For over four years, Dainese has been offering its airbag-equipped racing suit in Europe, but it’s never been available in the States. That changes this September, when the first batch of D-Air suits land in the U.S., and Dainese is taking it a step further, opening its airbag tech to other companies.
The original D-Air system was shown back in 2000, but didn’t make it to racing until 2007 when it was adopted as the first airbag-equipped suit in MotoGP. It finally went on sale to consumers in 2011 after getting the sensors sorted, and that’s one of the reasons it was delayed making the trek across the Atlantic.
Those sensors – including three accelerometers, another three gyroscopes, and a GPS unit for speed, all mounted in the back-hump – recognize impacts from the front, rear, and sides. When they do, a cool gas generator inflates the airbags around the neck, shoulders, and collarbones in 45 milliseconds and claim to reduce the force transmitted to the rider by 85 percent. But they can also detect slow speed crashes – like tipping over – and prevent the airbags from inflating.
The first suit available in the U.S. is an off-the-rack Misano which can preordered for $2,499 and arrives this September. Dainese is also offering two years of unlimited re-arming of the system and a 15 percent discount on suit repairs for an extra $300, and says that a custom-tailored Mugello suit will be available later.
At the same time, Dainese has announced its D-Air Armor program as an “open platform” that can be incorporated into suits from other manufacturers. It’s an all-in-one solution for World Championship riders, with Vircos and Furygan on board with the system which is basically a lining for existing suits that incorporates all the electronics, as well as the gas generator, battery, and GPS. The first riders to get the new kit are Michele Pirro and Mattia Pasini from Vircos, along with Mike Di Meglio, Johan Zarco, and Sam Lowes from Furygan. However, Dainese hasn’t made any deals with other suit manufacturers to bring the lining to consumers.
All the D-Air systems now pack its data acquisition feature which keeps tabs on lap times, speed, acceleration, braking and lines, which can then be downloaded to a computer for analysis.