Alpinestars TechAir: be a superhero for €6000

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The Alpinestars TechAir is eerily close to being a real life superhero suit. Its cutting edge airbag technology gives the wearer the ability to bounce back from horrific crashes that would otherwise leave you broken and bleeding. Now, it’s going on-sale to the general public.

There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding airbag technology in racing suits since the concept was first announced. First there were awkward bags that inflated outside of the suit and looked to be gimmicky, at best. Then came the in-suit, but race-only systems like the TechAir and Dainese D-Air and last April it was announced that some version of it would be available for sale to the public in the summer of 2011. Alpinestars have kept their word and they report that the suit is now available in Europe for a measly €6,000. The standard version of that suit, the one without the airbag, can be had for €2,300. Yes, that’s incredibly expensive, but while it may temporarily cripple your bank account those airbags could save you from a 23.5g impact like they did for Lorenzo this past weekend. He may have been walking with a limp, but had he not been wearing the TechAir, he would have taken that hit on his shoulder blades.

The first things to catch my eye were the blinking LEDs on the right arm. This is obviously not a normal suit. Even the guys at Astars can’t help but stare and wonder what sort of computer magic lives in the aero-hump to make it work.

The next thing was much less flashy and much more impressive. What Jeremy is pointing at isn’t a fake chart that’s been fabricated after the fact to make his presentation look snazzy. It’s real information collected by the suit’s data-logging system before, during and after the crash. Rather than trying to understand just how the suit works (sure, it’s got accelerometers and a computer, but good luck trying to figure out that software), I’m going to trust that Alpinestars know what they’re doing.

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The final thing that made me stop and think for a minute was a PDF on the TechAir info CD that had the €6,000 price at the top right. If you have the cash, you really can go out and buy a superhero suit.

  • Gene

    Any idea what it costs to refurb/repack it after your unplanned date with the tarmac?

    • Sean Smith

      No hard numbers have been released yet, but all you need to do is re-fill/replace the gas cylinders. Alpinestars is using it’s own blend of nitrogen based gas so you’ll have to send your cylinders to them or buy new ones.

      I imagine that the most it would cost is a few hundred bucks to buy new cylinders and have them installed. That’s the worst case scenario.

      At best, they’d take care of you for free because you gave them €6000 to be an early adopter and are helping them gather data to improve the system.

  • Joe

    They didn’t provide a photo of a deployed airbag? That’s what I was looking for.

    • Sean Smith

      It’s almost imperceptible because the bags are inside the suit. Even the engineers have a hard time seeing it sometimes.

      • Joe

        OK! Nevermind then!

  • Tony

    A dude we ride with somehow got his hands on the Dainese D-Air. I saw it in person at the track. Really cool and I think he said he paid $6K USD for it. It has lights on both shoulders, you zipper up the suit and button the chest strap and the lights on each should start to blink and when they turn green, it’s ready to go. It also has a USB drive in the hump. If it goes off Dainese will repack / recharge for free, but you have to send it to Italy at this point.

  • aristurtle

    This stuff is pretty interesting, but I sure hope the price comes down soon.

    Hey, wasn’t one manufacturer making an airbag vest that you could just wear over your normal gear, you know, just in case you don’t like to commute in full leathers?

    • jon

      HitAir (http://www.hit-air.com/) do a vest you wear over the top of your normal gear but you have to have it ththered to the bike and if I remember right it’s slow to inflate…

    • Sean Smith

      Spidi makes a pretty nice vest that inflates in .2 seconds. They also have a long history of making protective motorcycle gear.

  • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

    Interesting that the product sheet mentions “how many charges you have left.”

    I like this. Not only does this hint at the system being more than a “one and done” device, but it also hints and being something can deploy multiple times during one accident. Especially useful, I’d imagine, for those long jarring tumbles through the run off area into a solid wall.

    • Sean Smith

      Nah, it stays inflated for 5 seconds which is plenty long for any accident. It really seems be designed for the initial impact of a massive high-side. The suit still has all the same armor a non-airbag suit would have too. Once you get past something like a 23.5g hit, that armor should do a pretty good job of keeping you protected until you get stopped.

      • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

        Sounds better and better. Now if I had the cash for a $9k set of super leathers.