I'm part of a small club in Ohio and there are a few folks that purchased, and then unintentionally tested them. They drew some interest in the club and and even a rider meeting demonstration. I think they help protect the torso and neck. I can't say to what extent. And as with any gear, it's only effective if you use it.
Since I haven't personally crashed with one of these vests, I can't state how effective they are. The riders who have actually fell with them seem pleased with them.
There is an expense associated with inflation cartridges (I'm remembering $8-12) but that's only a factor if your nickname is "Crash".
If I was a svelte racer type, I'd get one. Since I'm not running anywhere near race pace, I haven't invested in one. I may get one for my pillion. It only makes sense to protect those who can't possibly protect themselves as a passenger.
I found a review from someone in the club (and he may be here too, I don't know):
I've worn the vest to 10+ Nesba events across the NE.
It might prevent a serious injury.
Helps keep you warm on cold days.
The cylinder on the front is LARGE, when you go from side to side it bumps into the tank. Kind of annoying but I can deal with it.
The back of the vest at speed will start to act like a sail, if you are not in a perfect tuck it will threaten to pull you off the bike. Going 155+ down Summit Main and VIR it's not real bad, but you are aware of it pulling on you.
The vest is hot, covers up the venting in the front part of my suit, and in the back. The vest is basically a plastic bag after all.
For me it's almost impossible to get on myself, my wife has to help me every time.
Everyone wants to pull on the ripcord to see it pop.
Highsided with the vest at VIR, when the bike was yanking me into the air my head got pulled to the right, when the vest popped it jolted my head bad enough to give me a mild concussion and a sore neck for a few days. Came through the off OK, did the vest prevent a more serious injury when I landed? I have no idea, the only way to know is do the exact same thing without the vest, but I'd like to think the vest helped, after all that IS why I wear it.
The worry of it deploying prematurely is nonexistent, you have to REALLY REALLY pull on it to get it to release. My worry is for a simple lowside it might pull you along with the bike just enough to cause problems when you should be getting away from it as much as possible.
With all the people (A LOT) asking about it at the different tracks I've been to this year there is definitely some interest, and I believe I've helped sell a few.
I like the vest and will continue wearing it, what I would like to see is some kind of testing done with these air vests. The helmets we wear nowadays have some kind testing done in order to pass a standard. These vests are worn in the hopes that they will help, but without any real testing we really don’t know how much they are helping, plus with testing there certainly would be improvements, much like our helmets compared to just a few years ago.
To feed my post count and this topic, I'm posting a response that was made to the previous post. These had the most usable content:
I must say you have some interesting insight on the "vest" and I do sincerely appreciate you insight and opinions.
I do agree with you on some of these issues but totally disagree on others.
Your thoughts about the tether dragging you with the bike was the most interesting to me, I'm VERY confident that will never happen considering we are a bunch of 175-210 lb fat a$$e$!
The concussion thought is interesting...possible, yes I guess but like you I think I will take my chances considering the massive added protection benefits!
Like you, I would rather hit armco, tires, or concrete with the vest on vs. no vest at all.
I figure if the worlds top GP riders are using air technology then there must be some validity to it.
Yes, they are wearing it built into their vest but until us bottom feeders can afford their vests then I think this technology is the next best thing.
The small air canister issue is a non issue in my opinion.
Every rider wearing it with Moto Series has agreed that it was noticed for a session, maybe 2 and that was it.
I felt it for about 10 laps going into T4 and then never felt it again....ever!!!
It is important to note that the air canister on the MLV is smaller than the standard one used in the other vests.
This was another reason why I thought the MLV made the most sense for racing.
I'm curious which vest you are wearing.
I have only promoted the new MLV to our riders because of the fact that it is skeleton like and is nowhere near a full vest like 90% of the Hit-Air vests and jackets (btw, Fitz I don't make 1 penny off sales).
I haved found the MLV to still allow my body to breath pretty darn well.
The MLV is the only model being worn in this club as far as I know.
I have ridden in it the entire year on several 90 degree days and have been very comfortable.
It is important to note that I even wear a Knox chest protector under my leathers and have had no breathability issues.
I have also crashed in my vest 2 times this year (low sides) and I was extremely pleased with its performance.
When it comes to getting the vest on, I will say that the first couple of times putting it on it was a little tricky but since the first day I have yet to have help and its honestly very easy to take on and off and with teacher our schools I take that darn thing on and off a million times a weekend.
I've even taken it off after it has inflated after a crash and thats been pretty easy too.
Once again, this my hunch is that you may be wearing a full vest versus an MLV.
I have yet to hear the "acting like a sail" opinion, I could see that will a full vest as it would trap the air but with the MLV it would be almost impossible because of the design.
We have 6-7 people at Moto Series with the vests and I have yet to hear anybody mention that including myself.
In regards to testing, yes I agree with you that that would be wonderful but I think it only takes a little common sense to see the added safety benefits at a very cheap price considering the overall costs of this sport.
The other option would be to buy a Dianese like Rossi's and spend about 5 grand vs. $300.
I personnelly have the hit vest and wear it when ever I ride. After breaking a collar bone and a few ribs I wished I would have had it. After reading about it I got one and have introduced it to the safety center here at my base. They are looking at issuing it to every one that completes the Safety Rider course.
Very well developed and designed. They also continue to improve their product.
I am probably going to get the Neck Vest. The owner of the company seems like a hell of a nice guy, the price is reasonable and he has a discount for military. My only questions are; how hot do you get in the summer as it seems like some of the perforation is blocked on the leathers and how well does the body of the vest stand up in a crash?
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