Do Motorcycle Airbags Work?

Do Motorcycle Airbags Work?

We all know how important it is to ensure double safety when riding a motorbike at high speed. And that’s why experts recommend wearing airbags, but do motorcycle airbags work?  

A motorcycle airbag creates a thick layer around you that absorbs all pressure that you otherwise experience without a motorcycle airbag during impact. The motorcycle airbag protects your spine and neck area by absorbing the pressure. In easier words, motorcycle airbags work. 

While writing this post, I leave no stone unturned so you can get all essential knowledge about motorbike airbags in easy-to-understand words. 

What are Airbags? 

Just like airbags in the car, motorcycle airbags work on the same principle. The motorcycle airbags inflate in less than a fraction of a second after impact. 

A motorcycle airbag creates a thick layer around you that absorbs all pressure that you otherwise experience without a motorcycle airbag during impact. The motorcycle airbag protects your spine and neck area by dividing and absorbing the pressure. 

If you’re looking for the best upper body protection, then a motorcycle airbag is the crown of it. Please don’t confuse the motorcycle airbag with the preinstalled airbag in some honda motorcycles. 

Do Motorcycle Airbags Work? 

Yes, the motorcycle airbags work, and they can protect you from any severe injuries. There are many different types of airbags, and the effectiveness of airbags varies from category to category. 

For instance, an intelligent motorcycle jacket is seven times more effective than an ordinary airbag. But a smart motorcycle jacket can’t protect your neck and upper rib cage from impact.

What Makes an Airbag Perfect? 

Before buying the airbag, there are some factors or conditions that you should see. Here’re some conditions which make the airbag perfect. 

What Makes an Airbag Perfect: 
Airbags should come with an instant reaction mechanism. 
The airbag shouldn’t contain any material that catches fire easily. 
Airbags must differentiate between shocks and real-life accidents. 

Instant Reaction: 

It doesn’t matter whether it is complex sensors or any conventional system; the airbag should open in a fraction of seconds. Professional riders consider airbags that fail to inflate instantly as useless because they may cause severe injuries. 

I recommend checking the opening time of the airbag; the ideal inflate time of the airbag should be below one second. 

False Alarm: 

It’s an unhidden fact; we generally experience shocks on our motorbike while riding on the streets. The ideal airbag shouldn’t be open because of these shocks, or the airbag should at least know the difference between shock force and accident forces. 

I recommend checking the force limit before buying the airbag; the lesser the force limit, the more it will inflate in the influence of shocks. 

Shouldn’t Cause Fire: 

The ideal airbag shouldn’t be made from a material that catches fire quickly. Also, the airbag shouldn’t contain any material which may catch fire easily.

How do Airbags work? 

You’ve seen how important the motorbike airbags are, now let’s see how motorcycle airbags actually work? 

Airbags work the same as car bags which involve the explosion of the airbag at the time of impact. But unlike car airbags, the motorcycle airbag doesn’t inflate because of a chemical reaction. Instead of chemical reaction, most manufacturers fit the smart sensor or a hook attached to you. 

The intelligent sensors or hooks save much more space in the motorcycle airbag, thus helping to prevent you from any severe injuries. 

Airbags come with a gas canister of compressed gas; thus, the gas canister opens at the time of impact, and the compressed gas releases.

Please remember that the opening of a gas canister is instantly, and after exploding, the pressure decreases slowly, so you don’t suffocate. 

Also, read my previous post answering do motorcycle airbags are reusable? Click here to read.

Should You Consider Buying an Airbag? 

Although the airbag is an excellent safety tool that can protect your upper body from severe injuries, if you’re a street rider who rides decently and always wears other safety equipment, then an airbag might not be for you. 

However, all good airbags come in the range of $500-$1500, which is still less than the cost of treatment of severe injuries. In other words, I recommend you buy an airbag. 

Airbags are a must for urban riders or riders who ride aggressively and always try their best to achieve the descent’s speed every time. Because airbags are the only tool that can protect their upper body from injuries. 

Even look at a MotoGP race, you’ll observe that all riders are wearing the airbags to protect themselves from any injuries. As an everyday rider, it doesn’t mean we can’t tap the benefit of the airbag to complete the safe zone around us. 

Please remember that you should also wear other safety tools such as helmets and back protectors to increase the airbag effectiveness by 2X.

