We’ve seen airbags sneaking into the world of motorcycles a bit recently, what with Honda’s airbag-equipped Goldwing and ripcord-operated inflating jackets from Motoair and Hit-Air, which are triggered by a sudden unplanned separation of bike and rider. But Dainese have gone one step further, recognising that in racing, riders often hit the ground while still on their bikes in lowside crashes.
The Dainese D-Air system is mounted in the upper back aero hump of the leather racing suit, and uses a series of accelerometers and electronically operated rate gyros to determine when things have gone skewiff on the racetrack. It then deploys in 40 milliseconds, providing neck, shoulder and collarbone cushioning to the falling rider before they hit the deck.
It’s strictly a racing system at the moment, under trial by Dainese-sponsored 125GP riders Simone Giorgi, Michael Ranseder and Marco Simoncelli (pictured above at Valencia), all of whom have taken the opportunity to put the airbag through its paces in race and practice crashes.
A road version will likely be investigated once Dainese are happy with the system’s performance on track. It won’t be cheap, but having seen a lot of friends deal with nasty collarbone and shoulder injuries, I’d rate it as a serious safety tool. After the jump, take a look at a video of the D-Air system in action thanks to a Dainese test rider… And you thought your job was a drag!
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