Dainese D-Air: the safety race is on

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Both Dainese and arch-rival Alpinestars have spent the past decade developing real-life, airbag-equipped superhero suits and now they’re ready for public consumption (even though no dates have been given on purchase availability). Alpinestars spilled the beans on TechAir back in August and, this week, Dainese did the same with this new D-Air suit, finally ready for public consumption. The safety arms race is on.

Introducing D-Air
When D-Air thinks you’re crashing, it can react in less than 15 milliseconds, intelligently pick an ideal deployment time and inflate its airbag with 4 liters of gas inside of 80 milliseconds. It also collects comprehensive telemetry data using 2D software, three accelerometers, three gyroscopes and GPS, stores it with 2 gigs of onboard memory and spits it out overlaid on a Google Earth map. Price? $4,000 off-the-rack or $5,000 with your graphics, colors and sponsor logos. Yes, that’s $5,000 for the same suit Rossi wears. But wait, there’s more: Dainese also offers a maintenance contract for $220 that includes free shipping and cleaning and 15% off repairs.

D-Air Brochure 36 ENG

The competition
Only Alpinestars and Dainese have fully developed airbag racing suits and like 5-year old playground rivals, neither one will even so much as acknowledge the other. The Tech Air fully inflates its airbags with 2.8 liters of nitrogen based gas in 45ms. If you crash again in the same session, a second charge can inflate the bags again. US pricing has yet to be released for TechAir, but in Europe, it goes for €6000 (or $7891). What does all this boil down to? The Alpinestars version is faster, but Dainese is cheaper and more customizable. TechAir inflates faster, and if you manage multiple high-sides, you’ll be protected both times. D-Air takes ever-so-slightly longer to inflate, but has 4 liters of air to the Tech Air’s 2.8 liters (which should provide more coverage and greater cushioning), comes with state-of-the-art telemetry and costs roughly half as much. Ouch.

Why it matters
Technology developed in racing eventually trickles down to the consumer. The best example is the used sportsbike. For less than $4,000, you can now buy a machine that will do a 1/4 mile inside of 10 seconds, exceed 160mph, lean further than 50º, and run perfectly for years (despite constant abuse). If you took your $4,000 sportsbike and a new set of sticky street rubber 25 years back in time, no GP bike on the planet would be able to beat it.

Safety gear has made some pretty significant advances in recent years too. With MotoGP level airbag suits starting to become available to consumers, it’s only a matter of time before prices drop and this tech becomes commonplace. Dainese and A-Stars can squabble all they want over who was first with the technology. All we want to know is when we can buy one.


  • Raubert Van Harris

    Cool concept but the idea that it’s the same suit that Rossi wears carries some irony. At 5’11″ ~155lb, Rossi would leave the D-store empty handed. Dainese’s biggest problem is that their garments are made for the stockier end of the human spectrum; for lankier riders such as myself and Rossi, that makes their technology a moot point.

    …but that’s still a cool looking suit

    • Sean Smith

      At 6′ and 150lbs, I don’t have any issues with fit. Also consider that fit pattern is varied from product to product, and since this is a professional racing suit, it’s likely built to fit professional racers, ie, skinny guys in good shape ;)

      • Raubert Van Harris

        That’s nice to hear, at 6’3″ 180lbs, I’ve never been able to find anything in their stores that even comes close. If it’s truly a custom fit suit, that’s a different story!

        • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

          Lanky guys have a tough time: either the shoulders fit and the arms are short, or the arms fit and the shoulders/middle are way too baggy.

          You may have to go bespoke if you want a suit that fits you right.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

          I’m 6’3″ 194 lbs, and own two perfect fitting off-the-rack Dainese Laguna Seca 1 pc suits.

          • $Lindz$

            Yup, 6’2″ 175 lbs, Dainese Trickster Size 52. Fits great.

          • Raubert Van Harris

            What size? That’s about what I weigh when I make it to the gym on a consistant basis.

            • gsx750f

              Lol, you are getting heavier with every post.
              Watch what you eat, mate

              Edit: I’m stupid, you meant Rossi in your first post. Eat what you want! ;)

              • Raubert Van Harris

                Haha bro I get swoll with the crossfit!

            • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

              Size 54

    • Ben NYC

      Maybe you’re in Europe? In America, where the vast majority of people are extremely obese, Dainese is the only company that makes clothing for people of historically normal size.

      My girlfriend is extremely thin and Dainese is the only brand she can buy that doesn’t require major alterations.

      Anyway, you’re exceptionally thin. You’ve got to start eating more and lifting weights.

      • Raubert Van Harris

        I guess I’ve just been drawn to the more casual stuff in Dainese’s line which might have a more “American” fit.

        Thanks for the advice Ben, I’ll try to get on that! This time last year I was benching 245 and deadlifting 305 but I wanted to drop some un-needed weight for ski season this year …then it didn’t snow. Shit happens.

        Anyhow, thanks Sean, Adey, and Lindz! My first track day is coming up in a few weeks so I’ll see if I can’t try on a 52/54 Laguna Seca asap.

