Motorcycle Airbag Jackets: Keeping safe just got easier
Though it may sound completely revolutionary, the concept of motorcycle airbag jackets isn’t all that new. They have been around since the mid-90s and have been getting better and better over the years. What hasn’t changed though, is the trigger mechanism that inflates the airbag in case of a collision. The way it works is that you have to hook yourself up to your motorcycle every time you get on, much like a seat belt. When there is a collision and you become separated from your bike, the cord triggers a mechanism that releases gas from a small CO2 canister and fills the bladders inside the jacket. This all happens within a fraction of a second.
While the design works, there is still the inconvenience of buckling in every time you get on the bike. This also means that you have to unbuckle to get off, which I’m sure has gotten some people in awkward situations when they find themselves tethered to their motorcycles while trying to walk away. The other issue is that the buckling system has to be mounted to your own motorcycle so if you were to ride a different bike, your airbag is no longer in effect. The solution to this is coming by way of Alpinestars. The same airbag system that they provide for MotoGP racers is now being incorporated into their Tech-Air line of jackets and boy is it really cool.
The new technology features incorporated sensors in the jacket that detect collisions and immediately trigger the jacket’s inflation. This reduces the time it takes to completely inflate the bladders and increases safety for the rider. Since the sensors are integrated into the jacket, it is compatible with any type of motorcycle (although they don’t recommend using it for motocross) and any type of terrain. They will start by selling two compatible jacket models in Spring 2015: the Valparaiso for adventure/ touring as seen above, and the Viper for street riding seen below.
The Tech-Air system works as a removable liner that you insert into these jackets. The control center for the electronics is located in the back and is fueled by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts 25 hours on a single charge. An LED indicator on the sleeve will let you know the status of the system and recharging can be done with a standard USB connection. Afraid that it might accidentally deploy while you’re riding? According to Alpinestars, the inflation shock doesn’t interfere with handling. The system can be reused after a crash but it is recommended to get the equipment evaluated by a professional if you were involved in one. Pricing isn’t available yet but you can expect these jackets to cost a pretty penny.
I’ll leave you with a pretty cool crash test video that also highlights the features for the Tech-Air system. I can’t wait for these to come out.