Tested: In&Motion airbag vest review

Full review of the wireless In&Motion airbag tech, which is found in Ixon, RST, Furygan, Held, Klim and more motorcycle kit. Is this the best for safety?

The airbag coverage offered by In&Motion is the same across all the brands that use the technology – here it’s shown in the Ixon universal airbag vest

 

Date reviewed: March 2020 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: 120 Euro/year | www.inemotion.com

 

Motorcycle airbag technology has come a long way in the past few years – from initial ideas that saw airbags fitted to bikes, to the tether-triggered devices like Helite and the wireless Dainese and Alpinestars options.

The Helite, which is set off by a lanyard attached to the bike, offers a fairly universal and easily rechargeable system, whereas the Italian brands’ devices have advanced electronic triggering but have to be sent away for repair once they’ve fired.

Based in the French Alps, In&Motion has developed a completely stand-alone airbag that’s compatible with a wide range of products, from the Ixon vest (designed to be worn under the majority of kit), to Furygan, RST and Held textiles and leathers, with other brands like Klim expected to come on board shortly.

While this review focusses on the In&Motion box itself, you can read our reviews of it in various brands by checking out the product review pages.

 

For and against
  • Very simple to use
  • Excellent coverage of the body
  • Compatible with a wide range of products
  • Battery indicator is on the app or often hidden inside jacket
  • Extra cost for track use seems excessive
  • Support could be a little better

 

What is In&Motion?

The In&Motion box itself is little bigger than a smartphone; the airbag it plugs into is basically the same across all the brands, made up of a CE-approved Level 1 back-protector and an airbag that also covers the back, shoulders/neck and chest.

The concept was originally developed in collaboration with Ixon, using its sponsored racers Bradley Smith and Aleix Espargaro, as well as by sending 500 vests out to road riders around Europe; all of the data gathered has helped to develop the algorithms that control the deployment.

Every time the In&Motion box is plugged in to charge (via a micro-USB cable), it uses WiFi to send its usage data back to In&Motion, which allows the company to further refine the software analysing data from the built-in sensors that – when what’s considered an ‘unrecoverable imbalance is detected – fire the gas inflator… all within less than 60ms. Because that usage information is constantly fed back to In&Motion, a new update was rolled out in March, the result of more than 12 million km of data.

As soon as you pick up your jacket or leathers, the box automatically arms, so there’s no faffing with switches. However, unlike the Dainese and Alpinestars systems, there are also no lights on the outside for you to check. GPS is used by the system, but it’s not essential so you won’t have any problems with it arming immediately – the AlpineStars Big Sur I tested was quite a hassle to get armed as it needed to calibrate every time you zipped up.

 

In&Motion crash test

A demonstration of the incredible speed of deployment of the airbag system in an Ixon vest

 

What crashes are detected by In&Motion?

What the In&Box determines to be an ‘unrecoverable imbalance’ isn’t easy to nail down, and the company is understandably reluctant to guarantee that any and all scenarios would be covered – no bike kit can promise to save you in every accident.

How the system reacts to a low-side or high-side will vary depending on whether it’s in road or track mode (selectable via the Android / iOS app). Obvious 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. 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 very likely to deploy.

 

Full review of the wireless In&Motion airbag tech, which is found in Ixon, RST, Furygan, Held, Klim and more motorcycle kit. Is this the best for safety?

 

How do I charge my In&Motion box?

The battery should last 20 hours of continuous riding, and takes up to three hours to charge fully. It’ll consume a lot less power in sleep mode (which it enters automatically), but it only takes the lightest of knocks to wake it up. Realistically, most riders will get a week’s use out of it before needing to recharge, but you do need to remove the box, then plug it into a USB charger (which isn’t supplied – you only get the cable).

The only real issue is that there are no external indicators, so you while you see the battery status the moment you pick up the Ixon vest, on the other brand’s products – where the vest is zipped or clipped in – you can’t easily see the warning LEDs that flash when there’s only 45 minute of charge left (though you can also check it on the app). I asked In&Motion about the possibility of an audible warning in a future update and was told that it will be suggested to the development team.

 

Full review of the wireless In&Motion airbag tech, which is found in Ixon, RST, Furygan, Held, Klim and more motorcycle kit. Is this the best for safety?

The inflator can be replaced by the owner – a new one costs £79.99

 

How much does an In&Motion airbag cost?

It’s important to understand that the garment you buy, be it a standalone vest, a jacket or a set of leathers, contains the bag itself, the gas canister and the back-protector that the box clips into. The price of these garments will vary, the cheapest options currently being Ixon’s £379.99 IX-U03 airbag vest or RST’s £399.99 GT airbag textile jacket.

Whatever you choose, you’ll receive the control box separately, then need to register it and pay for it at my.inemotion.com with three payment options available:

  • Buy the In&Motion box (called the In&Box) outright for 399 Euro
  • Subscribe at 120 Euro per year
  • Pay 12 Euros a month.

