Ben Purvis, who writes for Cycle World, has uncovered Honda’s latest patent for a unique airbag system designed for motorcycles. In the event of a crash or fall, the airbag would rapidly inflate, encircling the rider’s torso and separating from the bike to provide protection.
Although Honda has been exploring motorcycle airbag systems for decades, the concept has not gained widespread popularity. The Goldwing touring model, which introduced the first bike-mounted airbag in 2005, remains the only motorcycle equipped with an airbag.
The market has shifted towards airbag-equipped riding gear, such as the Klim vest with an AI-controlled In&Motion airbag system or race leathers with built-in airbag protection.
However, these options require an active choice on the rider’s part. Honda still sees promise in bike-mounted airbag systems that work regardless of the rider’s attire. Its engineers continue to file patents for new ways to implement this technology.
The idea of bike-mounted airbag systems has its benefits since it doesn’t require the rider to remember to wear specialized gear before riding.
Nevertheless, the effectiveness of airbag-equipped gear cannot be overlooked, as it can provide better protection by covering a larger area of the rider’s body. The rider’s choice between bike-mounted airbag systems and airbag-equipped riding gear ultimately depends on personal preference and circumstances.
According to Ben’s report, there is a new bike-mounted airbag system that functions similarly to a jacket-mounted system. However, it is designed to wrap around the rider’s torso like a fast hug and remain attached to the rider after it is fired from the bike.
Once the airbag is fully inflated, it will cut off the gas feed and seal itself. Unlike the Goldwing airbag, which fires from the dash, this detachable airbag needs to fire from a lower location to reach the rider’s arms. Therefore, the patent covers two potential locations for the system: one in front of the rider’s seat and one behind it.
If you have never witnessed an airbag being deployed, you can watch a live-on-stage demo of the Goldwing airbag at around 50 seconds in. These devices inflate incredibly quickly, producing a loud bang, and can be quite startling.
This can be quite startling to think about but it’s all part of Honda’s necessary planning and safety measures.
Honda’s latest patent demonstrates the company’s commitment to innovating and improving motorcycle safety. With more advancements in airbag technology, riders can feel more confident and protected on the road. As the market continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how motorcycle airbag systems develop and impact rider safety.