The future of motorcycle safety apparel just took another step forward, as a new brand has entered the airbag game for motorcycle track and race suits.
It shouldn’t surprise us to see that the brand in question is REV’IT, as the Dutch company is already at the forefront of motorcycle apparel design, and is an avid safety partner for racers at the top level of the sport.
REV’IT joins Alpinestars and Dainese in offering an in-house airbag safety technology system for track use, but the brand is taking things to the next level with its novel approach to keeping riders safe.
For REV’It, the issue isn’t just in deploying the soft protection that an airbag offers a rider. Instead, their new airbag design promises to be lighter in weight and cooler in temperature than the units from the competition.
Riding in hot weather is already tough for motorcycle racers, and you only have to look at the MotoGP Championship to see the extremes that REV’IT riders have to endure when racing at hot and humid tracks (think Sepang).
The other problem is that airbag suits are extremely heavy, with riders having to carry the airbag, inflation device, and sensors in the suit, which can easily add 10 lbs or more to the garment. In a sport where success is measured in tenths of a second, this extra weight can be a critical factor.
But with the new MAX AIR suit from REV’IT, the Dutch brand promises 50% more airflow than the best airbag suit from the competition, as well as a 25% weight reduction…and the way REV’IT has achieved this is certainly noteworthy.
Debuting the first perforated airbag for use on motorcycle race suits, REV’IT has added tiny air channels in its airbag design so that air can pass from outside of the suit, through the leather layer, past the airbag, and begin to wick heat from the rider.
“Everyone knows the advantage of having an airbag-equipped racing suit,” said Chief of Design at REV’IT Hans van Hetelucht. “But, the airbag technology that is currently on the market doesn’t allow air to pass through it. This makes it a Textile 1.0 material, in our view.”
“Our new MAX AIR fabrics though have fully permeable membrane that allows air transfer, which means that when the rider is wearing the suit, the wind and ambient air are still able to flow against the rider’s body. This is a critical area in heat management that our competitors have completely ignored.”
The new REV’IT airbag suit also benefits from a significant weight reduction due to the MAX AIR fabric, since a noticably smaller amount of airbag material is needed to cover the same amount of the rider’s body.
“Our exact process is obviously patented, since we have seen no shortage of litigation in this space as of late, but you can think of our MAX AIR technology as being akin to taking your standard airbag material and adding tiny perforations to it so that it breaths air more effectively,” said Van Hetelucht.
“We are currently reaching levels of 10,000 perforations per square meter,” the Dutch designer added. “This basically allows us to have one quarter the physical airbag material than the traditional airbag systems.”
This news is important for REV’IT too because of the company’s active role in motorcycle racing, as we have already seen the MotoGP Championship require all of its competitors to wear airbag-equipped leather suits.
Now with the MAX AIR system, REV’IT hopes to offer these riders more than what the competition currently has available, which could mean seeing some big names jumping ship to the brand, as soon as the FIM homologates their new airbag technology and design.
We expect a commercial version of the REV’IT MAX to take about a year to develop, with an EICMA launch this year very likely. As such, look for the MAX AIR at dealerships in early April of 2020.
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