Do Motorcycles Have Airbags – Is It Even Possible?

Do motorcycles have airbags is a question that may sound naive. However, you will be surprised that there are motorcycles that come with airbags as a standard or option. Of course, most common motorcycles do not come with airbags.

An Article About Whether Motorcycles Have Airbags or Not ~ Ran When Parked In this post, you will learn everything about airbags and motorcycles.

Do Motorcycles Have Airbags if Not Why Is This So?

No. Most motorcycles do not come with airbags. The reason motorcycles lack airbags is the lack of space. In most cases, motorcycles do not have enough space for extra instruments. Therefore, installing an airbag is impossible and if done would decrease the space for parts like the fuel tank.

Besides, a motorcycle airbag is not as effective as it is in a car. Airbags in a vehicle cushion you from slamming the steering wheel or the dashboard which is not the case in motorcycles. Accidents on motorcycles result in the rider being flung from the motorcycle.

The flung rider may hit something like a tree or car. The bottom line is it is less predictable compared to a car which makes the motorcycle airbag not a necessity. In addition, an airbag needs a strong anchor point for it to work, which motorcycles do not provide.

Is There a Motorcycle That Comes With Airbags as Standard?

Yes. The Honda Gold Wing comes with airbags. This motorcycle still comes with a built-in airbag since 2006. The airbag aims to slow the rider when flung forward to decrease the likelihood of severe injury. This answers your question – do motorcycles have airbags on the road?

Opened Air Bag Ballon ~ Ran When Parked

The airbag protects the rider from impacts on obstacles in front of the motorcycle such as the road or car. Goldwing is among the largest motorcycles available with an over 1800cc engine. The big cockpit makes it possible to install the airbag system. That said, Honda includes additional tether straps on the frame that keep the airbag in place.

Apart from the Goldwing, Honda equips other models such as the CTX1300 and VRF1200F with airbags. Other motorcycle manufacturers that equip their bikes with airbags as a standard or option are Ducati and BMW.

BMW began installing airbags in its bikes in 2019 with the K1600GTL and K1600GT models. With Ducati, it provides airbags as an option for the 1260 Pikes Peak and Multistrada 1260S models.

How Do Motorcycle Airbags Function in an Accident?

In case of an accident, the airbags on the Honda Goldwing work other airbags through inflation. When there is an accident, sensors trigger the inflation process after they detect a sudden impact or stop. This inflation happens in a fraction of a second after sensors trigger a small explosive charge that inflates the airbag.

A Felt Down Motorcycle After An Accident ~ Ran When Parked

Just like in vehicle airbags, the inflator in the Goldwind contains chemicals that inflate the airbag with nitrogen instantly pushing it out of the container. It is common knowledge that airbags save lives and that is the goal of the ones on Goldwing.

However, inbuilt airbags in motorcycles will not protect you from injuries in all accidents. Therefore, you should always wear protective gear like a helmet and boots. Even though in Godwing, airbags make riding a little safer, they do not substitute good riding habits or protective gear.

A common understanding among riders is motorcyclists do not have the rights on the highway as drivers.

What Type of Airbags Can Motorcycle Riders Use Today?

Today, a motorcycle rider besides wearing protective gear can increase their safety in case of a crash using airbags. These airbags come with different features and at different price points. For instance, some airbag vests deploy in any type of fall while others deploy when there is a serious accident.

That said, airbags meant for motorcycles fall into two categories that is algorithm-based and tethered airbags. In both systems, the airbags deploy once they detect danger. However, they differ in the way they accomplish it. To understand which airbag suits you, you need to know their fundamental differences.

Tethered Motorbike Airbags Most Common and Available

These types of airbags come as vests and jackets because they are simple and effective. You only need to fix the trigger cord on the motorcycle. The moment you fall off the airbag will deploy. That is how easy it is to implement these airbags.

This technology of airbags is the oldest. As a result, it is pretty refined and is relatively affordable. Thanks in part to the fact that the trigger for the airbag is simple. Most riders like this type of airbag because of its simplicity.

Also, the riders can recharge them at a low cost owing to the basic design. If you are looking for basic airbag protection, then a tether airbag fits the bill.

However, a tether airbag has a few downsides. For instance, for it to deploy, the rider must separate from the motorcycle which does not always happen in a crash. As well, this type of airbag is not a good choice for a forgetful person.

If you hop off the motorcycle without unclipping the airbag you are going to waste a gas cartridge. Do you sometimes forget your bike has a disk lock? You probably need to avoid the tether airbag like airbag jackets.

Algorithm-Based Airbags – The Most Advanced System

With the algorithm-based airbags, a rider does not need a physical connection to the motorcycle. Rather, this system relies on the rider to establish when to deploy the airbag. To make this possible, the airbags use an array of sensors such as accelerometers, GPS, and gyros to detect impact and inflate the airbag.