While you will have the box, it won’t work until you register, and you can’t register without locking your credit card details in.

In&Motion promises that, besides regular software updates, there will be new versions of the hardware; if you pay by subscription, after three consecutive years you’ll be eligible to receive the latest control box. Also, after the same period, if you want to buy it you can for £99.

With a monthly subscription you can cancel at any time, then send the box back, or you can pause the payments for two, three or four months, though you can only do it once a year and you still have to pay 4 Euros per month; during this time, your airbag won’t work at all. If you pay yearly for a subscription, you’ll need to let In&Motion know that you want to cancel before the renewal date and send the box back before that date too (they’ll check the postmark/shipping details).

What option you choose will depend on your finances of course – In&Motion sees its product as akin to a mobile phone, which you expect to replace every three years or so due to new technology. The hardware has been evolving since it 2016, but only time will tell when it comes to the value of new equipment.

What comes as a surprise to some purchasers is that these prices don’t include track riding – a second algorithm is available for track use, which costs an additional 25 Euro / year or 8 Euro / month, regardless of how you pay for the box.

Here’s a breakdown of ownership costs based on three years:

Over three years

Monthly sub

Yearly sub

Outright payment

Road only

432 Euro

360 Euro

399 Euro

With monthly track

720 Euro

648 Euro

687 Euro

With yearly track

512 Euro

435 Euro

474 Euro

 

 

Full review of the wireless In&Motion airbag tech, which is found in Ixon, RST, Furygan, Held, Klim and more motorcycle kit. Is this the best for safety?

The inflator clips into the back-protector

 

What happens if I have a problem with the In&Motion airbag?

If you pay by subscription, the In&Motion control box – or In&Box – warranty is unlimited; if something goes wrong, and it can’t be sorted out over the phone, they promise to send out a replacement within 72 hours. If you buy the box outright, the warranty lasts two years.

I found setting up the In&Box easy, with simple step-by-step instructions, though I did struggle to get it to conduct its first update. Unplugging it from the charger then plugging it back in again solved the issue, but I also found the membership and billing forms a little clunky on a phone.

I did speak to one owner who’d had more of an issue; he contacted In&Motion, who pointed him to the videos, but there are currently only three, and they’re all in French with English subtitles; the rest of the videos are promotional shoots – in the end he managed to set the box up using a friend’s phone.

To be fair to In&Motion, I had a look at his app and found he was struggling to make the intial setup as he had location services turned off, and the app was flagging up a warning. He’d missed this though as he had left activation until the day before his son’s first race to save money, so was in something of a panic. Once I’d turned his location services back on, everything went smoothly.

Setting up the In&Box will be simple in almost all cases, but given the cost of subscription I’d expect a slightly slicker customer experience. It was also disappointing to get an email from In&Motion entirely in French… only after copying and pasting all the text into Google Translate did I understand that it was a notification of an update, and that I’d need to have the app connected when I plugged the box in to charge in order to deploy it.

The support offered from the garment brands will likely vary – while it’s early days, RST is currently the only brand that has stated it will offer its own support where necessary, and its airbag dealer training programme also promises to offer advice, but the company has said it will make itself the first point of contact for anyone with difficulties.

Ultimately, while the product has been on the market for over a year with the Ixon vest, it’s only now gaining more awareness as other brands take it on. I’m confident that small kinks in customer service will soon be ironed out; I emailed the company to ask about carrying the system on a flight and had a very helpful reply within an hour.

 

Full review of the wireless In&Motion airbag tech, which is found in Ixon, RST, Furygan, Held, Klim and more motorcycle kit. Is this the best for safety?

The In&Motion system was first developed for the Ixon IX-U03 universal airbag vest

 

What motorcycle kit is compatible with the In&Motion airbag?

The first implementation of the In&Motion box was in Ixon’s IX-U03 airbag vest – this was what set the development for the product, with 500 riders around Europe wearing it with a variety of kit (as well as Espargaro and Smith in MotoGP). The vest is designed to be worn under any kit, as long as it’s not very tight; Ixon says the vest shouldn’t be worn under other brands of race leathers, as theirs are designed to accommodate the vest when it deploys, which is understandable with particularly close-fitting leathers.

Ixon is currently the only manufacturer offering a standalone vest, and it’s proving popular with riders that already have kit they don’t want to change; apparently one of the major markets is motorcyclists with Rukka textile kit.

RST has the airbag built into variations of its top-end leathers and textiles, yet the company has kept costs impressively low, the Race Department V4.1 Airbag Leather One-Piece suit costing £899.99 with the airbag system fitted (like everything else, you’ll still need to buy the box) – that’s £100 less than the V4 one-piece, thanks to some changes to the construction that allowed the company to save some money.

