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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: How should I attach the lanyard to my saddle?

    A: Quite a strong pulling force (66 to 77 lbs) is required to activate the airbag. If you are using an English saddle, then order an English saddle strap that attaches to your stirrup bars and connect lanyard via this strap. Western riders should use a night latch or strong nylon dog collar, which you insert through the loop in the lanyard and then buckle securely around your pommel. If you have an endurance saddle without a hole under the pommel, then you could use our Amish saddle strap which can be attached to secure rings on your saddle. We do not recommend attaching to a saddle horn (may be pulled off of horn depending on trajectory of fall), using a carabiner or decorative saddle ring, or wrapping lanyard around the pommel (may cause lanyard to be too short). See more detail by clicking on our Bungee Lanyard and Night Latch located under Accessories.

    Q: If a rider forgets to release the lanyard (bungee lanyard or coiled wire) when dismounting the horse, will the airbag activate? What is the activation distance?

    A: Quite a strong pulling force (66 to 77 lbs) is required to activate the airbag. When dismounting, the rider may feel a strong tug and realize that he/she has forgotten to disconnect the one-touch release. However, be careful not to dismount a horse forcibly to avoid unnecessary activation. Always disconnect the one-touch connector before dismounting a horse. The vest will deploy when the activation distance is reached. This activation distance is dependent on the fully extended length of the lanyard, which can vary depending on model and the adjustment of the lanyard length. The length of the motorcycle or horse lanyard is all based on the user. If you want a faster deployment time, then the rider should shorten the lanyard to make the key ball pull out sooner into a fall or dismount.

    Q: What are the differences between vest models?

    A: The H-Model or Advantage offers wider hip coverage, since this model has two smaller telescoping hip airbags that deploy instead of a single large rear drop down airbag. The Advantage along with the newer PRO model have added padding behind the cartridge to minimize sound. The Advantage has the quickest (.09 sec) gas release mechanism and has a single adjustable belt near the bottom buckle. The PRO and MLV models have the largest side airbag and rear drop down bag, and have adjustable belts on both sides near the bottom buckle. The MLV reflective models are designed for both motorcycle and equestrian riders; there is a longer coiled wire option for the motorcycle. The MLV-YC is a highly visible yellow flourescent color and has fully reflective Lumidex material. The LV and SV2 models were the original models and have the smallest rear drop-down airbag. The smaller 48cc cartridge and older style keybox for the LV and SV2 are located behind the airbag next to the rider's body unlike all other newer models, where the airbag is behind the keybox. The LV and smaller SV2 are often seen on eventers and jumpers, who wear these over the hard vests.

    Q: How much does the Hit-Air vest weigh, including cartridge?


    H-Model About 38oz depending on size
    SV-2 Model About 34oz
    LV Model About 34oz
    MLV and PRO Models About 42oz; depending on size

    Q: If an airbag is activated and inflated, can it be reused?

    A: Yes, it can be reused over and over again provided it has not been damaged. Simply replace the gas cartridge using the tool-kit that came with the vest. See inspection and servicing option category on this website for recommendations.

