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gordiet

Helite airbag vest

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gordiet

Took the plunge and purchased a Helite inflatable air bag vest a few months ago and after wearing it a half dozen times I’m glad I did.

it is a bit heavy at first but I don’t noticed it now. The vest is proven to provide a lot of protection. I’ve been riding a long time and I know what it feels like to go flying off a scooter and it ain’t no fun, especially when you land! And the best part is, it made my wife happy.

 GT 

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Spokane2303

I've been wearing a Hi-viz yellow Hit-Air vest for over a year now. At first I was conscious of how it looked. Now it is the same as just putting on my helmet and gloves, something Indo every time I ride. 

 

Mine uses the coiled leash connection to the bike to deploy.  A couple of times, when I first started wearing it, I forgot to unleash it. No problems or accidental inflations!  The leash just tugged me back as I started to walk away. It takes something like 65 lbs of Force to trigger a deployment of the co2 cartridge. That is a lot of pull; but, nothing at all if your body becomes a projectile in an accident.  

 

All my riding buddies have have looked at and tried the vest on over the last year.  Only thing holding them back is the $$$$$ cost. I was fortunate to find mine used with no wear or deployments for 1/3 cost of new.  If I lost it now, I'd actually buy a new one as I've seen how much protection they offer a rider when deployed. I watched a fellow rider wearing a Hit vest high side his bike  and walk away from an accident that should have, in the very least, put him in the hospital.

His bike was ruined, his helmet was ruined, his Kevlar lined jeans were ripped and his gloves and boots took a beating. The deployed vest protected his upper body, stabilized his neck and protected his tail bone. 

 

Everything, including the vest, was replaced. He was very sore but  unscathed. 

 

I'm a believer!

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garr2

I have been wearing a Helite vest for a few years and it's now part of my ATGATT habit.

I hope I never have to use it but felt the need to go beyond just hope.

A friend - a very experienced rider who has  a Helite -  was glad he did when he found himself in second gear rather than first while negotiating a steep uphill cambered hairpin.

Even high siding at low speed the vest was inflated before he hit the road. Job done.

 

Ian

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lkraus

My Helite is unnoticable while riding, but it's a pain when stopped. It's heavy. It should not be folded so it cannot be stored in pannier or top box. It has to be cable locked to the bike at most stops. It should be kept out of sunlight to preserve the Hi-Viz so I either turn my jacket/vest inside out or use my Nelson-Rigg half cover. 

I don't ride without it simply because I would feel very stupid if I crashed while it was hanging in the closet at home, but sometimes I hate the addition to the ritual I now have to go through to ride.

 
Mesh Overpants
 three zippers, two velcro strips, two snaps, belt buckle
 
Boots
 4 zippers, four velcro tabs, arrange pant leg over or inside
 
Mesh Jacket
 one zipper, two velcro strips, one snap
or
Older Kilimanjaro Jacket
 one zipper, six snaps, three velcro strips, one waist buckle 
 (a venting change can add five zippers, stopped counting at 22 velcro strips)

 (Add more fasteners to both jackets for wind/waterproof  or fleece liners)

 

Helmet   
 Ear plugs, buckle, chinbar latch
 
Helite Turtle
 Four buckles
 
Gloves 
 Arrange cuff overlap, two to four velcro strips
 
My wife wonders sometimes about the long delay between hearing "I'll be back" and the engine start...

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Endobob

Larry, I know not a funny matter - but your routine getting ready to ride sure made me think of mine and made me laugh.    I road with a Hit-Air inflatable vest for many years but had it stolen at a time I had slowed down my riding some and never replaced it.  The posting here has made me start thinking again about purchasing another vest.   No question they work! :thumbsup:

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Hotrod

So stupid question..... 

 

Is the vest worn over your riding jacket or instead of a riding jacket?

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garr2

Hotrod,

The vest (either hi-viz or black) is worn over your riding jacket which means it can come with you when you move from a summer jacket to your winter one. Once I was convinced that Helite would become part of my ATGATT routine and my old summer jacket needed replacing I bought their vented mesh jacket which has the airbag built in. I find it comfortable enough down to 15C/60F.  If I hadn't recently bought a top shelf BMW winter jacket I would seriously consider getting their Touring Adventure jacket. The advantage of getting their jackets rather than the vest is only one garment to put on/hang up/put in a pannier.