The potential disadvantage with RST’s aimplementation is that, if the garment is severely damaged in a crash, the whole thing needs replacing.

Furygan’s approach is to have an airbag vest that can be zipped into a range of its products, like the excellent £199.99 Apalaches textile jacket or the beautifully-made £359.99 Vince V3 leather jacket. The vest itself costs £379.99, but it can’t be worn on its own.

Held also offers its own In&Motion vest, which again can’t be worn on its own, but clips into the garment. Every brand has its own unique fitting method, and while they’ll all extol the virtues of their own product, the Ixon vest offers the most cross-brand versatility outside of race leathers.

 

Full review of the wireless In&Motion airbag tech, which is found in Ixon, RST, Furygan, Held, Klim and more motorcycle kit. Is this the best for safety?

 

You can of course swap the In&Motion control box between any of these garments, which is what I’ve been doing – so one subscription or outright payment will cover the controller’s use in anything that has the airbag fitted.

There are a couple of things to be aware of – a rucksack / backpack shouldn’t be worn with any versions of the In&Motion airbag, and nor should it be used with jackets that have a strap going under the crotch. Equally, In&Motion says it cannot be worn with a jacket that zips to trousers, but I’d suggest common sense here; try pulling the jacket upwards to see if anything between your legs is liable to getting trapped should the airbag deploy.

 

What happens if the In&Motion airbag fires?

If the airbag does go off, it’ll inflate to protect your back, support your neck and cover your shoulders, as well as right down your chest. Then, over a few minutes, it’ll slowly deflate.

Unlike the Dainese and Alpinestars competitors, if your airbag deploys you can recharge it yourself. A new canister, which is similar to those used in cars, costs £79.99 and comes with an insert that allows you to inflate the bag with a tyre pump in order to check that it hasn’t been damaged in firing

 

Can you trigger it by accident?

Can ‘normal’ handling make the airbag go off by mistake?

 

Will it go off by accident?

I’ve tried as hard as I can, and haven’t been able to trigger the In&Motion airbag by accident; I’ve thrown it across the room, down the stairs and jumped up and down on the trampoline, as well as thrown myself around while riding.

While it goes to sleep automatically, it wakes up at the slightest movement, so if you’ve got it in the back of a car, or you’re taking it on a flight you must turn it off. You can download a transportation document to show airlines from the website.

To turn the box off, simply double-tap the centre button; doing the same turns it on again. There is a slide switch, but this must never be used without first shutting the box down with a double-tap.

In&Motion says the system isn’t designed for off-road or enduro use though of course, for the average adventure rider who’s not tackling more extreme surfaces, it’s unlikely to have a false deployment. In&Motion says that there is an off-road algorithm in development; hopefully it won’t be at an additional cost.

 

Full review of the wireless In&Motion airbag tech, which is found in Ixon, RST, Furygan, Held, Klim and more motorcycle kit. Is this the best for safety?

 

Conclusion: is this the best airbag system?

There can be no argument that an airbag can significantly reduce the risk of injury, and I really appreciate the fact that, while Dainese and Alpinestars have been bickering about copyright and exclusivity, In&Motion has produced a system that is bringing access to the technology to almost any rider.

It’s not cheap, but in many ways the subscription model does make sense. On the other hand, a typical road rider can get a textile jacket with an airbag, and purchase the box outright, for less than £800. The box will still work in any other compatible kit, so they could buy leathers without the expense of more electronics. Compared to the £1,099.95 Dainese Carve jacket I reviewed – which has much smaller airbag coverage and when it’s crashed, the whole thing’s ruined – or the Alpinestars airbag vest, which costs £999.99 before you can fit it only in other Alpinestars products (like the £899.99 Big Sur jacket), and the In&Motion price seems far more palatable. Remember; once you have an In&Motion control box, it will work in an ever-expanding range of products from various brands.

The new Dainese D-Air Smart Jacket fits over or under any bike kit, and priced at £569.95, it’s an attractive alternative. However it doesn’t support the neck when inflated and it has to be professionally recharged; specialist Dainese stockists like BikeStop can do it, but as the whole airbag has to be replaced, it costs £250.

The other option is a tethered airbag like the Helite, which costs between £499 and £649. These can be worn over any other kit, and give excellent coverage, but can be fractioanlly slower to trigger than an electronic system due to the split second required as the tether is pulled tight. On the other hand, you can recharge them very easily for just £19. Do not confuse these quality air bags with flotation devices that are being sold on eBay for around £100… those are NOT tested for use on motorcycles, despite the misleading certificates shown in the listings.

Over time, I hope the subscription price will drop for the In&Motion system; as more people start to use it, the high development costs should start to be recouped. I do think that charging extra for the track algorithm is a little unreasonable, but overall, given the excellent coverage and versatility of this kit, I thoroughly recommend it. I certainly don’t want to ride without it ever again…

 

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