Date reviewed: July 2021 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £379.99 + £399 or £120/year subscription | www.nevis.uk.com
When In&Motion developed its self-contained, electronically-activated airbag system, the French company worked closely with Ixon to create a stand-alone vest that could be worn under the majority of leather and textile motorcycle jackets. This tech went on to appear as a clip-in accessory in Held garments, as a zip-in in Furygan gear and permanently built into RST kit. Klim and Tucano Urbano have also recently partnered with In&Motion, each with its own unique implementation. Until now.
The deal to allow Ixon to be the only company to offer a stand-alone vest has come to an end, which means there’s more choice for the consumer (though I do feel for Ixon, which invested a lot in getting the first build out there).
On the face of it, the most popular will end up being the one with the best distribution and marketing as every single In&Motion-equipped vest/jacket/leathers uses the same airbag and basically the same 3D mesh interior. The removable control box is exactly the same, which is why you only need to buy it once (or pay for one subscription), then use it with all your airbag-equipped gear, whatever the brand.
However, Furygan’s new gilet (‘vest’ in French, of course) sets itself apart as – for now – being the only one to include a CE Level 2 D3O back protector as standard (at the same retail price as the Ixon), and with the option of Level 1 D3O chest protectors. I’ve been wearing it with my Oxford Hinterland textiles and Segura Stripe leather jacket to find out if it’s worth buying…
The D3O Level 2 back protector can be seen here inside the back of the vest with the inflator in place
The most important part of the Furygan gilet airbag system is of course the In&Motion control box. You can read the full details of it here, but in brief it’s a completely self-contained device that needs no connection to the bike.
The vest itself (and remember, this is the same on ALL In&Motion-equipped garments, whatever the brand), has an airbag that covers the back, over the shoulders and down across the chest. If a crash is detected while you’re moving, the vest is fully inflated in less than 60ms, after which the automotive inflator can be replaced by the owner for £89.99.
There are no pockets on the vest (gilet), but that’s to be expected.
Of course, we need to discuss that price. The vest itself is £379.99, which is in-line with most of the other brands, though if you want the additional chest protectors they’ll set you back £29.99. But while the vest comes with the In&Motion control box – the brains that contains the battery and sensors – it won’t work until you spend an additional £399 or pay £120 per year (or £12 per month).
Before you stop reading though, consider that – if you buy it outright – this makes for a total cost of £778.99. A lot of money, but not that much more than the £649.95 Dainese Smart Jacket, which has to be returned to an authorised service agent in the event that it’s deployed, at a cost of £250. That device also doesn’t support the neck when it’s inflated.
On the other hand, technology is moving rapidly, and while we haven’t tried it yet, Helite’s e-Turtle costs around £625, depending on the size you buy, and can be recharged by the owner, though as this is worn on the outside of your riding kit, there’s more chance of it being damaged in a crash, and thus needing to be completely replaced anyway. You don’t have to worry about your jacket being big enough to accommodate the Helite, but it will block some pockets and vents.
The point is that the In&Motion system is comparable in price to its competitors, though I would hazard a guess that it won’t be long before £120/year starts to look quite a bit too expensive in comparison to others, especially when you consider that the ‘Track’ and ‘Adventure’ settings, which tweak the In&Motion algorithms to deploy under slightly different conditions, cost an extra £25/year each. I sincerely hope that, with so many brands all using the In&Motion technology now, we’ll start to see the company reducing its subscription prices.
The control box is the same one used in all In&Motion-equipped riding gear
While there’s a lot more information on how In&Motion works here, all you need to worry about is ensuring it’s charged up and turned on.
If you’re riding along and the unit detects what it thinks to be a cash, it’ll fire the inflator and within 60ms you’ll have the same levels of protection as a MotoGP rider. Unique to In&Motion is that all the data from the box is sent back to the company when it’s charged, via WiFi. This is anonymous, but it helps to refine the algorithms, which can then be updated.
