Text: Inigo S. Roces / Photos: BMW | posted October 04, 2016 11:51
Airbag riding jacket available in October
Alpinestars has teamed up with BMW Motorrad to bring the former’s Tech-Air airbag jacket system to BMW riders. The new line of jackets, called Street Air, provides riders with upper body protection via airbags, when riding either on road or off.
The system is integrated into special jackets via a liner vest. It is self-contained and requires no motorcycle mounted sensors or tethers. Sensors are mounted on the shoulders and back. It simply makes use of an algorithm to help ascertain if danger is imminent. In the event of an accident, or when a rider is thrown from his bike, it deploys a full upper body airbag in advance of collision. The airbag inflates within just 25 to 85 milliseconds and provides chest, kidneys, back and shoulders protection even before the rider impacts the ground or another vehicle.
The self-contained system allows the rider to simply wear the jacket and benefit from the protection it provides. This allows the rider to swap bikes seamlessly or go from on-road to off-road riding without having to reconfigure the jacket. It is designed to be used from temperatures from -10 degrees Celsius all the way up to 50 degrees Celsius. It can run be on standby for up to 25 hours on a full charge. LED status lights informs the rider if it is functioning properly or if it needs a charge. Finally, it can even be worn with a backpack.
Tests have been conducted to ensure the bag mitigates injuries in a variety of riding situations from a simple fall, to a high side or even impact with another vehicle. The jacket has also been tested for accidental inflation, ensuring there is no loss of control for the rider even if it activates unintentionally.
Alpinestars first began research on the airbag technology in 2001. The Tech-Air system was then employed by MotoGP riders in 2011. It was then offered to street riders in 2014. BMW then began to offer the DoubleR Race Air suit in 2014 for professional riders.
The Street-Air system will be available in BMW Motorrad boutiques this October. Be wary that the system may cost over US$2,000, being a relatively new technology.