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Thread: Your view on airbags?

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  1. #1
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Your view on airbags?

    After reading the following, would you consider an airbag as an option?

    Walking away from a crash
    David Booth, National Post Published: Friday, September 05, 2008

    It's probably the best thing to happen to motorcycles since the swingarm rear suspension and yet it doesn't make bikes go any faster. You might only ever use it once, yet it may be the most important purchase you ever make. Every bike should have one, but only one does and it may just save your life one day.

    Just ask Stephane Perry of St-Jerome, Que. He was out riding his 2008 Honda Gold Wing travelling about 100 kilo-metres an hour along Highway 132 when a gentleman -- we'll describe him as fragile -- pulled his Hyundai Tucson into the road without looking. Normally, this would result in either serious injury or tragedy. Since Perry estimates he was still travelling 80 to 90 km/h when he hit the front fender/ wheel of the Hyundai, he might have been thrown over the car into traffic. And that would have been the preferable choice since the other option would be to perform a face plant into the Hyundai's front windshield. Either would traditionally result in a ride in an emergency vehicle with a bright flashing light, a hospital, of course, being the preferable destination.

    Instead, Perry suffered nothing more than a couple of bruises on his legs and a sore shoulder. He was, in fact, in such good shape that the responding police and emergency workers didn't believe he was the accident victim. Considering the damage his mortally wounded Honda had done to the Tucson and the poor Wing lying, now oil-less, on the ground, they were expecting the worst. Instead, here was a fully functioning Perry calmly snapping pictures of the debris and oil spills.

    So, why was Perry standing around for the authorities to arrive when he should have been writhing in pain or at least bleeding profusely?

    Avid readers of your humble scribe may remember that the 2008 Honda Gold Wing is the first motorcycle to come with the inflatable air bag restraints that we four-wheeled enthusiasts take for granted in any modern automobile. Perry certainly didn't forget. In fact, says the businessman, his last thought before ploughing into the errant Hyundai was of the air bag. "I hope it works as advertised." Indeed, it did.

    Instead of hitting the windshield at 80 klicks an hour or becoming one with the pavement at high speed, the entire experience was like "hitting a mattress," so relatively cushy was the impact, Perry says. But it was loud. He says -- as do many motorists who have experienced the same thing in the confines of a sedan or SUV -- that the air bag inflating sounds like a shotgun going off right beside your eardrums.

    "The sound was just terrible," says Perry, noting that it really was the only scary aspect of the entire experience other than those couple of nanoseconds when he realized he was going to T-bone a car at high speed.

    In fact, Perry's real agony didn't start until (and haven't we all heard this before) after the various debris was carted away and his insurance company got involved. First, it shipped the damaged touring bike to a rural Honda dealer ill-equipped to estimate and repair Gold Wings (and, perhaps most importantly, reinstall the bike's air bags). And when he did finally convince the company to transport the wounded beast to a local dealer better equipped to deal with the repair, it insisted Perry pay for the transportation. Imagine the ire of surviving an accident only to have the wound opened by that which is supposed to come to your succour. Needless to say, he's changed agents.

    What hasn't changed is Perry's decision to buy the new Gold Wing as a result of Honda incorporating air bags into the area normally reserved for the gas tank. Sadly, the blue Honda was barely a month old when it suffered its contretemps. A shiny new red one will replace it.

    "A motorcycle without an air bag is not an option anymore," Perry says. And he's the first Canadian to be able to say that from firsthand experience.

  2. #2
    How cold was it? shoeman's Avatar
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    IF the airbag would be shown to work well and prevent a significant number of deaths or injuries I would have no problem with it.
    Jim Johnson, OP Kansas
    Marcus Aurelius: "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

  3. #3
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    interesting reading. I initially thought Honda commercials showed the "Air bag" preventing people from doing a face plant into the side of a vehicle. I.e. lifting or deflecting them over the object they hit. They never showed how it kept the person on the bike.

    Stupid question: How well would it work in a two up situation. Would there be enough resistance to slow to bodies? Probably still far better thna hitting a solid object at "Full Steam Ahead".

    Great post Paul

    Roy

    P.S. Some people would say the air bag is the passenger..
    Roy G.
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    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    The Gold Wing seems to be built for two riders of substance. I did snicker at the concept of an airbag on a motorcycle. But recent events and having this story read at my last motorcycle meeting have me re-examining the airbag concept. It might make an interesting option on an RT, GT or and LT.
    Last edited by PAULBACH; 10-21-2008 at 01:19 PM.

