The Best Motorcycle Airbag Vests & Jackets – Tethered or Technical?

Personal Airbag Vests and Jackets - Making an impact, in a good way

Personal airbag vests and jackets are probably more popular than you realise. These come in a range of styles and options. They can be something as simple that fits over your regular jacket, or they can look and feel exactly like a regular riding jacket. 

In this article, we look at how the different personal airbag systems work, and answer the most common questions riders have. 


Click on the link below to take you to the answer of your most pressing question, or keep scroll to read the entire article.

Is it worth getting a motorcycle airbag vest?

Investing in a motorcycle airbag vest is highly recommended for both new and experienced riders. These vests and jackets can greatly improve the chances of survival and reduce injuries in the event of an accident.

Airbag technology has been used by motorcycle police and racers for decades, and is now widely available for everyday street riders.

What the Statistics are Saying

The World Health Organisations latest report on the Global Status on Road Safety, highlights that the number of annual road traffic deaths worldwide reached 1.35 million.

Road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of people aged between 5 to 29 years old. 28 percent of these deaths are of motorcyclists. 

You only need to come off the one time, to be glad you are wearing either a full airbag jacket or vest.

If you are a safety conscious rider, or have kids or a partner who regularly rides, then airbag vests are a personal protection item that's worth the investment.

How do Tethered Airbags work?

Modern motorcycle airbag vests and jackets provide a balance of safety, comfort, and style. These vests are lightweight and designed to fit comfortably over your clothing. They are equipped with high-speed airbag deployment systems that are activated when the rider and motorcycle become separated during an accident.

The system is triggered by a coiled wire lanyard that is attached to a point on the motorcycle and connected to the chest area of the vest via a quick release mechanism. The airbag is inflated by an inert gas when the key is pulled from the gas release system.

Helite, Hit-Air and Moto Air use this system in their vests, jackets and riding suits.

in&Motion Motorcycle Airbag System

What's protected with Tethered systems?

A tethered airbag vest or jacket provides protection for the spine and neck during a fall by acting as a body splint. This helps to immobilize these areas and greatly reduces the risk of spinal cord injury.

The airbag inflates before the rider hits the ground, providing impact protection for the back, neck, and chest. Additionally, the neck is kept aligned to prevent whiplash and further reduce the risk of severe spinal injury.

Helite Adventure Airbag Jacket in Black

The key box in an airbag vest or jacket serves as a chest protector, ensuring that the rider is not injured by the airbag. The design of the connector allows the airbag to activate from any angle or position. After a few seconds, the release valve begins to gradually release the gas, and the vest or jacket typically takes between 3 to 5 minutes to deflate.

How do airbag vests using advanced technology work? 

Brands such as Dainese, Alphinestars, Klim, and Ixon rely on sensors to monitor the rider's position and detect when the rider has come off the bike. These vests do not require a tether to the motorcycle. For example, Klim and Ixon offer a vest that can be worn under a jacket or outer vest. Dainese and Alpinestars, on the other hand, offer jackets, vests, and full riding suits with integrated airbags.

Brands like Dainese, Alpinestars, Klim and Ixon use a deployment system that does not require the rider to be tethered to the motorcycle. This system relies on technology and sensors to monitor the rider's position and detect when they have come off the bike. Klim and Ixon offer a vest that can be worn under a jacket or outer vest, while Dainese and Alpinestars offer jackets, vests, and full riding suits with integrated airbags.

Dainese Motorcycle D-Air Airbag Protection

What sets tethered vests and jackets apart?

In terms of protection, there is no difference between the two. Both the vest and jacket feature the same shape of airbag, providing equivalent coverage.

When choosing between a vest and a jacket, consider whether you want to replace your current gear or wear the airbag vest over it. Wearing an airbag vest over a traditional jacket can prevent the jacket from riding up or being removed, exposing skin during an accident.

Airbag vests come in a variety of styles to suit different riders' preferences. Some riders prefer high visibility and reflective stripes for increased visibility in traffic, while others want a jacket that looks like a traditional motorcycle jacket.

There are also vests that are designed for different weather conditions, such as waterproof or rain-proof models. Additionally, some vests have removable winter liners, and other available options include a separate waterproof lining and chest and back protectors.

Helite Adventure Airbag Jacket

Tethered Airbags - Frequently asked questions

Will I be dragged along during a fall?

The wired cord separates completely from the jacket - you will not be dragged with a bike or horse in the event of an accident.

Will it accidently go off if I forget to unclip myself?

The airbag won't go off accidentally if you forget to unclip yourself as you're getting off. I

f you do forget to untether, you'll feel a reasonably strong tug to remind you to disconnect the coiled wire. 

It takes a reasonably strong force of around 66 pound (approximately 30 kg) to release the key and deploy the airbag.

Can the vest/jacket be reused after being deployed?

These are designed to be used more than once if required.

As long as there's no damage to the air bags, the fabric or supports, and the safety mechanism remains intact, you can start to use it again as soon as you replace the CO2 cartridge.

Can my pillion rider also wear one?

These are safe for passengers to wear.

