn Conver
    K4CTD
    2016 R1200GSA, 2018 Cummins 2500

  9. #9
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsconver View Post
    The helite and hitair can both be repacked and rearmed by the user. I think all of the electronic ones have to go back and be inspected and repacked for a considerable fee. Some also have a monthly service fee, I know the KLIM does. Also you are limited by battery power. If I am out riding for several days and camping I don't want an extra electronic item to keep charged.

    I do offroad riding on my GSA and I disconnect or do not wear the vest when doing that, do not want it deploying during a fall over. But I do wear Klim gear with level 2 padding and a neck brace from Leait when I do not have the vest on.

    A lot of things to think about to get the one that is right for you.
    My friend set off his electronic vest in July at a dead stop in a parking lot in the Alps—one of those off-balance sort of things that can happen to any of us. This was a Ducati vest, which I believe was made by Dainese, and required ordering a new internal bladder at $400 which did not arrive at his dealership until sometime in October. He had the liner replaced but the vest is still not showing the correct blinky light sequence so it’s going back in for further attention. So yes, the supposed convenience of the electronic versions may work out to be not quite so convenient in the end.

    Best,
    DeVern
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST ó 1984 R80 G/S-PD ó 2010 K1300GT ó 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  10. #10
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Annie and I started wearing Helite vests when we bought them at the SLC rally in 2017. We have not had an accident to test their effectiveness other than each having a low speed tip over. In Annie's case I think she may have been injured had she not had the vest on. She was parking her F800GS and maneuvering to get it with the rear wheel towards the curb. The camber of the road was steep and when she fell she landed with the curb in the middle of her back; shoulders on the sidewalk and butt on the road. I caught it out of the corner of eye and expected to find her injured. In fact she was giggling as she struggled to get up; when the vest deploys the wearer is momentarily like a beadle on its back. People came out of the store we were in front of to help because when the vest deploys it sounds like a pistol shot.

    After wearing the vests for five years we now both feel incomplete without them. The only time I've ridden without the vest on was when on my Ural riding around the Great Falls rally grounds or in high heat while riding on forrest service roads. I would not recommend the air bag jacket over the vest. The vest offers far more flexibility in its use. It can be worn over heavy winter gear or a mesh jacket on a hot summer day. It also is easier to adjust for fluctuations in the girth of the user. I do not find the vest uncomfortable to wear, although on very hot days it does add a bit to the misery. Crossing Idaho last summer we rode in temperatures above 100f. most of the ten hour day and saw 106 for a few hours. It sucked but it would have sucked no matter what we wore.
    Last edited by akbeemer; 12-01-2022 at 02:54 PM.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  11. #11
    I was given the Helite vest for Christmas last year and I have yet to wear the thing one time. I did install the tether on my bike. Every time I think about wearing it it just seems like itís going to be a pain in the a$$ to deal with it. I am sure it would provide a margin of safety but I just canít get use to the idea of strapping myself in and out all the time. Must be a psychological problem I have.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    I bought my Turtle at the SLC rally (10%off and an extra CO2 cartridge). Since then, I've ridden exactly one time without it. I've considered leaving it at home at times, but then think about how totally stupid I would feel while healing from an injury the vest could have prevented. But then, I always wear a helmet and I always buckle my seat belt when driving, too. I guess if I knew when I would be having an accident I could leave the gear at home the rest of the time.

    Yes, it's a bit heavy to put on and off, and one more thing to deal with at a stop, but that has just become part of the routine. It goes in a pannier or top box when I park, or is cable-locked with my helmet and jacket when the luggage is full. I'm never aware of the vest while riding, and it does not seem to reduce air flow while in motion. It might be a bit warmer at a stop - it's hard to tell.

    It's gone off once, when I let my speed drop to zero while making a U-turn and dropped the bike. I was not aware that it had inflated until I noticed it was a little hard to breathe while lifting the bike back up. It all happened pretty quick, but I think I rolled away from the bike when it went down, pulling the tether. I popped my mirror back on, installed the spare cartridge, went on my way. $45 bought two new cartridges.

    I picked the Turtle because it is well-made, effective, and requires little maintenance. It does not require expensive visits to Europe for renewal or re-charging. The vest is more practical for me because I have different jackets for different weather and I can wear the vest with them all.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 54571 View Post
    I was given the Helite vest for Christmas last year and I have yet to wear the thing one time. I did install the tether on my bike. Every time I think about wearing it it just seems like it’s going to be a pain in the a$$ to deal with it. I am sure it would provide a margin of safety but I just can’t get use to the idea of strapping myself in and out all the time. Must be a psychological problem I have.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    I've been contemplating a Warm and Safe heated liner to wear under my Kilimanjaro jacket. Seems like a great idea. I am resistant to being plugged-in (tethered) to the bike. I can foresee potential disasters. Must be a psychological problem I have.
    Last edited by craydds; 12-19-2022 at 05:49 PM.
    Ray Puckett, MOA #225597
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    '74 R90/6. '75 R90S. '76 R90S. 2019 R1250RT.
    Too many dirt bikes.

  14. #14
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craydds View Post
    I've been contemplating a Gerbring or Warm and Safe heated liner to wear under my Kilimanjaro jacket. Seems like a great idea. I am resistant to being plugged-in (tethered) to the bike. I can foresee potential disasters. Must be a psychological problem I have.
    Modern heated gear uses coax connectors that pull apart quite easily and would not bind you to the bike in the event of something unexpected. On my GS, I have to remind myself to leave sufficient slack so I can stand on the pegs without unplugging the electrics, and on those occasions Iíve forgotten to unplug before heading off to a restroom thereís only an almost unnoticeable tug as the cable disconnects.

    Best,
    DeVern
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST ó 1984 R80 G/S-PD ó 2010 K1300GT ó 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  15. #15
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    I have a hellite jacket, purchased a year ago, worn on every ride till zipper gave out. Sent back to service center in Reno. Took a month but when it came back they had installed a very heavy duty zipper instead of the el cheapo that came on jacket
    I consider it a good investment
    Jim

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