(Editor’s note: Alpinestars corrected the pricing. The airbag system costs $5,000.)
Bikers certainly have a more thrilling ride than their car-driving counterparts (although that could be argued depending on the car you’re driving), but they also have to be extra careful about safety. After all, they don’t have the metal roll cage and safety features of modern cars. But wearing a suit with an airbag system from Alpinestars could save a biker from serious injury, in case of accident.
More than a decade in the making, the Tech Air personal airbag system deploys milliseconds after sensing an accident, protecting the biker before impact. Used and tested by professional bike racers since Alpinestars started the research, the suit has five sensors that constantly send information to a microprocessor (500 times a second), all powered by an eight-hour battery (continuous use rating). The system uses proprietary algorithms to monitor the rider and determine if a crash has occurred (like a biker’s abnormal position), inflating in milliseconds.
After the airbags deflate and the suit returns to “normal” condition, the system can actually be used again (assuming the rider didn’t just encounter a serious accident). The system only works if it’s turned on, the suit is fully zipped, and it senses that the rider is the proper riding position and in motion – so there’s no worry of it inflating during any other time.
So, does it work? Earlier this year Moto GP rider Marc Marquez crashed at nearly 210 miles per hour during a practice run before the Italian GP, but was cleared to race afterward. How? He was wearing an Alpinestars suit with the airbag technology, and it deployed within 50 milliseconds of the crash and deployed fully to protect Marquez 30 milliseconds before he hit the ground, protecting his back and shoulders.
Naturally, the system isn’t cheap, costing $5,000. Sure, it’s expensive protection, and there’s no guarantee you’ll walk away from an accident like Marquez did, but it improves your survival chances and costs less than a visit to the ER.
Read more about the system here.