Getting an exact answer on what circumstances will trigger the device is very hard, but incidents like an impact on the road above 35km/h at an angle between 45° and 135° will trigger it, as will a high-side or low-side over 50km/h on track. The built-in GPS can make detection more accurate, and it’s quick to connect, often even in the house, but if you were involved in an accident in a tunnel, the system will still be capable of deploying.
One thing to point out is that you won’t be riding along then suddenly have your subscription cancelled leaving you with a ‘dead’ airbag. You’ll be contacted if there are any problems taking payment long before that, and your card details are held to take the money
On the left is the standard black Level 1 back protector that’s currently used by other brands with In&Motion tech. The orange one is the new Level 2 D30
An airbag offers the potential of a huge amount more protection than ‘passive’ armour, so why bother with the back and optional chest protectors? Well, in the event that the airbag didn’t deploy for whatever reason (maybe after being rear-ended at a junction), having a CE Level 2 back protector means you’ve got the highest level of passive protection always there. The standard back protector used (for now at least) in other brands – including the Ixon Vest – is CE Level 1, but the new D3O version is the same 18mm thick, and well ventilated. Impressive.
The optional chest protectors are the lower CE Level 1, but still unique on an In&Motion airbag system and while they do add extra bulk, they’re also a comforting addition that gives even more protection.
One thing I am conscious of is that as you can’t zip your jacket and trousers together, if the vest inflates it’ll put the jacket up quite high, potentially leaving your belly and lower back exposed. The inflated vest will likely keep you from suffering abrasions in these areas, but it does mean your midriff could be more exposed to impact and slide damage.
Once deployed, the vest should slowly deflate, but in my test of the tech in the Ixon it took a lot longer than the few minutes of demo models I’ve seen (and felt more firmly inflated); in fact, it was more than two hours before it showed any clear signs of starting to become, ermm, flacid. Even then, it was holding its inflated shape, and after 12 hours it still had air in it. Full deflation only happened when I took the spent inflator cartridge out.
When you buy a new inflator for £89.99, it comes with an adaptor that lets you manually pump the vest up to check for leaks; as long as it doesn’t start to deflate in five seconds, you just screw on a new inflator, reconnect the plug and you’re ready to go again.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing was deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the law, and to understand the labels click here.
Here you can see the Furygan vest with and without a jacket
It’s important to note that there needs to be space inside your jacket for the airbag to inflate. This is a little complex, but bear with me… Furygan’s advice is that you first measure around your chest (for me that’s 111cm), then your waist (uh-oh… 106cm – it’s not your trouser size, it’s the biggest part of the belly) without wearing the vest. Now add the two numbers together (217cm). Then, lay your closed jacket on a flat surface and measure around the chest (118cm) and waist areas (113cm), while stretching it as much as you can. The jacket’s total measurements (231cm in the case of my Segura Stripe) need to be greater than or equal to 13cm larger than your combined body measurements. In my case it’s a 14cm, so I’ve got away with it. This doesn’t take into account additional layers or liners you might wear in the winter as you measure the outside of the jacket, but as a ball-park figure it seems okay.
You can wear a rucksack while using the vest, but it can’t be more than 8kg, and there needs to be a 10cm gap if you pull the straps forward from your chest.
You should not zip your jacket and trousers together while wearing the airbag vest, and it’s not designed for one-piece leathers either (best bet there is to buy a set of leathers with it built in, or at least designed for the airbag): if it deployed it could cause a pretty nasty wedgie.
I wasn’t in this when I set it off
I have forced my Ixon airbag vest to deploy by holding it in the air then punching it hard across the garden – this speed was enough for it to trigger as it hit the ground (not in the initial impact as it has to be moving before it’ll deploy). I tried putting my Segura jacket on over it while inflated – and of course couldn’t – though I do think it would just about accommodate it. It’d be very tight, and I’m pretty sure it would cause some pain under the arms at least, but compared to potential broken bones of a serious crash I think it’d worth the discomfort.
