Motorcycle Insurance

Five of the best airbag safety systems for motorcyclists


Serious motorcyclists have always sworn by a good set of leathers as the best way to save their skin in the event of an accident.

And while that still holds true today, a new generation of protective clothing using airbag systems similar to that found in cars is finding favour among safety-conscious bikers.

Here, specialist insurance broker Bikesure takes a look at five of the best airbag systems on the market from those costing a few hundred pounds to race suits for the fatter wallet.

Bikesure offers cover for helmets, leathers and protective clothing for as little as £32 a year.


Spidi Neck DPS Airbag Vest


An over-vest with a DPS airbag system, this sleeveless jacket is designed to be worn over your normal protective clothing, with numerous Velcro fasteners to ensure it fits over any type of clothing (including race suits).

A double cushion wraps around the rider’s neck, with the airbags activating within 0.2 seconds when its connection with the bike, via Kevlar wires, is broken.

The airbags help to reduce potentially damaging neck movements and should also help prevent rolling.

A good quality, affordable item, but the sizing may be a little on the small side, so it may be worth buying a size or two larger than you think you will need.

Price: From £290 to £315


Hit-Air MLV-Y High Viz Air Bag Vest


This over-vest provides inflatable protection for the neck, back, ribs and coccyx, and also comes in a highly visible yellow with reflective strips.

Attached to the bike with a key system, it inflates within 0.25 seconds and protects the entire torso, not just the neck.

Hit-Air were early pioneers of airbag jackets, having been in the market way back in 1995, and is used by police forces around the world.

It should be used over a normal motorcycle jacket, and can be re-used after inflation just be replacing the CO2 cartridge.

It’s also suitable for equestrian use, if you also happen to ride a horse!

Price: About £450


Moto-Air Wairbag jackets


Wairbag offers a range of vests and jackets as UK distributors of the Moto-Air brand, from lightweight summer jackets to winter wear.

The partially reflective jackets’ airbag system protects the whole torso from front to back, with adjustable sleeves, waist and cuff.

Sizes range from small to a well-fed (or muscular) XXXXL, and the airbags should inflate when the ripcord is activated in about 0.2 seconds.

An added reason for making our list is this incredible promotional video.

Prices: From £298 to £398



Dainese D-Air One Piece Suit


One for the racers, or at least for those who love a track day. The Dainese one-piece suit has been 10 years in the making, and claims to reduce the effects of impact by as much as 92 per cent.

It was worn by none other than Valentino Rossi, who survived a high-speed crash in 2010 with no bruising at all to his shoulders.

As well as providing airbag protection, a GPS unit located in the hump of the suit allows riders to download lap times, speed, angles of lean, track position, acceleration and deceleration.

Unlike the cheaper systems, the D-Air inflates without any connection to the motorcycle, instead using three accelerometers and three gyroscopes in a “brain” that can distinguish normal riding conditions from a crash situation.

As you’d expect, it’s pricier than the more low-tech solutions.

Price: From £2,400 to £3,240


Alpinestars Tech Air Race airbag one-piece suit


Another high quality one-piece airbag race suit, the Alpinestars suit provides shoulder and back airbag protection, and inflates from trigger to full deployment in an astonishing 0.05 seconds.

As with the Dainese suit, it provides race data and a crash-identification algorithm, removing the need for ripcords.

Worn on the track by the likes of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, the suit won a Best of What’s New award from Popular Science magazine on its launch to the public in 2011.

Inflation uses a nitrogen-based gas mix and a dual action system allows the rider to remount after a crash, ready to go again.

Earlier this year (2013), Marc Marquez survived a 210mph crash in practice for the Italian GP when his airbags deployed 30 milliseconds before his impact with the tarmac.

Price: About $5,000 for the full Tech Air system




Bikesure’s top ten insurance FAQs



Bikesure, a specialist motorbike insurance broker, has been answering customers’ queries about insurance for years and there are some topics that crop up time after time. Here the Bikesure team has put together a list of top ten FAQs.

1)     What information do I need to provide to get insurance?

In addition to personal information you will need to provide full details of the make and model of your motorcycle, the year it was made and the registration number, its approximate value, the date you bought it, any modifications, details of claims, convictions or accidents and details of any security devices on your bike.


2)     How can I prove my no claims bonus?

The easiest way is to use your renewal quote from your existing insurer. Otherwise you should contact your previous insurer who will usually send you a no claims bonus proof.


3)     Do I need to declare any accidents?

