Dainese 2010: New Riding Gear, Chest Protection and D-Air Airbag System

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Dainese 2010: New Riding Gear, Chest Protection and D-Air Airbag System

Dainese 2010: New Riding Gear, Chest Protection and D-Air Airbag System

Dainese wants a bigger slice of the U.S. motorcycle-apparel market. So, when the Italian company unveiled its 2010 Motorbike Collection this past January at the D-Store in Costa Mesa, California, it pulled out all the stops. Arriving from the corporate offices in Vicenza were top staffers from the company's marketing and product-development departments, as well as Silvano Celi, master tailor for every Dainese-sponsored Grand Prix racer from four-time 500cc World Champion Eddie Lawson to current premier-class stars Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

As has been the case in recent years, the new line is broad and caters to both men and women. There is, in fact, something for everyone, from racetrack-specific offerings, such as the new one-piece, kangaroo-hide Trickster Professional ($1999), to stylish two-piece jacket-and-pants combinations created from a smart mix of leather and textiles. The glove and boot lines have been updated, as well.

On the protection front, the Aprosys Project has given birth to two new sex-specific chest guards. Designed to reduce injuries resulting from front and side impacts, these lightweight, perforated-foam-backed, molded-polypropylene designs do without the aluminum honeycomb crush zones used in Dainese's signature back protectors. Look for the men's Thorax Pro ($69) and lady's Thorax Pro ($99) on shelves in February.

AGV Helmets, which merged with Dainese in 2007, showed two new DOT- and ECE-approved off-road lids. Freestyle star Travis Pastrana and factory Honda motocrossers Davi Millsaps and Ashley Fiolek are already wearing the top-of-the-line, carbon-fiber/Kevlar AX8 ($399). A less-costly polycarbonate design called the MT-X ($169–199) is also available. It, too, features ventilation and a removable, washable interior. AGV also has a new DOT- and ECE-approved full-face street helmet, the T2 ($TBA).

Following a catered lunch (Italian, of course), the meeting resumed with a detailed question-and-answer session with Celi about the currently racing-only D-Air airbag system. Five years in development, D-Air now weighs just 600 grams, down from more than 3 pounds for the original. Currently designed to protect the neck, collarbones and shoulders, the system comprises three accelerometers, a GPS, three gyros and the bladder itself; all but the bladder is contained within the hump on the back of the suit.

A snap-down closure located near the top of the central zipper completes the wiring circuit for the D-Air; the system is armed once the rider's speed tops 31 mph. If the system senses that a crash is imminent, the compressed helium-activated bladder inflates in just 20 milliseconds—"as quickly as you can blink"—and remains fully inflated for 5 seconds before deflating completely in 20 seconds. Fine-tuning is possible for each circuit. Lorenzo has been using D-Air for some time; Rossi is expected to at least practice with it at every round of this year's MotoGP series.