Motorcycle safety technology has clearly entered a new phase of development with airbag systems being pursued by a variety of apparel manufacturers. The latest company to enhance it’s riding suits with the technology is Alpinestars, purveyor of fine jackets, gloves, boots, etc. Alpinestars’ airbag system, dubbed the Tech Air Race, the system easily integrates into what the company calls the Electronic Airbag Protection Suit. The two components combined create a leather racing suit that can calculate in eight milliseconds whether a rider is crashing, and if so, deploy a pair of airbags that protects the rider’s body.

Alpinestars has five levels of computer algorithms and seven sensors that determine the various criteria that assure when a rider is crashing, and whether to deploy the airbag system. All these calculations take 8ms to run, and the system itself takes only 50ms to fully inflate the airbags once they’re triggered. The bags stay inflated for five seconds after the deployment, take 25 seconds to fully deflate, and can be ready to fire again in a minute’s time. This allows a fallen rider to remount their bike, and continue racing while still having airbag protection.

The Tech Air Race is designed to help protect the shoulder (collarbone) and neck of the rider, leaving the rider’s helmet and back protector to curtail injuries in those regions of the body. With the system easily expandable, it seems that Alpinestars could offer different protection zones with the Tech Air system in the future.

Alpinestars Tech Air Race isn’t quite ready for the mainstream consumer yet though, and Alpinestars plans to have a consumer-ready version (the Tech Air Street?) out by June 2011. Currently, Ben Spies, Mika Kallio and Dani Pedrosa are running the Tech Air Race system in MotoGP, and looking at the feature list, it’s clear this system is intended for the amateur/pro racer, which is readily apparent in the system’s $2500 price tag…suit not included.

At nearly $5,000 out the door, that’s a hefty price tag for the casual street rider, and track day enthusiast. However as the technology improves, and costs come down, we’re more than certain that vital pieces of safety equipment like the Tech Air Race system will become more readily available.

Source: AutoBlog

  • fazer6

    What’s supposed to be the point of that video, besides feeling bad and awkward for the poor sap standing there looking like a serious tool?

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  • Sean

    “…vital pieces of safety equipment like the Tech Air Race system…”

    Really!? Have you seen some data that youre not telling us about?

  • CBR600RR 09

    What a fantastic safety device! Soon Insurance companies will be endorsing these and god knows I’ll be wearing one! You can not, CAN NOT put a price on your life and this without a doubt is far superior to your normal leathers!!! Imagine the benefits of sheer impact injuries, the dampening effects, as well as the slow deflation providing a cushion…

    I can not wait till they are released here in Australia, I will be buying one for $5000 come rain, hail and shine!!!

  • Don Z.

    AGATT!! (All the Gear, All The Time!)

    I think this is a great idea. I love the fact that this isn’t a once-and-done system but is reusable.

    I crashed my Monster a couple of years ago and my gear saved my butt, literally. I was a Belstaff (textile) jacket and pants, Oxtar boots, Fieldsheer gloves, and a Skorpion helmet when I crashed at about 35-40 MPH getting onto the interstate. I slid about 40 feet or so (about the width of a 4-lane bridge) and every bit of my gear was destroyed in the process. I walked away with one minor abrasion on my left elbow where my jacket sleeve rode up and the armor exposed a small place that wore through my jacket.

    I know I was lucky, but man was I SORE the week following the crash. Having an airbag system (if not too cumbersome) to protect me sounds like a lifesaver!