Air-bag jackets have been the single biggest innovation in motorcycle safety over recent years. The idea is simple enough: the jacket contains a series of strategically positioned airbags which will instantly inflate if the rider gets thrown off the bike. These bags will cushion any impact and significantly reduce the chances of injury, particularly to your neck – which is something all riders worry about, due to the risk of paralysis.
Hit-Air is one of the best known manufacturers of air-bag jackets for motorcyclists, and the MX-7 is the company’s newest model. The jacket features an airbag which will fully inflate within a quarter of a second of impact, providing a cushion of air that covers the neck, upper and lower spine, hips and chest.
In addition to the airbag, the jacket also features conventional padded armour for the shoulders and elbows, as well as high visibility reflective detailing. The jacket comes with a special coiled wire which is used to attach it to the motorcycle – it’s designed to activate the airbag if the rider is thrown from the bike, but should not accidentally set it off if you simply forget to detach the wire at the end of your journey.
The jacket is designed to be reusable, the airbag can be easily repacked and replacement compressed air canisters are available at low cost. So if you have a low speed crash and the jacket is not damaged, you won’t need to discard it.
The Hit-Air system has been extensively tested by the Japan Automobile Research Institute and exceeds all international safety standards – the company also produces similar products which are used by police forces and emergency rescue services around the world.
Obviously all motorcyclists have their own taste when it comes to the design of their gear, but we think the Hit-Air MX-7 looks stylish enough. There are a few color options, plain black, and black with with either red or green. Optional extras include chest and spine armor inserts and a breathable waterproof lining for extra weather protection.
This jacket will not make you completely invulnerable – but it certainly adds a welcome new level of protection over the standard gear that most riders wear. Priced at around $550, it’s not cheap, but if you’re unlucky enough to be involved in a crash, you’ll never regret investing in good quality safety gear. (If you’re looking for cheaper options, you might consider the previous generation Hit-Air “MX-6” model inflatable air vest.)
Product: Hit-Air MX-7 Inflatable Motorcycle Jacket
Our Rating: 5/5
Amazon Page: Hit-Air “MX-7” model inflatable air vest.