Helite Free Air Jacket
- Airbag fully inflates in less than 0.1 seconds
- Removable waterproof liner
- Retro-reflective piping at front, back and arms
- Abrasion-resistant 600D Cordura
- Comfortable neck
- Mesh panels
- Zippered cuffs with strap adjustment
- 1 60cc CO2 cartridge and 1 lanyard included
- Komine CE approved shoulder and elbow armor
- Multiple pockets
- All sizes use the 60cc CO2 cartridge
This jacket runs small folks! Most people who use the size chart using their height, chest and belly measurements will choose a size that one or two sizes larger than they normally wear in men’s clothing.
The fitment issue for Helite apparel products is a little different than most other motorcycle apparel. If you take a look at the Helite vest product, you’ll see that the key issue for fitment is matching your height to the recommended height range of the vest. With Helite’s apparel products where the air bag is built in, it is still important to get the right height air bag. So the first step in choosing a jacket size is to look at the size chart and see which size are recommended for your height, and secondly, see which size is OK for your max chest and belly. If you find a size that works for your height, chest and belly, you’re all set with a size choice! Those who are relatively short/stout or tall/skinny may not be able to find a size that gives the right height range and also have the chest belly be reasonable. If you have trouble finding a fit, I’d recommend buying a Helite vest and wearing it over your non-Helite riding gear.
We’ve listed the height ranges for each size below. Choose a size that works for your height and also one where your own chest and belly sizes are within a few inchest of the max sizes listed below. For example, I’m 6’ with a 45” chest and a 42” belly, so I’d choose a size XXL.
|Vest Size||Height||Max Chest||Max Belly|
|Small||5’2” to 5’7”||35”||34”|
|Medium||5’7” to 5’10”||37”||36”|
|Large||5’8” to 6’||40”||39”|
|XL||5’10” to 6’2”||43”||42”|
|XXL||5’10” to 6’5”||45”||44”|
|XXXL||5’11” to 6’6”||47”||46”|
|XXXXL||5’11” to 6’8”||51”||50”|
Our Two Cents
Helite is in the business of making air bag riding apparel for motorcyclists. Their “core” product is their vest which is designed to be worn over your existing riding apparel. They also make jackets and vests with the same air bag technology built in. The air bag technology, whether it be the vest or the other riding jackets and vests is basically the same.
So first things first… everybody wants to see how the vests and apparel look when they inflate, so the link to our photo gallery to see a shot of the vest in its normal uninflated state, and then look at the pictures with it fully inflated. Its pretty dramatic! To see a video that will give you the idea, have a look at the Turtle Vest product page.
Helite jackets and vests with the air bag technology built in offer the air bag technology in a more “neat and tidy” package. The jackets and vest don’t look much different than ordinary riding gear. Some riders might be more comfortable with this, especially those who are content with only having one jacket or vest to suit their riding needs. Here are the advantages of the Helite apparel products we see:
- The jackets and leather vest look great and include all the technology in one package.
- The operation and maintenance of the air bag technology is straightforward so anybody can understand how it all works. And being a mechanically triggered device, it has inherent reliability.
- All Helite vests and jackets include a CE Level 2 back pad which is often times an upgrade for other brands of gear.
- The vest can deploy more than once without having to return the vest to the factory for servicing (see details on Helite’s website).
- Replacement cartridges are inexpensive.
- Helite gear is well made with robust materials and should last a long time.
- Warranty service is available directly from Helite in the US.
- Last but most important… ITS AN AIRBAG FOR YOUR BODY!!!
Here are a few “cons” to consider with regard to the jackets and leather vest:
- Helite gear with the integrated air bag technology weighs more than ordinary riding apparel… about 3.5 lbs more.
- The Airbag technology isn’t cheap and when you buy one of their jackets or vest with the air bag integrated, it can’t be used with other riding gear (for other seasons for example), like the Turtle Vest can.
- You have to remember to connect the lanyard each time you mount up! (Likewise with the Turtle Vests)
I’m a mechanical engineer by education and I’m also not a youngster anymore, so this Helite air bag technology looks like a great product to me. Anything that ups my chances of walking away from a crash is worth it (check out those medical deductibles these days!). And mentally, technology like this that could easily keep me riding longer. It certainly will also be some comfort to a rider’s friends and family. And surely an easy sell to those with whom you share a budget. Helite makes simple and reliable air bag technology available to the masses!
About the Free Air mesh jacket: This jacket is made for hot summer use. The entire shell of the jacket except for the few solid textile panels is flow through mesh, so the comfort factor in summer should be very good. For cooler weather and/or wet weather, the jacket comes with a full sleeve removable windproof/waterproof liner. You can use that liner on cooler days to block the wind. And if it rains, you can use the liner to help keep you dry. The cut of this jacket is shorter in the torso than all the other Helite jackets, so it is intended for a street or sport rider.
The Free Air comes with a set of CE molded armor in the shoulders and elbows and then it includes the same CE level 2 back pad armor as all the other Helite vests and jackets, so there is nothing else to buy.
On think I mentioned in the review of the Turtle Vest is that it would impede the full flow of air through vented or perforated jackets where the vest covers the jacket. This jacket also has the same air bag components so it won’t free flow like full mesh jackets without the air bag, but being a shorter waist style and since it doesn’t have the same strap setup over the chest as the Turtle vest, I think this one will work better in really hot weather than the Turtle worn over a full mesh jacket, but maybe only marginally better. It certainly does a better job of camouflaging the air bag system than the Turtle! :: Paul, 06-19-18
PS: If the cons for the vest listed above give you pause, consider one of Helite’s jackets or vests which integrate the air bag parts within the jacket or vest.