Ian

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Mike

I wanted to share a recent experience. My son and I recently got Helite vests and wore them to the Unrally in Lake George. On our last full day in Lake George, we took a ride to Heid's BMW. As my son was pulling in, a rider on a Harley rear-ended him at 30-40 mph. My son was thrown forward by the impact and did a chest/face plant into the pavement. The Helite inflated instantly when he was tossed from the bike, and despite an impact and subsequent trajectory that could have been tragic, he was completely uninjured.

I don't know if the Helite saved his life, but, in conjunction with a full suite of gear, I'm convinced it at least saved him from serious injury. You do pay a price in terms of a bit of weight and perhaps a bit less air flow, but it's a highly effective piece of safety gear. I'm a forever fan.

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Sirby

I have had my Helite Turtle air vest for a couple of years.  I have had two deployments of it.  First was on a dual sport ride , forest service road, running downhill with rocks and ruts.  Aboard my G650GS Sertao, I took a wrong approach to a deep rut and went down over the bars.  The vest popped before I hit the dirt and I suffered no injuries except to my ego. 

The second get-off was at an uphill left turn from a stop sign, when the rear brake master cylinder had unknowingly stuck and released suddenly when I tried to engage and throttle away from the stop.  The sudden power to the rear wheel in a lean spun the Yamaha FJR1300 around violently, tossing me off.  The bike landed on the frame slider and I got up without a scratch or a bruise. The Turtle inflated in a micro second but I hardly impacted the ground.  The vest survived both get-offs without visible damage.

I know what a serious high side is like, having been impacted by a four point buck from the eight o'clock position doing 55 mph on a deserted highway at 0700 hrs. Resulting in a broken collar bone and a totaled F650 Dakar.  Full ATGATT saved me that day and inspired me to invest in the HeLite air vest. Yeah, it's a bit extra to haul around but I feel much safer with it.  No rider is immune from a deer strike in deer country, I don't care how much experience you have riding.  Those furry rascals can surprise anyone.

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Carlisja

If you are considering purchasing one of these vests and a 10% discount would get you off the fence, try using the discount code MotoPro10.  I have been using one now for three years.  

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realshelby

After Mikes Sons incident I got a new Helite Turtlebak II. Happy to say it has not been deployed. 

 

Also happy to say it almost disappears when wearing it. Weight not an issue. Don't really think it is much hotter with than without, and I do have some heat here. Only "irritant" is that the collar tends to catch on my Sena bracket. I am going to adjust the position of the bracket to see if I can prevent that. 

 

I have forgotten to attach it a couple times. Since then I have added the small nylon female tether holder to my left handlebar. Unplug from the vest and plug into the bar mounted holder. Easy to see that you forgot it that way. Seems to work better than what I was doing. 

 

Since it covers so far down your backside, I don't bother to attach the zipper of my jacket to my pants. This alone almost equals the hassle factor of clipping into the vest ( three buckles on the vest and one for the tether ). Since you remove the back protector out of your riding jacket, it actually becomes more comfortable to wear. 

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LittleBriar

I have found my Turtle actually provides some nice core support when I ride. Especially helpful as a back support device when I cinch it down tightly. The extra weight disappears once you get rolling.

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lkraus
57 minutes ago, LittleBriar said:

I have found my Turtle actually provides some nice core support when I ride. Especially helpful as a back support device when I cinch it down tightly. The extra weight disappears once you get rolling.

"Cinching it down tightly" may be dangerous if the vest inflates.  If the vest is too tight,  you may restrict the inflation and/or be unable to breathe.  From the demonstrations I've seen at the MOA Rally,  you should be able to insert the width of both fists under the vest with your thumbs and index fingers on your chest. Even with this amount of slack, the demo volunteer was having some difficulty breathing when they triggered the vest.

 

Looking at the online Turtle User Guide, and their official videos, I do not see any mention at all of the chest strap adjustments. I've sent Helite an email to ask for clarification and will report back when I get a response.