Airbag Sign On a Part Of Vehicle ~ Ran When Parked

With this system, a computer monitors the condition of the rider up to a thousand times a second. However, this complexity comes at a cost. As such these airbags are more expensive compared to tether airbags. This is true in their purchase and service costs.

For instance, a rider cannot recharge these airbags at home. However, since the airbags are sent to experts for recharge, a rider knows the airbag will function as it should in a crash.

The system needs a rider to recharge its batteries occasionally. If the rider forgets to charge the batteries, the airbag will function as it should. Also, it is worth keeping in mind that algorithm-based airbags only fit in a limited number of jackets.

This depends on the design of the airbag manufacturer. That said, manufacturers are slowly giving riders a choice to use their favorite jackets.

Which Airbag Should You Choose – Street or Race Version?

This depends on where you primarily ride. Each manufacturer of these airbags designs them to fit their applications. However, this does not mean choosing a race vest is bad for your commute.

That said, race airbags mostly focus on the prevention of track injuries to the collarbone or ribcage compared to street injuries such as the spine or shoulder.

Which Are the Top Algorithm-Based Motorbike Airbags?

In the airbag space, a few brands exist each with a unique approach. For instance, Dainese was among the first companies to introduce airbags in jackets. At the moment, Dainese focuses only on providing algorithm-based airbags.

A Parked Motorcycle With White Background ~ Ran When Parked

Recently, this brand introduced a street standalone vest that riders can wear over or under any jackets they have. However, since the jacket lacks abrasion resistance, you should consider wearing the visit inside the jacket. If wearing it on the outside is convenient, make sure you unzip it and stow it after getting to your destination.

Another brand in this sector is Alpinestars. These also provide algorithm-based airbags that rely on an exclusive system of 3 accelerometers and 3 gyros. However, their Tech Air airbags only fit select Alpinestars suits and jackets. That said, the airbags support both street and race uses.

For instance, the Tech Air comes with a back protector that still works even if the battery for the airbag dies. To recharge the Tech Air, the rider must return it to Alpinestars. The best part is that the product needs to fire twice before a recharge.

Which Are the Best Tether-Based Brands of Motorbike Airbags?

Helite is another brand in this space. The company has been producing tether-based airbags for years. Its airbag products such as Helite Turtle are easy to use. With these airbags, the user can recharge them and wear them with any jacket.

These airbags are popular in track uses because they primarily protect the collarbone and the neck. Recharging these airbags is cheap since the rider only needs to attach a new air canister.

Another brand in this space is Merlin. This brand offers a universal tethered vest for less than $300. If you are looking for an affordable airbag that will do the job, Merlin is a good choice.

How Can You Avoid Unnecessary Inflation of Motorbike Airbag?

One of the best ways of avoiding unnecessary airbag deployment is by keeping the suspension of your motorcycle in shape. You can do this by upgrading your suspension to a motorcycle airbag suspension. To make this possible, there are various products available. These include:

  • Air lift 58343 gen iv dominator series d2500
  • Suncore air bag 257bw-15-r
  • Slam specialties ssf6-7 composite air bag
  • Firestone Air Spring w023587093
  • Firestone ride-rite air helper spring 6782
  • Aero sport air bag

You can also search motorbike air suspension to see more available options. The best part is most of these suspensions are affordable.


Do Motorcycle Airbags Work – How Effective Are They?

Motorbike airbags function by providing a soft bike airbag landing. They are popular with race and street riders who take their safety seriously in case of a crash. Some of the airbags focus on protecting the street riders while others offer protection for the race rider. Other airbags combine both.

How Easy Is It To Replace or Recharge Motorbike Airbags?

Well, it depends on the system that helps deploy the airbag. For instance, tether-based airbags are easy to recharge since the only thing a rider needs is to replace the used air cartridge. However, algorithm-based airbags require riders to send the airbags to authorized technicians to recharge them.

How Much Do Motorbike Jacket or Vest Airbags Cost?

A simple motorcycle airbag vest can set you back a few hundred dollars. However, the cost can go as high as tens of thousands of dollars if you go for a motorcycle airbag full body kit. That said, the full-body kit is popular with elite race riders.

Do You Require a Motorbike Airbag To Be Safe Riding?

No. Currently, no law states that a rider must have an airbag when riding. However, an airbag regardless of whether it comes as standard with the motorcycle or as an aftermarket vest or jacket, is an added protection. These will protect vital parts like your spinal cord and neck.


In this post, you learned about motorbike airbags and the various configurations they come in.

Here is a quick recap:

  • Airbags for motorcyclists come either as standard in the motorcycle or aftermarket for the rider.
  • Since most motorcycles do not come with airbags, the aftermarket ones are popular.
  • Aftermarket airbags come as vests or jackets for the rider.
  • The Honda motorcycle airbag for the Goldwing was the pioneer motorbike airbag.

Now you have a better understanding of the different motorbike airbags available today.

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