Just make sure there is minimal slack between the tether point and the jacket.

Can I wear a raincoat or backpack?

You can wear a loose fitting rain protection. The same goes for a backpack.

It will be ok as long as it's not tight and has room for the airbag to expand into. 

How does the Reflective Black vest material work?

Some vests are made with reflective Lumidex material.

This is black material that is very bright and reflective at night.

During the day, it blends with normal riding gear and just looks black so it doesn't stand out.

Video - Man says wearing an Airbag Vest saved his life

Which are the best airbag jackets currently available?

Best Tethered Motorcycle Airbags

Two of the top tethered airbag vests and jackets on the market are the Helite and the Hit Air range. Both manufacturers offer a variety of options, with differences in materials, colors, and features. The best choice depends on the individual rider's preferences and needs.

Both Helite and Hit Air offer vests and jackets in different materials, including leather and high-visibility options.

#1 - Helite - Built in Armor

Helite Leather Jacket - Black - Front

Helite airbag vests and jackets are premium, high-quality products that come in a wide range of styles to suit different activities and rider preferences.

Many of these vests and jackets feature built-in armor, making them heavier and warmer, which can be beneficial or detrimental depending on the climate.

Additionally, many Helite vests and jackets have a removable back protector, which not only provides extra protection for the rider, but also protects the air channels within the jacket in the event of an accident.

Click the button below to see the full range of Helite jackets and vests at RevZilla or click on the image below to read our post for more information.

Click here to read about the Helite jackets in more detail.

#2 - Hit-Air - A good all rounder

Hit Air produces vests and jackets that are tailored to different activities and rider preferences. They offer models designed specifically for sport, touring, and city commuting on a motorcycle. The company offers a range of options to suit different riders' preferences, including high visibility and reflective stripes, as well as more traditional-looking motorcycle jackets.

Hit Air Airbag Motorcycle Vest MV6
Hit Air Airbag Vest MLV-P

The things we liked:

  • Additional plates are available as optional extras
  • Covers less body area when not deployed in comparison to others
  • A large range of jackets and vests are available to suit different activities

#3 - Moto-Air - Airbag One

MotoAir L-300 Motorcycle Airbag Leather Jacket
MotoAir Air Bag Vest Hi-Viz
MotoAir R-600 Motorcycle Airbag Jacket

MotoAir have a range of jackets and vests, although these are hard to source at the moment. 

The Airbag One Motorcycle Vest is affordable protection for a range of riders. Weighing only 3 pounds (1.3 kilos) it's lightweight and offers good protection for the neck, chest, spine, and obliques, in any activity, any weather, all year round.

Read more about the range and check sizing charts for MotoAir vests and jackets here.

Best Smart Technology Airbag Vests

#1 - Klim Ai-1 Smart Airbag Protection

Klim Ai-1 Smart Technology for Motorcycle Rider Protection

Klim have partnered with In&Motion to develop their airbag vest that is worn under a regular riding jacket.

This vest requires an on-going subscription but being as little as $12 per month, I think this is worth it for the ongoing support, algorithm updates and lifetime warranty that this provides.

Click here to read more about the Klim Smart Protection System.

#2 - Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 System

Tech-Air 5 designed to be worn under virtually any jacket.

In addition to the chest, ribs and full back, the Tech-Air 5 system system includes the shoulders, which is critical in motorcycling accidents. 

Alpinestars algorithm has been developed by using MotoGP race data and data from over 2,000 lab-simulated crash scenarios determine when and how the system deploys. The Tech-Air 5 System has six integrated sensors (3 gyroscopes and 3 accelerometers) that continuously monitor the rider’s position. 

Alpinestars Tech Air 5 System
Alpinestars Tech Air 5 airbag protection

The airbag has a maximum inflation time of up to 40ms (or less, depending on vest size). The impact absorption while wearing the airbag results in a decrease of impact force by up to 95% compared to a passive chest or back protector.

Inflation time is quick enough to deploy the airbag before the rider's first impact with an obstacle. In addition, the vest will protect stationary riders in the event of a rear-end collision.

The airbag has a battery life of around 30 hours of riding time on a single charge. The LED display shows the system's status directly on the jacket. A a micro USB charger is included for quick recharging.

Alpinestars Tech-Air Airbag Vest under Alphinestars Motorcycle Jacket

The Tech-Air 5 system has Bluetooth connectivity to pair with the Tech-Air App, which uses the rider’s phone to display the system’s operational status, battery status and provide detailed analysis of a ride. Firmware updates are also provided through the Tech-Air App.

Alpinestars Tech Air 5

3.6/5 - (254 votes)

About the Author, Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an avid motorbike rider and has been riding since his early teens. He enjoys spending most of his spare time combining riding his motorcycle with hiking and exploring new places.

Author Web Link

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  • Hello,

    You claimed, “These can also detect when a rider is about to be impacted from behind while stationery.”, for the electronic airbag vests. My question is, don’t they all only deploy within msecs of being struck or thrown off? Not “when a rider is about to be impacted from behind while stationary”.

