Honda developing next-generation bike airbags

Patents show airbag designed for a wider range of motorcycles

At the moment the Honda Goldwing is still the only bike you can buy with an airbag but it looks like the firm is developing a new system that will be suitable for a far wider range of machines.

Unlike the Goldwing arrangement, where the bag inflates above the tank, the new system projects the airbag forwards above the instruments. That's because riders of less laid-back bikes than the Wing could be crouched over the tank when the airbag inflates.

The new bag is also much higher than the Goldwing's, to cater for the fact that most bikes have a higher centre of gravity than the low-slung tourer, and are likely to pitch forward in a head-on accident. Adding extra height to the airbag gives a better chance of catching the rider and absorbing at least some of the impact.

Finally, the design – which is revealed in newly filed patents from the firm, and shown fitted to a CB1300 – features a triangular-shaped airbag, wider at the top than the bottom. Again, that's to improve the chances of the rider hitting it as he's thrown off the bike. The patent also reveals a system that can tilt the airbag left or right depending on the steering angle at the moment of impact to give an even better chance of successfully coming between the rider and something much harder.