We’ve seen commuter airbag “helmets” before, but nothing quite as practical as the new Dainese Smart Jacket D-Air airbag vest. Built using a lot of their motorcycle protective gear technology, it’s an entirely new way of thinking about impact protection. And it’s light enough, flexible enough, and breathable enough to wear while mountain biking. Here’s the quick video run through:
Called the Smart Jacket, it’s actually just a vest. And it’s thin enough to wear under a jacket, long sleeve DH jersey, or just a t-shirt. What separates it from previous attempts at inflatable airbag body wear are two things. First, it uses air to create a firm protective panel, not an “airbag” that surrounds the rider.
Second, it’s completely self contained. Prior motorcycle versions had some sort of tether to the bike, so if the rider was ejected, it would act as a ripcord to activate the system.
But how does it work?
The Dainese D-Air vest uses seven integrated sensors that measure it’s movement 1,000 times per second. Powered by a USB-rechargable battery, it’ll give you about 26 hours of protection.
Once triggered, it blasts a mix of helium and argon gases to inflate a micro-filament filled chamber covering the back and chest. It inflates firm enough to equal the impact protection of seven Level 1 back protectors.
What’s the catch?
Well…the price. Retail for the vest is $699. And if you trigger it, which seems likely if you’re pushing it hard on the downhills or bike park trails, a reset and airbag replacement is $299. Which kinda puts it out of range of practicality for mountain bikers for now, but we love the idea. And, you know, things trickle down.