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LittleBriar
5 hours ago, lkraus said:

"Cinching it down tightly" may be dangerous if the vest inflates.  If the vest is too tight,  you may restrict the inflation and/or be unable to breathe.  From the demonstrations I've seen at the MOA Rally,  you should be able to insert the width of both fists under the vest with your thumbs and index fingers on your chest. Even with this amount of slack, the demo volunteer was having some difficulty breathing when they triggered the vest.

 

Looking at the online Turtle User Guide, and their official videos, I do not see any mention at all of the chest strap adjustments. I've sent Helite an email to ask for clarification and will report back when I get a response.

Good point! I await your report back. Thanks for that.

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Bernie
10 hours ago, Carlisja said:

If you are considering purchasing one of these vests and a 10% discount would get you off the fence, try using the discount code MotoPro10.  I have been using one now for three years.  

 

At which retailer did you use this code?

Also do you measure your self with your riding gear on or off?

Thanks.

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Carlisja
18 minutes ago, Bernie said:

 

At which retailer did you use this code?

Also do you measure your self with your riding gear on or off?

Thanks.

 

This code is for direct purchase from Helite.  https://helitemoto.com/

 

i am 6 feet tall and weigh 185 pounds.   I wear a large.   Measure with your gear on the vests are very adjustable.  My son could wear a medium at 5’11 and 160 pounds but he makes do with a large. 

 

Note, you will probably discard your current gear’s back protection since the vest has one built in.  

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Bernie
2 hours ago, Carlisja said:

 

This code is for direct purchase from Helite.  https://helitemoto.com/

 

i am 6 feet tall and weigh 185 pounds.   I wear a large.   Measure with your gear on the vests are very adjustable.  My son could wear a medium at 5’11 and 160 pounds but he makes do with a large. 

 

Note, you will probably discard your current gear’s back protection since the vest has one built in.  

 

i spoke with Patrick at Helite and he recommended a Large+ or LL. 

Waiting for more information from him, before I place my order.

Hope to have it for FART 2019.

 

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lkraus
On 9/5/2019 at 11:02 AM, lkraus said:

"Cinching it down tightly" may be dangerous if the vest inflates.  If the vest is too tight,  you may restrict the inflation and/or be unable to breathe.  From the demonstrations I've seen at the MOA Rally,  you should be able to insert the width of both fists under the vest with your thumbs and index fingers on your chest. Even with this amount of slack, the demo volunteer was having some difficulty breathing when they triggered the vest.

 

Looking at the online Turtle User Guide, and their official videos, I do not see any mention at all of the chest strap adjustments. I've sent Helite an email to ask for clarification and will report back when I get a response.

Well, that did not help much.  I suspect  both the question and the answer lost something in translation.  I'm still surprised that the User Manual does not mention the adjustment straps.

Interesting that someone was working on a Sunday afternoon...

 

De : lkraus
Envoye : jeudi 5 septembre 2019 16:50
A : 'helite@ helite.com ' <helite@ helite.com >
Objet : Turtle vest adjustment
In a motorcycle forum discussion, a Turtle user suggested tightening the vest to serve as a back brace. From the demonstrations I've seen, my
understanding is that the vest has to fit loosely to provide room for the air chambers to expand. Allowing room for two fists underneath the vest,
thumbs and index fingers against the chest, was guideline I was shown. I see NO mention of proper adjustment in your User Guide.
What is the correct way to adjust the vest? Is there any danger to an incorrect adjustment?

 

From: "Gerard Thevenot" <gthelite@yahoo.fr>

To: lkraus
Date: Sunday September 8 2019 12:44:34PM
RE: Turtle vest adjustment
Hello,
Once the vest is inflated it tights firmly the trunk even if there is room for a fist between the vest and the chest when uninflated,
Best Regards,
Salutations,
Vielen Dank und herzliche GruRe,
Cordiali saluti,
Gerard THEVENOT
www.helite.com
Tel +33 (0)380 35 48 26


 

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Skywagon

I got a note from Patrick as well to do the L +.  Went to their website, chose the high vis....and apparently they don't make the L+ anymore or they are out.  I have a note out to Patrick.  I don't want to cover my high vis jacket with a black airbag....

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Indy Dave

Any thoughts or concerns about the torso area's that remain exposed with the vest?

