Don’t care much for airbag motorcycle jackets or vests? Like them or not: You will see more of them with MotoGP making airbag protection mandatory and Alpinestars releasing a large proportion of its 2018 range as ‘Tech-AIR™ prepared’. The jury is out if Merlin’s new airbag range is the ‘best’ motorcycle airbag system out there, but for now it is certainly the most affordable and the most flexible airbag protection for motorcyclists. Read on for what we have gleaned so far.

ARE MOTORCYCLE AIRBAGS EVER GOING TO MAKE THE MAINSTREAM?

The first motorbike airbag system was developed back in 1999: Pretty unsightly, rather complicated to use, very expensive, and too slow to inflate for reliable protection. Understandably, these issues led to the systems not having much traction. Only in the 2010’s, airbag motorcycle jackets and vests made their comeback: with much improved inflation times, less complication, looking better, they were a more attractive proposition but still devilishly expensive.

Airbags were introduced to our cars in the 70’s. Mainstream uptake was rapid. They saved lives, became affordable, and did not detract from the look of the car (interior). Those three factors were the key to making them an acceptable addition to our lives.

HOW MERLIN MAY HAVE JUST MADE MOTORCYCLE AIRBAGS A REALISTIC OPTION

Merlin Bike Gear identified these barriers and worked for the past two years to resolve all 3 of them. They are now confident that they have the key to making motorcycle airbag jackets and airbag back protectors attractive to more bikers, and therefore increasing rider safety for ‘the masses’. Merlin Bike Gear airbags aesthetically and deliberately look understated yet sleek. The mechanical system is extremely easy to use, and the price point is the most competitive on the market. Standout feature: Right now it is also the only motorcycle airbag system in the world approved to the highest level of CE EN accreditation (EN1621/4: 2013).

THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

WHAT’S NEW & GOOD:

  • Homologated (or conforming) to EN1621/4
  • Available as a standalone product you strap to your favourite biking jacket
  • Available as an integrated airbag with a brand new Outlast jacket and trousers combination
  • It inflates in just 0.08 seconds – The fastest we’ve seen!
  • It uses a physical trigger mechanism which means it is pretty foolproof
  • It is 6.5x more effective than a Level-2 back protector
  • It is reusable, so in the event of an off, you can reset and recharge the system yourself.

THE PRICING IS SHARPLY CALCULATED IN ORDER TO MAKE THE BEST IMPACT PROTECTION AFFORDABLE FOR MOST MOTORCYCLISTS.

With a price point as keen as this, there are things this airbag system does not do or does differently to more expensive alternatives:

  • It is a physical system and requires a pull cord connection from you to the bike: What’s good about that is that there is no battery to charge but you do have to remember to connect the pull cord
  • The airbag chamber covers your spine, neck and coccyx: Those are clearly very precious parts of your body that need protecting; Alpinestars’ and Dainese’s Airbag systems cradle more of the torso and extend to protect parts of the vulnerable front of your body.
  • While it does not have a complicated microprocessor-controlled brain it also does not require the same level of servicing or race / road adaptation via a software download: Nevertheless, 4-yearly servicing is required at a cost of £100.00 in order to continue to meet the EN1621/4 standards.

The Merlin Airbag system is only available at a selected shop network of which GetGeared Leeds and GetGeared Leatherhead are two.

6 COMMENTS

    • Hi Phil – This system is not a good match for use over a racing 1-piece suit with a hump. The airbag expands over the neck, spine and coccyx; it does not extend round the side of the rib cage or over the front chest area as some other systems do. George from Your GetGeared Team

  1. you all need to think again this air bag is only deployed on your back the chances are you never need it on your back 90% of all incidents are on the front side or you slide down one side of your body or the other never on your back so this is totally useless go back to the drawing board I been riding well over forty years now and I think I can call my self-experienced rider by now and in any incident I had the old Leather jacket has faired the best protection

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    • Hi – You are right that an airbag does not replace proper protective clothing. The two work in conjunction. Most of us now wear back protectors for normal day riding, not just track use. In my experience, when we explain the shock-absorbing difference between a Level-1 and a Level-2 back protector, most bikers will opt for the Level-2 piece; This airbag system is 2.6x more effective in protecting you than a Level-2 protector, and the protection will extend up and down to significantly reduce the risk of catastrophic damage to your back, neck and coccyx bone. George from Your GetGeared Team

      PS: A good video to see the comparison between back protector and airbag in action [around 16secs into video]: Click here to launch in Youtube

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