  • RocketSled

    Man does that look like an unfortunate Tramp Stamp.

    • Sean Smith

      Meh, just about every racing suit that’s got an accordion stretch panel in the tramp stamp region also has a manufacturer logo. Then again, if you fork over another grand, they’ll make it look like whatever you want.

  • aadmanz

    French company Bering has a vest that fits over leathers, textile, T-shirts, doo rags, bespoke suits and whatever you decide to wear on a bike. Making it much more flexible to use on a variety of bikes in a variety of conditions.
    They actually tested it by crashing into cars in an automotive test center, not smooth obstacle free race tracks surrounded by kitty litter.

    And I believe it is actually for sale, but I am not entirely sure.

    • Sean Smith

      There are a number of vests and jackets that have been on the market for years now. All of them require a tether to connect them to the bike and are well, just kind of crude. The remarkable thing about D-Air and Tech Air is that they’re fully contained inside the suit and they know when to go off, as well as not puffing up and turning you into a tumbling beach ball.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Actually, that system is considerably more than just a vest you wear. The entire bike needs to be rigged with sensors for the vest to work.

      • aadmanz

        True, I forgot about that part.. no tether though. I just like the idea of it being developed for real life riding and not just on a race track.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Tether’s are kind of bullshit. They don’t trigger until you separate from the bike by a certain distance. I’m sure you and I can think of many, many, many crash scenarios in which you would impact before departing the bike.

      • aadmanz

        Yep, which is exactly why they use sensors and not a tether :-), but Grant has a good point, they showed me the installation procedure at EICMA and it is far from plug and play..

        • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

          Problem is if you have more than one bike or want to equip your pillion (or both) prices climb pretty fast (all prices include labor):
          - vest + 1st bike sensors: 490€
          - sensors for 2nd bike: 310€
          - second vest (for pillion) with existing sensors: 360€
          - pairing between 2nd bike and 2nd vest: 70€

          So if you want to equip 3 bikes just for you for instance it’ll cost you 1110€. If you want to equip two bikes for rider and pillion you’re looking at 1230€.

          And if you sell your bike and want to take the sensors and put them on another bike it will cost you 150€.

          Considering it only includes the airbag vest and not the protection provided by the suit, i’d say the d-air at 3000€ isn’t that expensive.

          • aadmanz

            How many people own three bikes though?
            I guess the target cutsomer would be a Parisian bike commuter who would juts bolts the system to his BMW.

  • Beale

    I know his accident and death was beyond what any suit could have saved but having a picture of Super Sic in a brochure that’s touting an advance in racing suit safety seems at minimum unwise.

    • Raubert Van Harris


      • Archer

        Isn’t that a 2010 brochure?

  • aadmanz

    Oh and speaking of Italian suits, try Gimoto, they’re cheaper than Dainese, similar or better quality and completely made to measure.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    I’m looking forward to the technology getting cheaper. The suit pictured is one of the best looking Dainese suits I’ve seen.

    Considering the top line Dainese suits already retail for about 2 grand, you’re looking at a 2 grand premium for the airbag and telemetry. I like that the Dainese system is adding some value besides crash protection. Very smart.

    Also, the new 2012 Astars race replica is $2900 at Revzilla. The only improvement over last year’s model that I could discern is the ability to retrofit it with the TechAir system. Haven’t seen one in person yet though.

  • http://lightsoutknivesout.tumblr.com/ Scott Pargett

    I’m a bit unclear as to what the GPS and 2GB of memory does.

    • vic06

      You can download telemetry data from your riding, but collected by the suit instead of the bike.

  • Zach

    I’m a bit confused on the math. If Astars’ setup is 2.5k + 2.5k (5k), and Dainese’s setup is 4k, where does “costs roughly half as much” come in?

    • cookey

      thinking the same thing…

      • Edward


    • Sean Smith

      What we have hear is a case of the over-eager editor who changes facts to what he believes to be correct and doesn’t inform the writer (me) or change the line that says “half as much.”

      The Tech Air retails for €6000, equivalent to $7891. US pricing has yet to be released and they may drop the price for our weak dollars.

      • Tony

        After just having attended a track day in which a rider, actually a coach died from a crash/impact, I will be be picking one up.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Wow. What happened?

  • oldblue

    Happy with this.

    It represents a step forward in safety, and regardless of cost, that’s always an easy sell to Her Indoors.

  • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

    Crazy technology is awesome, but I’ll wait until enough first-adopters buy them that the suits aren’t 2x as expensive as my bike.

  • Campisi

    I want this tech in a one-piece Roadcrafter.

    • Sean Smith

      I wonder if Dainese will give us one to sacrifice to the cause…

      • Campisi

        “From turn ten to the turnpike, Aerostich has you covered!”

        … No wonder I’m not in marketing.

    • BMW11GS

      I got a roadcrafter used from a guy on ADV rider for cheap and I love it! sure its blue and yellow (faded) but I don’t have to justify its protection factor. It seems perfect for a D-air type transplant though.

  • Stuart

    I’ll wait for when the prices also come down for normal human beings :)