    I’d like to know for sure because I’m currently shopping for an air bag vests and this would totally be a deal maker. I just couldn’t find anything from any manufacture that says their product could deploy when you are “about to” get hit from behind.

    • Hi Roberto,
      Dainese claims that their Algorithm will detect low-sides, high-sides, and rear-end collisions, even when stopped, eg, a rear-end collision at a stoplight. It does all happen within milliseconds. You’ll find this information on the Dainese review pages of Revzilla. You can see the range of Dainese airbag jackets at Revzilla here:

  • What a load of rubbish
    U never mentioned all the other brands that do much better and more intelligent systems

    • Hi Darren, I think you are being a little harsh on us. We do try to give our readers the best and latest info we possibly can.

      Our site is relatively new and to date, most of our visitors have been from the US. For this reason, we have been reviewing what is readily available to US residents. More recently we are seeing a shift in our visitors to include many from the UK and EU so we are trying to source information that covers brands that are available to all of our audience.

      To respond to all of your questions:

      RST appears to be a UK company only and not available in the US and other countries?

      Ixon UK uses the same technology from In&Motion in their vests as Klim. Ixon is available in the UK, and Klim is the US alternative. We have a review of the In&Motion technology and will be including the Ixon brand very soon.

      We’re in the process of looking for a US and EU alternative to Furygan as they appear to be only available in the UK?

      Dainese is offering 60% off the current price. Of course, the COVID-19 problem and any Italian product will not be reflected correctly at this point in time I am sure. Readers may wish to check them out at their web site. I have mentioned them many times in the past including in the comments below.

      We hope to include a review of Alpinestars and their technology in the near future.

      Held is a German brand that trust Helite for the development and manufacturing of their motorcycle rider airbags. In other words, these are based on Helite products. The last born of this collaboration between Helite and Held is the Touring Jacket Carese. Helite’s know-how is used for developing airbag compatible jackets and manufacturing the airbag part of the Touring airbag jacket. You can read all about Helite on our site here:

      The current economic climate is making it difficult for everyone including us, as we only have limited resources but we are continually updating all of our posts on all products to reflect availability wherever possible.


        • Thank you very much for your feedback Pef. This is a very interesting smart protection system.

          We’re currently working on updating our reviews which will include this technology. We have recently added a post on the Klim brand vest which uses the In&Motion technology and will be including IXON, which also uses this smart protection system and is available for our UK visitors shortly.

  • Isn’t it safe to say that you are not going to hit road furniture on a race track so, their data is irrelevant, making the cost of their equipment laughable?
    Dainese wants you to send off your vest, once activated, for it to have the airbag system fully replaced, at a cost, wait for it…………£250.
    Whilst you either find another form of transport, buy another as a spare, or don’t ride again until it has been returned.
    I have a spinal cord injury C4-6 incomplete and riding in a Helite, is going to give me a bit more reassurance, should another hit-and-run driver takes me out.
    The only Dainese garment that takes into account my spinal cord injury is their gloves.
    I ride in Rukka gear, Schuberth helmet, and Daytona boots(one size larger than the other).
    If you are aware of Syringomyelia and its effects, you will understand why conventional gear doesn’t fit and why motorcycle clothing manufacturers have been reluctant to design me gear that fits.
    With the Helite, I have a garment that fits my criteria perfectly. It takes six weeks to get my wheelchair repaired (He’s only disabled and going nowhere so, he can wait!)

    • Thanks for the feedback.

      We are expanding these reviews and we hope to include Alpinestars in the near future.
      The current economic climate because of the Pandemic, makes it difficult for us at the moment.

      They certainly have some very interesting gear.

      Here is our Alpinestars link to amazon:


  • I am quite surprised by the lack of information in this article: since 2018, electronical airbag are much more accessible, efficient and sold than the “old fashionned” systems you are mentionning. By instance: Inemotion or Dainese.

    • Hi Stingray,

      Please have a look at this comment I made recently on June 30, 2019. Yes, we have been checking for the best available products and value for our readers.

      It looks like things have changed dramatically since I answered that comment, as it appears that the price has come down dramatically from the $4600USD it was back then, however, Dainese is offering 60% off the current price. The COVID-19 problem and any Italian product will not be reflected correctly at this point in time I am sure. Readers may wish to check them out.

      We’re continually adding to our reviews, and will be including the technology used by Alphinestars and Dainese soon, as well as Klim and Ixon who use In&Emotion technology. Bare with us.


  • Ever heard of jackets and vests that are NOT connected to the bike?

    Dainese for example, the smart jacket comes out July.

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for the heads up. Yes, checked them out. An Italian company with what appears to be a very nice jacket. However, the price goes all the way up to 4600USD for the top of the range from what I could see. They state “All the safety of the Dainese airbag system used in MotoGP™ and developed in more than 25 years of research on the road and track is now encapsulated in a convenient vest that fits any road situation”. OK sounds good but at a price of course. Uses Gyros, and sensors to trigger the device. They don’t have them on Amazon yet, and after an extensive search, I find there are currently no other affiliates. We will keep an eye on them for the future.


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