Spidi beats Alpinestars, Dainese to market with airbag-equipped race suit

Dailies -

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Spidi_Neck_DPS_Airbag_1.jpgLittle known in the US, Spidi is a major motorcycle safety innovator in Europe, releasing the first wearable airbag for bikers way back in 1999. Now seen as the next big step in safety gear for racers, Alpinestars and Dainese are actively developing sophisticated systems capable of using gyroscopes to detect big crashes, then deploying airbags to prevent neck injuries. Spidi just beat both its major competitors to market, albeit with a much less high-tech solution.
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Like the original DPS 01, Spidi’s new airbag is worn over traditional
jackets or leathers and is activated by a lanyard attached to the
handlebars. Crash, separate from bike, pull cord, inflate airbag,
bounce down road on a cushion of air. In the last 10 years, the DPS bag
has gotten slimmer, lighter and more efficient, now inflating with two
CO2 cartridges for faster response. It’s also now compatible with race
leathers.

Spidi_Neck_DPS_Airbag_2.jpgThe problem is it has the same problems the system’s always had; namely
high risk of accidental inflation, the inability to self-inflate if the
rider doesn’t separate from the motorcycle in a crash and unpredictable
results upon inflation. Because Spidi relies on a lanyard to set off
inflation, it’s easy for riders to forget to disconnect when
dismounting while life-threatening impacts could go unmitigated if the
rider remains in a lanyard’s reach of the bike. The violent inflation
of the bag could also exacerbate injuries if it goes off at the wrong
time or even after the accident is all done with.

It’s those issues in which Alpinestars and Dainese are investing
millions of Euros researching, developing detailed sets of data about
what happens in a variety of crashes both on- and off-track and thereby
developing airbags that will inflate predictably in the right
circumstances. Until we’ve seen racers crash in those ‘bags, we’ll be
sticking with our tried-and-tested quality leathers, expensive helmets
and hefty back protectors.

Spidi via Motoblog.it

  • vic

    could be useful on the track but i can just imagine myself forgeting to disconect the cable and becoming the michelin man in front of the office building.
    maybe one of those neck braces that enduro riders wear could prove more useful both on the track and on the street
    ps:the gyro thing is all wrong..it could be set off by agresive lean angles and what will happen if one bends over on the bike to adjust his boots before the race starts etc
    the best solution i’ve seen so far is the frontal airbag on the goldwing..only useful in front collisions but that accounts for a lot of fatalities

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      the Gyros do more than measure lean, they have a complicated measurement for detecting the forces associated with a crash and seperating those circumstances from hard braking, cornering, your friend punching you etc. That’s why they’re taking so long to develop.

      • vic

        i would spend the money on developing better protectors…something more effective than thin foam or cumbersome padding for the chest and hip area . i think that they are really hoping that companies like d3o will fade away.although the products that they offer have really started to catch on..so far only one company has developed a motorcycle suit with d3o protectors..the rest are using either foam or plastic protectors http://www.hyod-products.com/release/0812newsuits/

        • Jonathan

          There are several companies seeking out new armor technology, namely Knox and Forcefield. Also, while some jackets come with worthless padding (the perforated foam in the back of many Astars jackets) each company usually offers additional armor to upgrade your jacket and that armor almost always meets strict EN standards. All the information is out there for consumers to do their research and be informed. Dainese and Alpinestars in particular offer many different options in addition to their apparel. My Dainese didn’t come with a back protector, but I didn’t mind because it gave me the option to chose the protector that most suited my primary riding style, and I had LOTS to chose from.

  • Isaac

    [Firstly, I'd like to say that I am not an engineer. So, I apologize in advance for any thing that I may say that is impossible to acheive.]

    I think the suit should be Bluetooth/GPS triggered. Mean a small sensor that picks up if the rider has left the seat. Then it would trigger the bags. I also thought of a seat sensor but what if the rider stands up on the bike to celebrate victory? Maybe it could be if there is an abrupt de-throttle the suit would inflate. Think about it, when the rider ‘high-sides’, he obviously lets go of the throttle. Thats just my thoughts.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Wouldn’t you rather ensure that the bag can only go off in a crash? That’s what AStars and Dainese are working to achieve.

  • morpheous

    What is wrong with the Leatt neck brace design, its static, no malfunction, and much less complex? One problem with this system would be if the inflation duration was not long enough and on say by the third or fourth tumble of the same fall the bag had delfated and the rider is left exposed. Just thinkin.

  • Tino

    I think that the best solution is to use sensors just on the bike against impact or excessive leaning (like the engine cut-off required by World SBK regulations), then the sensor triggers the rider’s air bag via wireless.
    (Ops, I see Isaac came out with similar idea :-), devious minds think alike, lol)

  • Duane

    How does this work with suits that have an aero hump?