You must state any accidents, claims or losses not just those relating to your motorcycle. It may not affect your premium, but failure to do this may invalidate your policy.


4)     How soon will my bike be covered?

Usually cover can start as soon as your insurance provider has received payment and confirmed cover. If you are making alterations to an existing policy then these take effect immediately.


5)     What is the difference between fully comprehensive insurance and third party?

Third party cover simply insures you in the event that you cause damage to other vehicles, persons, or property in an accident. It will not cover any damage to you or to your bike. It is the minimum level of cover that you need to drive on UK roads; having this in place is a legal requirement.
Fully comprehensive insurance covers the above but also your motorcycle in the event it was involved in an accident or by fire or theft. Malicious damage, flood damage and accidental damage would also be covered but exclusions can apply.


6)     Is there anything I can do to reduce my insurance premium?

Often taking advanced motorcycle tests reduces your premium. Other measures include joining owner’s clubs, reducing your annual mileage and taking security precautions such as locking or garaging your bike.


7)     Does my insurance cover me for riding other peoples’ bikes?

You need to check your policy carefully for this, as it depends on your insurance provider. Generally, the bike you are insuring must have an engine size of 351cc or over to get ‘ride your mates bike’ cover. This will usually give you third party only insurance whilst riding their bike. Of course in all cases you must have permission from the owner.


8)     Can I insure riders other than myself for my bike?

It is usually possible to add a rider providing they have the relevant licence for the vehicle in question, but you need to provide full rider information including any previous claims and convictions.


9)     Can I insure my bike gear as well?

Insurance providers often offer helmet and leathers policies that can be added alongside your bike policy.


10)  Will my insurance cover me if I carry pillion passengers on my bike?

You can carry pillion riders on your motorbike provided that you are over 17 and hold either a full UK motorcycle licence, A1 or A2 motorcycle licence.


If you have a bike that is under 50cc, you can automatically carry a pillion if you have a full UK car licence dated from before 01/02/2001.


If you obtained your full UK licence after this date, you must take a CBT first, but this is then valid for life rather than the normal 2 years for CBT’s. This will only ever apply to mopeds.


In all cases, it’s advisable to tell your insurance company if you intend to carry a pillion to make sure they have catered for pillion cover.



Mature Bikers Insurance


According to Nich Brown of Motorcycle Action Group UK, the number of older bikers in Britain has risen over the past decade.

There could be many reasons why. Motorbikes are much cheaper to run than cars, as they require far less fuel. There’s also an added romance in hitting the road on a bike, and for many this may seem both an appealing retirement prospect, and another way to recapture their youth.

bikeA big bonus in embracing your inner biker at a later stage in life is that the insurance tends to be a lot cheaper. Most mature riders are more experienced with road hazards than teenagers and young adults. Whether they have learnt from past mistakes or are naturally more cautious, mature riders are less prone to accidents. Insurers like this.

Bikesure, the freethinking insurance broker, offers a range of policies and discounts ideal for mature riders from its wide network of insurers.  Because it is a broker and not a straightforward insurance company, Bikesure compares policies from a range of different providers in order to ensure its clients get the best deal they can.

Bikesure now offers discounts for riders as young as 30 returning to two wheels after a break. For those who have either taken a longer sabbatical, or want to get into motorcycles at a later stage in their lives, Bikesure has recently introduced a 60 plus scheme. This policy is applicable to anyone between the ages of 60 and 80, subject to terms and conditions. For more information on both policies contact Bikesure directly.


If you are an experienced older motorcyclist you may also benefit from Bikesure’s ‘performance bike experience’ discount, which you can also find out more about by contacting the sales team.

Older and more experienced riders are often more likely to have an expensive model compared with younger riders just starting out. While some companies are put off by expensive vehicles, Bikesure can look into arranging an agreed value cover to compensate the full value of the motorcycle if your bike is written off. The same goes for unusual vehicles, from retro mopeds to modified streetfighters. Because of its vast network of policy providers, Bikesure is able to get cover directly suited to the individual’s needs, however unconventional these may be.

Mature riders should also make use of other discounts Bikesure offers that aren’t necessarily age specific. For example, owners’ club membership discount can reduce the overall cost of a policy significantly, and you can sign up to an owners club, such as Yamaha and Suzuki, quickly and hassle-free online.

Recognising that mature riders may use their bikes more in leisure time than as a regular source of transport, Bikesure also offers a limited mileage discount. | Specialist Motorcycle Insurance

FAQs | Contact Us | 0800 089 2000


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