    How to replace a cartridge in the H-Model/Advantage

    Q: If an inflated airbag is damaged by friction with the road surface in an accident, will it still be effective?
    A: Yes, in fact the job of the airbag will already have been done - that is it will have dissipated the shock well before it is torn or damaged. If you are concerned that the vest has been compromised after the accident, see the Vest Inspection and Servicing option on this website.
    Q: How long will the gas cartridge last?
    A: Indefinitely, but it should be replaced if the surface shows any signs of deterioration or rust. (Of course, activated cartridges must be replaced.)
    Q: Can I use a vest with buckles on a saddle with a horn?
    A: Yes, but realize that it is possible to snag your buckle on the horn, so unbuckle before dismounting. It is possible even to snag the zippered model Advantage or any article of clothing, so be careful to avoid snagging your vest. Also, we warn not to attach your lanyard/tether/coiled wire to the horn, since the lanyard could be pulled loose from the horn depending on the trajectory of the rider.
    Q: Can I wear a light backpack or something similar overtop an Hit-Air vest?
    A: Yes, but be careful that the straps or anything worn over the vest do not press against the airbag interfering with its ability to inflate freely. We generally recommend if wearing the vest with a coat that you wear the vest over the coat to insure that the vest inflation is not restricted. Optional Hit-Air buckle extenders permit expanding both the top and bottom vest buckles. We do wear a duster like the Muddy Creek rain coat over the vest, since there is plenty of room for expansion of the vest.
    Q: What maintenance is required for the Hit-Air vest?
    A: If you are concerned that your Hit-Air vest is damaged and it is not over 5 years old, we can direct you to the authorized Hit-Air service provider/importer to inspect your vest and insure it is still functioning as intended. During inspection, your Hit-Air vest is checked for proper inflation and deflation and the outer material is checked for damage. If they encounter any issues with your vest, they will call you to discuss next steps for repair or replacement. Hit-Air recommends annual inspection and will not service a vest over 5 years old. They can perform minor repairs. The service provider will direct you to print out their downloadable service form, fill it out, and ship it to them with your vest. After inspection and servicing, they will ship it back to you within 5-7 business days after receiving the vest. Your vest is shipped back to you with a new CO2 cartridge. The cost for this service is currently $70 plus shipping. You may also choose to test your vest by manually deploying your vest. Note that it requires at least 66 to 77 pounds of force to activate your vest, so it may require a strong person to quickly yank the lanyard with one hand while pressing against the vest with the other hand. We recommend you hang the vest in a controlled environment when not in use. You can clean with a damp cloth, but do not put in washer or use harsh chemicals. Check the cartridge for rust or corrosion and replace if you see signs of corrosion. If you had a particularly bad accident and are concerned about the vest's integrity, you may want to test deploying the vest, but realize that it requires a strong pull (66 lbs of force) to deploy the vest. We had a customer bring her vest to our home, thinking the vest was damaged, since they could not deploy the vest. I attached a special attachment with a handle that we use to test deploy a vest and the vest was fine.
    Q: What is the purpose of the red plastic slide below the gas cartridge?
    A: The red plastic slide must always be in the up position to enable the vest to deploy; the red slide is not required for operation of the vest. You can optionally slide this red slide down over the key-ball when re-inserting the key-ball after a vest deployment. The red slide will only go down covering the key-ball if the key-ball has been correctly seated. If you use the red slide when reloading your vest after a deployment, you must insure that you slide the red slide back in the up position or the vest will not deploy. Also, do not replace the cartridge before you have re-inserted the key-ball mechanism.
    Q: How can I tell a used deployed gas cartridge from a new one?
    A: The used cartidge will have a hole in the seal at the bottom end of the cartridge.
    A: According to TSA's website, a life vest can be in carry on or checked luggage, however it is up to TSA discretion. It is important you tell TSA that it is a “life vest” as seen in their website link. We suggest you print the form, found on the TSA website, and bring it with your vest. The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.
    Q: How Mugen Denko developed the Hit-air?

    Mugen Denko, LTD manufacturer of the Hit-air brand of Safety apparel is the world’s oldest manufacturer of airbag safety apparel. Mugen Denko began research and development work on an airbag system in 1995. The airbag jacket was invented and patented by Mr. Kenji Takeuchi. Three years later in 1998, Mugen Denko presented the world’s first airbag jacket for motorcyclists.

    The U.S. lags behind Europe in its establishment of legislation that requires standards for all Personal Protective Equipment such as safety apparel.

    In 1999, Mugen Denko launched its airbag jacket in Europe where the safety standards are the highest in the world. In that same year Mugen Denko supplied some of the top apparel manufacturers’ in Europe with airbag systems, including world famous S P I D I of Italy, I X S of Switzerland and LOUIS of Germany.

    These are the among the achievements of Mugen Denko over the past decade:

    2000 Awarded Gold Trophy at the "Salon du Cheval" in Paris with the HP model.

    2001 Launched the Hit-air jacket.

    2003 Supplied the Police Headquarters in Japan with the airbag vests for the motorcycle police.

    Obtained the CE* Marking approval by the EU for our airbag vest of MC Model. Launched the airbag vest for horse riding.
    2004 Supplied the Spanish Police with the airbag vests.

    2005 Awarded the highest prize at the JPMS Motorcycle Show in France. Launched the buckle type one-touch connector of increased strength and reliability, jointly developed by YKK and Mugen Denko.

    2006 Signed OEM deals with top-brand apparel manufacturers for the supply of airbag jackets and vests. Supplied the Imperial Guard Headquarters with airbag vests for horse riding. Launched smaller and lighter key box (Y-type), jointly developed by YKK and Mugen Denko.

    • 2007 Authorized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to make a plan to develop the new business field on the basis of multisectoral collaboration.

    • 2008 Introduction JV vest model improved materials. Introduction of the Female Jacket FR and FFE model (this latter one in agreement with European Standards established by FFE: Fédération Française d’Équitation)

    New testings on Hit Air jackets and vests done by the JARI (Japanese Automobile Research Institute) bring up outstanding and positive results for safety.

    • 2009 S-System: Introduction of an improved key box (a device to activate the airbag system) cutting the deployment time in half. Commissioned the world famous Japanese Automobile Research Institute (JARI) to conduct an Airbag Jacket Deployment Test. Of the 20 tests the fastest deployment speed test T-09* was 120msec.

    *The CE marking certifies that a product has met EU consumer safety, health or environmental requirements CE stands for " Conformité Européenne ".