MCN - - Garage -

Should I blow?

The key to suc­cess­ful de­ploy­ment is early de­tec­tion and recog­ni­tion that it’s an ac­ci­dent, not just some heavy brak­ing or a con­trol­lable rear wheel slide. When the D-Air Street was launched in 2011, it was a two-part sys­tem with a sen­sor kit (the M-kit) and the vest (J-kit). The M-kit has an un­der seat sen­sor to de­tect im­pacts from the rear, fork sen­sors to de­tect front im­pacts and a bar-mounted com­puter pro­ces­sor unit (CPU) that also dis­plays sta­tus. The un­der­seat sen­sor also de­tects if the mo­tor­cy­cle is falling. The M-kit is pow­ered from the bike’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem and the J-kit has a self-con­tained bat­tery that is recharged by a phone-style charger. Dainese claim over 20 hours of rid­ing time from one charge. The LCD dis­play on the CPU in­forms the rider of the sta­tus of the vest’s bat­tery, whether the two kits are con­nected prop­erly and flags up any er­rors with the sys­tem. The J-kit and M-kit both have phone-style SIM cards and com­mu­ni­cate wire­lessly. If it de­tects an ac­ci­dent, the M-kit sends the sig­nal to in­flate the airbag and it takes 45 mil­lisec­onds from first con­tact be­tween bike and a for­eign ob­ject for the vest to be fully in­flated. The dis­ad­van­tage of this sys­tem is that if you sell the bike the M-kit needs to be re­moved and set-up on your new ma­chine. The D-Air Race ver­sion and the Alpines­tars Tech-Air Street have al­ways had on-board pro­ces­sors and the D-Air Street is the same for 2017.

Road or Race?

The main dif­fer­ence be­tween Road and Race with Alpines­tars and Dainese is the de­ploy­ment cir­cum­stances. As there are a lot of rel­a­tively low-speed get-offs by rac­ers dur­ing prac­tice, the D-Air Race only ac­ti­vates above 50kph and it has to be a high­side and low­side with rolling, sim­i­larly with Alpines­tars. Be­cause road ac­ci­dents are of­ten col­li­sions, and be­low 30mph the Street ver­sions have a 10kph ac­ti­va­tion speed and can de­tect headon and lat­eral col­li­sions with ei­ther sta­tion­ary or mov­ing ob­jects, as well as high­sides and fi­nally low­sides with or with­out rolling. At 50 kph (31mph) the av­er­age time be­tween a mo­tor­cy­cle mak­ing ini­tial con­tact with, say, a car and the rider hit­ting that car is just 100 mil­lisec­onds. Alpines­tars used a tar­get of 70 mil­lisec­onds, Dainese trig­gers in 40 mil­lisec­onds.


An­other dif­fer­ence is the ca­pac­ity of the airbags them­selves. The D-Air Rac­ing Misano is 4 litres and cov­ers the shoul­ders, col­lar­bone and back. The Mugello R is 9 litres - cov­er­ing again the back, shoul­ders, col­lar­bone and lower rib cage (false ribs). The Street Range is 11 litres and cov­ers the chest as well. The road-go­ing ver­sion of Tech-Air also takes in the shoul­ders, chest, full back and also the sides. Alpines­tars also switched to a new one-piece wo­ven ma­te­rial for 2015 in which the bag is cre­ated en­tirely in the loom, with no sub­se­quent stitch­ing or cut­ting. The re­sult is a very fine, thin airbag.

An­drea Dovizioso’s Mo­toGP race airbag suit in ac­tion

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