  5. #5
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    I think it's a great idea, and like ABS, it doesn't do anything until you need it.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

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  6. #6
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    I think it's a great idea, and like ABS, it doesn't do anything until you need it.
    ABS does stuff whenever I don't need it all the friggin' time and has on every ABS equipped bike I've ridden. It apparently wasn't designed for rough roads - as you'd find in many cities. As soon as you catch a hint of air (e.g. skimming over some potholes), it releases the brakes. My next bike will *not* have ABS. I pretty much hate it - extra weight, another gadget to fail, another thing to service, and in many many miles, it has only ever activated when I didn't want it to. And I'm not too hard on the brakes (it never activates on smooth pavement). In all the times I've fallen down or come close, ABS wouldn't have done squat. IMHO, it's over-hyped by BMW, but then BMW is the maker of "gadget bikes".

    As to the airbag, at some point I'll just drive a car.

  7. #7
    Registered User xp8103's Avatar
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    Anyone have links to video showing the airbag in action? I'd like to see how it looks, what it looks like, etc.
    As a "windshield survivor" (knocked out cold) I support ALL restraints. But I'd still like to see it in action.
    Nik #140220 - '88 K75C | '96 R1100RS | '77 R100RS | '06 DL650
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    Helmets don't save lives but loud pipes do?

  8. #8
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Here is the link to the static page - still searching for an action sequence.

    click here.

  9. #9
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    I've gone face-first into an airbag when I was in a rather horrid frontal-offset crash many years ago (in a cage). Although I was buckled up, it probably saved me from smashing my face on the steering wheel. I still came away with bruises on my hands, two fat lips, and a slight black eye.

    I've seen the Honda airbag idea when it was still a concept. If it works, great. I'd like to see more details about it - which will unfortunately take more accidents (I don't wish that on anyone, of course). It works well in that situation but I'm surious how it works in other types of accidents - whether it really helps, causes other problems , or what. If it only works in 1% of accidents it's still a good device, though.

    Of course, I probably won't benefit from it for a long time as I'm happy with my Airheads.

  10. #10
    Republic of Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    After reading the following, would you consider an airbag as an option?
    No.
    Mike White
    MOA Life Time Member #57882
    '13 K1300S "30 Years", '95 R1100RS, '88 K75S, '97 Ducati 916, '95 Ducati 900SS CR. Gone, but not forgotten, '75 R90S

  11. #11
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    After reading the following, would you consider an airbag as an option?
    "Option" being the key work...sure, no problem.

    The problem I have with government mandated airbags in cars is that they make it mandatory to have them replaced after an accident and they don't control the rediculous price of the replacements. Companies are taking advantage because they have you by the you know whats.

    In many cases, if all airbags go off in a car, the car might even be a write-off simply due to the cost of them.

  12. #12
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    Picture of Wing Airbag deployed.......

    If it was mine I'd ride deployed all the time..........
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    It's all about the details.

  13. #13
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    After reading the following, would you consider an airbag as an option?
    Just like ABS, I wouldn't buy a motorcycle with an airbag. My choice...that simple!

  14. #14
    RandallIsland
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    ...would you consider an airbag as an option?
    We broke up.
    She lives alone.

  15. #15
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    My understanding of airbags is that you must combine them with restraint belt usage or they will break your neck from the combination of your bodies forward movement and the opposite thrust of the exploding airbag. Is there something I'm missing here on a Goldwing thats unlike a car situation?
    This is kinda off thread but,as for cost of airbags in a car, I'll throw this out for fellow members entertainment: I am currently rebuilding a 2008 BMW 328xi sedan that was totaled by a dealer @ 542K. The airbags that deployed cost me as follows-driver seat side bag$204 list/$175 my cost,driver seat belt pre-tensioner-female$113/$93,left curtain bag and rt curtain bag-"used"$100 each,steering wheel bag"used"-$500,rt passenger bag-dash board"used"$250,Dash board(it blows open a laser cut hole in the dash when the passenger bag deploys) "used"$375,battery positive cable$158/$113(they deploy by separating from the battery).As you can see, these are pricey/over priced items, but do not by themselves cause an expensive car to be totaled even when you factor labor for replacement and the fact is that all to often they don't even deploy when they're supposed to!

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