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.
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.