The idea of airbags in motorcycle safety equipment is quickly gathering pace, and now Alpinestars has revealed its take on the technology.
Called the Tech-Air, the Alpinestars version takes existing airbag jacket features and adds some modern touches; the result of ten years research, the company says.
Jackets for motorcycle riders that inflate during a collision have been on the market for a while, but many rely on a ‘ripcord’ method to be deployed.
This method tethers the rider to the bike, with the idea being that a sudden impact will throw the rider from their mount and pull the ripcord; thus activating the airbags.
The airbags themselves are usually inflated by a single-use gas canister, which is incorporated into the jacket.
Much like a motorcycle disc-brake lock, it is important for the rider to remember to uncouple themselves from the bike before dismounting, otherwise they may discharge the gas canister for no reason.
Alpinestars has done away with the ripcord however, and instead uses a battery-powered sensor which detects a sudden impact within 30-60 milliseconds, and deploys the airbags in a further 25 milliseconds.
The company’s research indicated that a rider’s body remains relatively stable while the bike is moving, even when riding off-road.
Sudden braking or acceleration should therefore be of no interest to the sensor, which will only deploy the airbags when necessary.
The battery lasts over 25 hours on a single charge and is activated when the rider zips up their jacket. Riders on the move can gain an extra four hours use from a one-hour charge.
Alpinestars has chosen the fully-waterproof vest method rather than a jacket, alloying the device to be worn under whichever jacket suits the current weather conditions.
The Alpinestars Tech-Air range will be available in Europe in the first half of 2015. No word yet on when or if we’ll see the new range in Australia.