Dainese has been on the leading edge of innovation and protection since the company’s inception in 1972. Since then, Dainese has pioneered virtually all major racewear advancements, like knee sliders and spine protectors. The Italian company’s newest milestone is the release of the first ever airbag-equipped motorcycle gear called D-air.
D-air is Dainese’s airbag technology that’s featured in Dainese’s newest racing suit, the D-air Racing Misano Estiva. 2016 is the first year D-air has been available to American riders, however the development of the D-air system started all the way back in 2000. With its first official test deployment in 2006, the D-air system quickly accelerated into MotoGP racing just one year later. In 2011 D-air was finally made available to the European market but received final alterations and refinements before landing on American soil this March.
What took so long for Dainese to finally release D-air? To understand why, you have to look at the technology behind it, and how advanced it really is. Since development started, Dainese has compiled over 1,600 hours of data over 1,000 deployments which enabled them to create a triggering algorithm that detects a crash. Equipped on suit are three accelerometers and three gyroscopes that detect the rider’s movements, speed and lean angle 800 times per second. With these sensors, the computer will trigger a deployment when it anticipates any crash situation. Whether you highside or lowside the computer will deploy the airbag system within 45 milliseconds (four times faster than the blink on an eye). Impressively enough, the computer is also smart enough to not deploy when traveling below 50 KPH or in the event of a slide, where it will deploy only when it senses tumbling.
The airbag itself is just as advanced in its design. The 3D structure, Dainese-patented bag consists of thousands of micro filaments that dispense even inflation of 2 inches over the entire bag. These aid in the airbag’s ability to retain its integrity and prevents air from dispersing upon impact. Instead of adopting an automobile-inspired airbag like the other competitors, Dainese chose to build a motorcycle-specific bag designed for motorcycle crashes.
Inflating the airbag is a gas generator located in the race hump which uses “Cold” technology. “Cold” refers to the fact that the gas is stored in liquid form, and escapes and expands to its gaseous state for fast inflation. As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; in the D-air’s case, the computer, sensors, airbag and inflation system all work together to give you unrivaled protection.
Getting down to brass-tax; what does the D-air system protect, and how effective is it? For the D-air Racing system, Dainese targets the most frequent impact zones, the shoulders, neck and collar bones. When racing, or in the tuck position, these are the crucial areas that need protection. Working in synergy with the existing body armor in professional racing leathers, the D-air system limits impact force transmitted to the rider up to 90%. This safety has proven to translate on the track, as only one rider wearing the D-air system has broken a collarbone (compared to the 52 other racers who have in the same time period). Demand across the paddock has risen so high, Dainese has developed D-air Armor which can be worn under the leathers, for racers who may ride in a different brand suit. For example, Alex Rins is a popular rider who wears the Dainese D-air Armor under his REV’IT! race suit.
Currently the D-air Racing is available in the states in the new Misano Estiva racing suit. However, Dainese has already introduced the D-air Armor as well as the D-air Street Jacket in Europe (expect to see the D-air Street jacket arrive in America early ’17). The D-air airbag technology has already become the next “big thing” in motorcycle protection. Once again, Dainese is leading the pack.