We’ve seen recently that both Dainese and Alpinestars are getting serious about promoting airbag jackets for riders. But they no doubt have their limitations. They have to be charged and in the case of Dainese’s offering needs to be integrated with the bike itself. Hence why its good to see that two recent patents point the way to the potential for more motorcycles with built in airbags.
Such devices wouldn’t be the first – Honda released their Gold Wing almost a decade ago with an optional airbag and still sells it with that option today. It’s no surprise then that Honda is looking to further the technology with a system that may have potential in other styles of bikes
The new airbag is designed to extend vertically from its compartment which sits roughly at the front where the fuel tank normally is. It’s positioning is helped given that the patent uses Honda’s NC750S as the basis for the airbag which is a motorcycle whose fuel tank sits beneath the riders seat instead of in front of the rider as normal.
Upon deploying, the airbag is designed to extend up high enough to ensure the riders’ head is protected, even if he or she is thrown forward up the tank – something that can obviously happen in an accident where massive deceleration occurs. The airbag also extends towards the riders stomach and lower chest, providing more cushioning to internal organs in those locations.
The second patent that has recently been filed comes from Bosch, technological leaders in much of the cutting edge technology we see on bikes today, including cornering ABS and high end traction control systems. Bosch’s system is designed to be more universal in nature meaning it can be adopted and utilised on a variety of motorcycle types, including sportsbikes and even scooters.
Bosch’s system even includes the possibility of two airbags – one at the front of the bike near the headlights to act as a cushion to slow the bikes impact, and a second airbag extending from near the handlebars or top of the triple tree to protect the riders chest and head.
Neither solution is obviously perfect and airbags built into motorcycles will only work in certain types of crashes. They won’t for example provide any protection when a rider is hit from the side or when they come off the bike. But these new inventions from Honda and Bosch, alongside airbag clothing from Alpinestars and Dainese are ways to cover different risks and hopefully minimise rider injuries and fatalities.