Frequently Asked Question
WHY CHOOSE A MECHANICAL AIRBAG SYSTEM?
The main advantages of a "100% mechanical" system are:
- the trigger reliability
- ease of use (attaches / detaches with quick clip)
- it's speed of installation and adaptability to all vehicles (strap installed only once on one or more bikes, for driver and passenger)
- it's no maintenance, worry free use (no battery recharging)
WHAT PARTS OF THE BODY ARE PROTECTED BY A HELITE AIRBAG?
A Helite airbag device protects the vital organs of the upper body. It protects the bottom of the head, neck, chest, ribs, collarbone, lungs, abdomen, pancreas, pelvis, and vertebrae column.
Approximately 40% of fatalities from motorcycle accidents in France in 2011 were due to chest injury, so protecting the front parts of your body is as important as protecting your back! The head is indirectly protected, often delaying impact with the ground and providing very good support of the helmet resting on the side and rear airbags.
IS THE AIRBAG REUSABLE?
Yes, as long as the airbag is in good condition (no holes, tears) you can reuse it. Easy to do, you can reset the system yourself in minutes, without sending your vest back to Helite. It is only necessary to replace the CO2 cartridge with a new one, available at all Helite dealers.
See our instructional video page for a YouTube link on How to Reset a Helite Airbag System. Please, check the size of the airbag when replacing cartridges. If you have a size S, M, L, or XL please use only 60CC cartridges. If you have a L-L or XL-L please use a 100CC cartridge. For all jackets, use a 60CC cartridge.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER MY HELITE ACTIVATES?
The airbag will de-flate automatically after about 2 minutes and recover its shape. Before reactivating the system with a new cartridge, make sure the vest is in good condition: no holes, or damage.
If you are unsure of the status of your motorcycle airbag, you may return it to our after sales service in Emeryville, CA for inspection and repair.
CAN THE AIRBAG GO OFF ACCIDENTALLY IF I FORGET TO UNCLIP?
Accidental deployments are extremely rare. The force required for the initiation of the airbag is between 45 and 60 lbs. according to size. If a rider forgets to detach from his bike, he will feel a strong tension on his vest or jacket before the airbag is triggered. As driving in the car, if you do not unclip the seat belt before stepping out you remain hooked.
It becomes a habit to attach and detach and with time you feel a bit 'naked' if you ride without clipping in the airbag.
WILL A ROAD SLIDE DAMAGE MY HELITE AIRBAG?
Helite uses the best fabrics suitable for motorcycling that offer excellent resistance to abrasion. The airbag is protected by a highly abrasion resistant 1000 Denier strength Cordura.
Tests carried out by independent journalists shows a sliding crash at 62MPH with the same HELITE airbag vest requires 6 slides before having to consider repair work.
If the airbag were to tear or damage during the accident, it can be easily serviced by a Helite expert and used again.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE HELITE AIRNEST AND THE TURTLE DESIGN?
The Turtle is a new airbag innovation from Helite. Equipped with a top level SAS-TEC back protector, it reduces force more effectively than the previous KNOX protector in the Airnest.
Helite relocated the back protector to on top of the airbag versus underneath like the Airnest system as well. This creates a "helmet shell" effect.
The impact gets dispersed by the the SAS-TEC protector, and the rest is transferred to the airbag. Helite is always searching for ways to make the technology better.
IS THE BACK PROTECTOR REMOVABLE?
Yes, the back protector is removable. We advise that you remove the Helite back protector in the Airnest model if you have a more rigid, or more comfortable back pad in your jacket already.
The Turtle is equipped with a top-level SAS-TEC protector and shouldn't be removed unless absolutely necessary.
IS A HELITE AIRBAG SYSTEM EFFECTIVE FOR A PASSENGER?
Yes, the airbag is 100% mechanical and at the time of ejection is equally effective for the passenger. Carefully choose the location of the attachment cord so that it is has the least amount of slack possible.
CAN YOU WEAR A BACKPACK OVER A HELITE AIRBAG SYSTEM?
Yes, keeping in mind that the more resistance against the airbag the more it could prevent the airbag from deploying properly. We recommend a loose fitting raincoat and to keep the backpack straps loose and light.
WHAT IS THE LIFESPAN OF A HELITE CO2 CARTRIDGE?
The warranty on a CO2 cartridge is 10 years. To guarantee the motorcycle airbag operation, the cartridge must be inspected at least 1 time per year.
Do not hesitate to unscrew your cartridge for regular visual check (rust, corrosion) and weight. Compare the weight that is indicated on the cartridge; if it is less than 3 g in weight indicated, the cartridge must be changed.
For a 60CC the weight will be +/- 3 of 182g. It should be changed if the surface of the lid (part inserted into the mechanical trigger) is showing signs of deterioration or rust. An empty CO2 cartridge must be replaced before the motorcycle airbag is again functional.
CAN I TAKE MY HELITE AND CO2 CARTRIDGES ON A PLANE?
Yes legally, you can take your airbag with CO2 cartridge on a plane in a checked bag. The CO2 cartridge is considered non-flammable dangerous goods. Airlines can confiscate your cartridge for no reason. To increase the chances that your cartridges arrive safely we advise you to download and print the form for traveling with dangerous goods and leave them near the cartridges and the airbag.
We also advise you to leave the cartridge screwed into the airbag and keep additional cartridges close to the vest to help the authorities to understand what they will be used for.
IS THE AIRBAG THE SAME IN THE VEST AND THE JACKET?
Yes, the shape of the airbag protection is the same whether you wear the vest or the jacket. After many years of tests and improvements we are very happy with the safety performance of our airbag shape and pressure level.
IS THE HELITE AIRBAG SYSTEM WATER RESISTANT?
Yes, the airbag is water resistant. It was designed for outdoor use and can be exposed to wet conditions (rain, UV rays).
The Helite Adventure Touring jacket has a 100% water resistant interior and exterior to withstand extreme conditions.
CAN A HELITE VEST BE WASHED?
Washing machine and dryer are prohibited. The airbag vest can be washed by hand without drowning the mechanical part of the system.
We recommend that you energetically scrub with a brush in warm soapy water (no detergent, products may alter the fabric). For fluorescent yellow vests, baby wipes are very effective. Do not rub hard on the retroreflective gray parts.
Some of our jackets have a removable lining Airbag for washing the outer fabric. The use of the dryer is strongly discouraged.
HOW DOES THE AIRBAG RELEASE AIR AFTER DEPLOYING?
The airbag deflates on its own. A slow leak system allows the CO2 to escape the airbag.
After thirty seconds, the pressure decreases then the airbag is completely deflated in about 2 minutes. You can release the air instantly from the airbag by unscrewing the CO2 cartridge.
HOW AND WHERE DO I MOUNT THE LANYARD TO MY MOTORCYCLE?
The basics of the mechanical airbag is very simple: the less the lanyard is stretched, the faster the airbag is triggered. Hence the importance of adjusting the length of your cord to be as short as possible without obstructing your freedom of movement (the attachment cord should be at maximum length when the driver is standing on the footpegs.)
We recommend attaching the lanyard under the seat to a solid part of the bike frame (tubing, thick metal crosses). Avoid attaching around a bike of the bike that is sharp so the tether is not damaged by rubbing or damaged when triggered. Do not attach the tether to your handlebar!
HOW DO I STORE MY HELITE AIRBAG?
Storing the vest properly (laying flat) and with normal use, it will allow you to keep your airbag for many years. It is okay to store in the saddlebags temporarily.