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Bernie
2 hours ago, Skywagon said:

I got a note from Patrick as well to do the L +.  Went to their website, chose the high vis....and apparently they don't make the L+ anymore or they are out.  I have a note out to Patrick.  I don't want to cover my high vis jacket with a black airbag....

David, Patrick told me on the phone on Thursday afternoon, that he is expecting a shipment next week.

One thing to note about the sizing is that the US site says to measure your body, while the European side says to measure yourself with your riding gear on. Using that method, I will need a XLL vest to fit over my RoadCrafter Classic suit (without back pad).

So I send a inquiry to the factory to find out how to really measure for these vests, as I really don't want to be sitting on the tail all the time. By the way Revzilla recommended a size large for me. So I will just hold off till they figure out what to do or if I get a chance to try one on in person.

Edited by Bernie
add more info

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Skywagon

Thanks Bernie...will let you know if I hear from him.  I'm inclined to go bigger, but a little nervous about it being so big it flaps around in the wind.

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Carlisja

Well, we tested the vest today.  My son and I were taking a Rider's Workshop class in the Appalachians over the weekend.  He got a bit overconfident and entered a switchback turn with too much speed.  He was probably still doing about 40 mph when he hit the ground.  The airbag deployed before he hit.  He slid across a short section of pavement and then into the grass where he tumbled.    Other than an abrasion on his forearm, there was no injury. We repaired his GSA as much as possible, re-armed the vest and continued on. 

 

Because of the Helite this turned out to be a low consequence learning experience.  Let's no do it again.

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Carlisja
7 hours ago, Indy Dave said:

Any thoughts or concerns about the torso area's that remain exposed with the vest?

 

 

I wear it o Dr my normal riding suit so my arms are no more exposed than before.

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Mike
On 9/8/2019 at 4:16 PM, Indy Dave said:

Any thoughts or concerns about the torso area's that remain exposed with the vest?

 

Thr Helite seems to have a bunch of interconnected tubes and offers a cushion of maybe 3-4” around your torso, neck and tailbone.  I suppose it’s possible that a pointy object could poke through one of the areas between the air bag structure, but it would seem that if that were the case the object would likely penetrates a shorter distance into your body, thereby reducing injury. 

 

I guess the the way I look at it I was this: you can’t anticipate or prevent every type of injury, but the degree of protection offered against Injury to your neck, back, and all the internal organs packaged in your torso is substantial. The proof is all anecdotal, but I’ve now read of many crashes in which potentially serious injury has been prevented.  

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RK Ryder
On 4/24/2019 at 9:36 AM, lkraus said:

My wife wonders sometimes about the long delay between hearing "I'll be back" and the engine start...

My wife has the same thoughts. 

 

I wish the Helite vest had been manufactured with a coarser material at the shoulders.  With my lack of shoulders,  it is a nuisance trying to keep it on the my riding jacket when either putting it on or off. 

 

I regret buying the hi vis rather than black as the vest's  reflection onto the GPS screen makes that unit almost impossible to read at times.  I have lots of lights that make me visible to drivers. 

 

Fortunately I have yet to be in a situation where the vest required to be inflated! 

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lkraus
6 hours ago, RK Ryder said:

...I regret buying the hi vis rather than black as the vest's  reflection onto the GPS screen makes that unit almost impossible to read at times.  I have lots of lights that make me visible to drivers...

 

I have the same difficulty with the GPS - I don't regret the hi-vis, but I do wish the central front portion of the vest was black.

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Lowndes
On 10/13/2019 at 7:05 AM, Mike said:

 

Thr Helite seems to have a bunch of interconnected tubes and offers a cushion of maybe 3-4” around your torso, neck and tailbone.  I suppose it’s possible that a pointy object could poke through one of the areas between the air bag structure, but it would seem that if that were the case the object would likely penetrates a shorter distance into your body, thereby reducing injury. 

 

I guess the the way I look at it I was this: you can’t anticipate or prevent every type of injury, but the degree of protection offered against Injury to your neck, back, and all the internal organs packaged in your torso is substantial. The proof is all anecdotal, but I’ve now read of many crashes in which potentially serious injury has been prevented.  