What are the Different Types of Airbags? 

Generally, in the market, you’ll find two types of airbags, tethered and algorithm-based airbags. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. 

And it’s up to you which one you should choose, but the best thing is that both types of airbags are effective and would protect your upper body. 

Types of Airbags:Advantages: Disadvantages: 
Tethered airbag. Classic and cheaper than algorithm-based airbags. Tethered airbags are not for forgetful people. 
Algorithm-based airbag. It comes with smart sensors which keep updating them.It requires regular charging, even some airbags can’t be charged at home. 

Tethered Airbag : 

Tethered airbags are also called classic airbags because of their design and simple and effective mechanism. In the tethered airbag, you need to put the trigger and tie it with the chord. 

At the time of an accident, this chord will help you to enable the airbag. The best thing about tethered airbags is that they are easily affordable and don’t have a battery. Since the tethered airbag has a simple design, you can expect a cheap recharge process. 

One of the most significant drawbacks of tethered airbags is that this bag is not made for forgetful people. If they do not detach themselves with the chord, then Pusshhh!! They waste one canister of compressed gas. 

Sometimes, some people don’t fall from the motorbike at the time of an accident, and for this scenario, the tethered bag is not good.  

Algorithm-Based Airbag:

Algorithm-based airbags are one of the miracles of the 21st century. The algorithm-based airbags come with a group of sensors such as GPS, accelerometer, etc. 

The algorithm-based airbag responds in the 1000 fraction of a second, and the best thing about sensors is that they continuously learn and update according to riders’ movement. 

Although it’s a bit expensive, you still won’t need to connect algorithm-based airbags with the motorbike. If you’re a bit techy who understands the technological aspect, then algorithm-based airbags can be good for you. 

Most algorithm-based airbags can’t be charged at home, which is the biggest flaw of this type of airbag. 

The second biggest flaw of algorithm-based airbags is that they come with batteries that require regular charging like a smartphone, and you can’t expect this type of airbag to work without changing entirely.

So set a reminder to charge the airbag regularly. 

Myths About Motorcycle Airbags? 

There are some myths about motorcycle airbags that you need to focus on.

Myth 1: You Need to Wear a Different Outfit:

 It’s probably the biggest myth revolving between riders that you need to wear a different outfit for wearing a motorcycle airbag.

Nowadays, motorbike airbags come with innovative fabrics which adapt according to the outfit you’re wearing. 

Stretch your motorcycle jacket and see the distance between your chest and jacket; if it’s 4 cm, then you don’t need a new outfit for wearing the motorcycle airbag. 

The best thing about modern motorcycle jackets is that it comes with a pressure releasing valve which releases gas pressure at the time of impact.

So no worries, even if you’re wearing a tight outfit, the pressure-releasing valve will prevent you from any injuries. 

Myth 2: Airbags Will Open After Small Shocks

We indeed experience small harmless shocks when riding a motorcycle.

But as mentioned above, nowadays, motorcycle airbags are well aware and intelligent; the sensors in airbags have thousands of data in them, which helps the airbag differentiate real-time accidents with small shocks. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do motorcycle airbags work?

Motorcycle airbags work by creating a protective layer around you and absorbing all kinetic energy during impact.

Why motorcycle airbags’ instant reaction is crucial?

Professional riders consider airbags that fail to inflate instantly as useless because they may cause severe injuries. 

What you should remember when wearing tethered airbags?

In the tethered airbag, you need to put the trigger and tie it with the chord. 

What is the disadvantage of algorithm-based airbags?

The disadvantage of algorithm-based airbags is that they come with batteries that require regular charging like a smartphone, and you can’t expect this type of airbag to work without charging entirely.

What is the disadvantage of tethered airbags?

Tethered airbags come with a chord which makes them not perfect for forgetful people.

Final Verdict: 

Do motorcycle airbags work?  Yes, motorcycle airbags do work. Airbags are the only medium that can protect you from any severe spine injuries. 

In the market, you’re going to find two different types of airbags, which are tethered and algorithm-based airbags. I’ve mentioned both advantages and disadvantages of both types of airbags above. 

Always pay attention to factors such as instant reaction, false alarm failure system, and material that does not catch fire easily when buying the airbag for you.