Obviously an airbag isn’t breathable, so it’s going to restrict airflow. But not as badly as you might expect – all In&Motion systems are lined with a 3D mesh, and the Furygan’s no different, with a deep mesh that really does let a good amount of air circulate.
In colder weather, the vest of course restricts how many more layers you can add, and it can be difficult to get a heated vest in there – something worth keeping in mind – but that 3D mesh helps create pockets of air that have meant that, outside of deepest winter, I get on fine with my jacket’s own thermal liner and this over a T-shirt.
The optional chest protectors add bulk – and with my Segura jacket they’re a bit too much – the Oxford Hinterland is fine though. Still, in profile you can look pretty chunky with it on (though cakes add that for me), but I reckon I’d look better bouncing down the road in this than without it.
Walking around off the bike, things can get hot, and because the back is quite rigid you’ll need a decent-sized top-box to store it.
The 3D mesh allows a decent amount of air movement
Compared to systems that have the In&Motion airbag built in, I find the vest much more convenient as you can turn it on (it has a sleep mode, but it wakes on movement, so best to shut it down with a double-tap of the button on the back), check the battery light isn’t red, then throw it on; built in systems require you to delve into the back of the jacket to activate and check it, or you can use the app. Ideally, I’d still like In&Motion to make the simple update of giving an audible warning tone when the vest turns on or wakes if the battery is getting low.
Charging the control unit requires removing it from the vest and plugging in a micro-USB cable; let’s hope for USB-C in an update, and charging while it’s fitted if possible.
You’ll get up to 20 hours of riding out of a full charge, which is enough for most people’s weekly commute, or a full weekend of back-road blasts. There’s no charger supplied, which is a bit tight, though you can use any USB charger and I must admit I don’t need any more.
Options are growing when it comes to airbag systems, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Rather than look at other brands that use In&Motion, let’s consider some completely different protection…
These are just three of many alternatives – you can find all the airbag kit we’ve reviewed in our body armour, leather and textiles reviews here.
The optional chest protectors add even more protection to the Furygan
I have to say that I’m finding it increasingly hard to justify In&Motion’s subscription price, especially as it now has the optional Track and Adventure modes at another £25/year (or £8/month). Track mode’s main difference – from what I can work out by talking to club racers – is that it’s less likely to deploy in a gentle low-side, where racers will want to jump back on the machine and carry on. For track days, I’m not sure I’d personally bother changing it from road mode.
Adventure mode is designed for riding unpaved roads, not motocross, and given how slowly I potter around green lanes on my Grom, I’m not surprised I haven’t had it deploy in road mode.
The honest truth is that I won’t ride without either my airbag vest or the Rukka Kastor, and the addition of a CE-Level 2 back protector to the Furygan version means it’s become my go-to. I’ve used the same control box for the last couple of years, and while I did get the first year included as part of the review sample, I’ve since been paying for it; I really do believe in this.
Having said that, after deploying one in my garden then seeing what it would be like under my leather jacket, I am tempted to use the passive Rukka Kastor more often, which also has the advantage of being well-ventilated so cooler when worn with a mesh jacket. In the back of my mind though, I’ll know it’s not got that much greater safety potential of an airbag.
I would like to see the In&Motion system being capable of detecting an impact while you’re stationary, rather than just after the impact if you get launched fast enough, but it’s the faster crashes that this system is designed to protect you against.
I love how this gets better with every ride that every owner of it in every brand makes – thanks to the constantly updating algorithm – and I also really appreciate that, if you were unfortunate enough to be in a crash, it’s likely the vest would be fine, even if your jacket was damaged.
I do think the likes of the Helite e-Turtle are offering a real challenge to this, but the sheer power of being in most of the leading brands (except Dainese and Alpinestars of course, which have their own versions), means the In&Motion system is getting a real foot-hold. I just hope that brings the subscription prices down, in order to make what is a very valuable piece of safety kit more accessible to everyone.
A standalone vest worn under other kit might not be the best choice for everyone, and you do have to be aware of the limitations, but overall the Furygan Airbag vest, is I think, the best implementation of this technology so far for a large proportion of riders.