Somewhere over the Ethernet, there’s a huge ftp site full of information about Dainese’s new D-Air Street system, but I’ll be damned if I can access it, so I’ll just give you the synopsis for now. At EICMA, we saw at least three Dainese jackets in a range of styles in which the system will be available, and none of them make the wearer look at all like the Michelin man; they’re stylish as always.
D-Air Street is an inflatable vest that’s triggered when it senses an impact or slide (based on some heavy-duty mathematics Dainese has been working on for more than a decade) and works in conjunction with a back protector and chest protector. The system is designed to protect the rib cage, vital organs and spinal column, and to limit the kind of extreme neck movements that cause paralysis and worse.
Deployment of the airbag, which happens in a very rapid 45 milliseconds, is activated by accelerometers on the fork and the rear of the bike that must be installed by a licensed dealer. The sensors plug into a not-that-small ECU/information display panel mounted in the cockpit of the bike (normally on the handlebar), and the ECU communicates wirelessly to trigger the airbag in the jacket in the event of an impact.
Dainese says this level of complexity is necessary to ensure that the bag deploys in time. If the airbag wasn’t triggered until the rider felt the impact, there could be too much delay for the bag to do any good. In fact, if deployed too late, the bag could make injuries worse (and ring the dinner bell for ravenous personal-injury lawyers in countries like ours).
The main claim for the D-Street system is simply this: Dainese says it reduces the force of frontal impacts compared to a chest protector by up to 92 percent, and by up to 82 percent in rearward impacts compared to a level-2 back protector. That’s amazing.
Supposedly, the electronics package for your motorcycle will run $300-400, and we bet the jackets won’t be cheap. And yes, you can rig your passenger with the system, as well. Much more information to come.