 

The thought of "pointy object(s)" was a concern for me, too, and decided to add some hard shell body armor under the airbag vest, along with knee and elbow armor.  Another area of concern were elbows, shoulders, and knees as these are "pointy objects" themselves so just empacting on flat pavement creates the same concern for them, too

 

After some searching Leatt  "Body Protector 5.5" seemed to be the best torso protection, with FFM, FIM, and CE chest and back certifications.  Leatt also seemed to have the best knee and shin protection with CE knee certification.

 

I'm too young to die and too old to bounce very hard so I suffer all the Jedi Storm Trooper and NFL lineman comments with a smile.  It's a jigsaw puzzle getting ready, too.

 

 

 

 

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Paul4450

I  bought an orange Helite vest and also noticed the reflection of orange in my GPS and instrument panel. With the Helite II vest, there are two layers of material over the bladders. I decided to use automotive fabric spray paint in black to spray the front of the vest.  I figure even if the paint somehow damaged the material, the layer immediately over the inflation bladder wouldn’t be affected.  It took two cans, but I think if I took time to apply two coats versus one heavy coat, it may have taken less paint. When I pull back the Velcro secured flaps, it’s still orange on the back side. It’s not sticking so well to the silver reflective material however, and the black paint is beginning to flake off.  But no more orange reflections!  

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Lowndes
10 hours ago, Paul4450 said:

I  bought an orange Helite vest and also noticed the reflection of orange in my GPS and instrument panel. With the Helite II vest, there are two layers of material over the bladders. I decided to use automotive fabric spray paint in black to spray the front of the vest.  I figure even if the paint somehow damaged the material, the layer immediately over the inflation bladder wouldn’t be affected.  It took two cans, but I think if I took time to apply two coats versus one heavy coat, it may have taken less paint. When I pull back the Velcro secured flaps, it’s still orange on the back side. It’s not sticking so well to the silver reflective material however, and the black paint is beginning to flake off.  But no more orange reflections!  

 What about attaching a swatch of black cloth safety-pinned or velcroed to the front of the vest??  Pin it first to get the size and location right, then attach velcro to the vest at the corners.  This would make it much easier to get into and out of the vest.

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Paul4450

Actually I thought about doing just that, but couldn’t figure an easy way to do that without interfering with the front straps. Plus I could see it flapping around which would probably bug me. The version 2 of the Helite vest has a second layer of material that covers completely, each side of the front of the vest  I was also worried I might accidentally puncture the inflation chambers if I safety pinned it!
 

The upholstery spray paint worked really well for me. I just used blue tape to mask off the vest, tucked the front straps inside the front panels while painting. It took me just a few hours to do. The fabric got a bit stiffer but not excessively so. 

FB29C5E3-DACD-4A75-869B-A7850CD8F9B2.jpeg

68CA29F6-6E33-458D-B602-A79DF5F0FA29.jpeg

45708E04-C984-4CE8-B8C8-5E119FF7B668.jpeg

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lkraus
7 hours ago, Lowndes said:

It’s not sticking so well to the silver reflective material however, and the black paint is beginning to flake off. 

How long ago (time and/or miles) did you paint this vest?   My yellow Hi-viz vest causes the same GPS glare problems, and this looks like a possible solution.

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Paul4450

I bought the vest in late September and painted it within a week. So not long at all. I took a 3 day ride in October that covered about 1000 miles or so, plus some shorter rides. I’m not too worried about the peeling paint off the upper reflective areas other than the slightly sloppy appearance. I don’t think it will cause reflection issues on the GPS or IP. 
 

I would recommend two light coats vs the one heavy coat I put on. It’s just that as I was spraying, the coverage seemed poor initially. Plus I was impatient!!  But it worked out fine. If I were to do it again, I’d apply two lighter coats. 
 

I used flat black auto upholstery spray paint bought at Autozone, but I can’t remember the brand, but I think it was Duplicolor. 

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RK Ryder

I put black gaffer tape over the sections that caused the reflection and it worked well before it blew off.  Think next year I may try black duc tape which is always a pain to remove; it might stay on. 

 

Another possible option might be to have a couple of black cloth pieces, with glued on velcro attached over the offending,  front reflective pieces. 

 

Does anyone else have the nuisance of the vest sliding off their jacket when either putting being put on or taken off? 

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