Harley-Davidson Unveils Latest Airbag Safety Vest

For years, seasoned motorcyclists have scoffed at cruiser riders who opt for just a vest over a full-armor jacket, arguing that the vest lacks sufficient protection in a crash. They're not wrong; clearly, sleeves, and elbow and shoulder padding, provide essential safety if you take a spill at high speed. However, Harley-Davidson is introducing a game-changer with their latest offering. Powered by Dainese’s D-air technology, this vest could be a lifesaver.

The Harley-Davidson Smart Vest activates upon detecting a crash through onboard sensors, shielding your chest and central back area. It's designed to absorb impacts that could otherwise cause paralysis or fatal injuries.

Equipped with a rechargeable battery lasting up to 26 hours, the vest powers its onboard electronics and supports USB charging. Harley recommends wearing the vest over or under your riding jacket, but if worn underneath, it should have two inches of clearance around it to allow for inflation.

Unlike earlier airbag systems, this vest is self-sufficient, requiring no tether to the bike. Its usage seems straightforward; as per the press release:

A status indicator light on the left chest signals the jacket's condition. Once zipped and the snap-tab power switch fastened, the indicator light displays battery status and flashes blue when the vest is ready to deploy the airbag. Additionally, the vest vibrates to indicate readiness. It activates upon sensing the vibration of a running motorcycle engine or when the speed exceeds 6.2 mph (10 kph) – ensuring it won't deploy if the rider trips and falls away from the bike, for instance.

In the event of airbag activation, Harley-Davidson advises returning the vest to a dealer for recharge.

While the technology isn't groundbreaking, as Dainese has been producing airbag suits for years, it's a notable shift for cruiser riders who may have previously overlooked such tech, considering it geared towards sportier bikes. Now, they can access this essential safety gear through their local Harley-Davidson dealer. With its cowhide shell, it's tailored to the preferences of cruiser riders, rather than being adapted from the track racing scene.

According to Harley’s PR, the vest comes in both men’s and women’s sizes, featuring zipper handwarmer pockets, black reflective material, and Harley-Davidson branding on the back. Pricing for Canada is yet to be confirmed, but interested individuals can inquire at their local dealer using part number 98017-24VM (men’s version) or 98021-24VW (women’s version) for further details.