Unless your last name is Knievel, crashing a motorcycle probably isn’t your idea of a good time. It is, however, a fairly inevitable part of the riding experience, which is why entire industries have sprung up around keeping riders safe. And while the basic idea of protective gear — putting energy-absorbing layers between the rider and the road — hasn’t changed much over the last century, the technology behind it certainly has.
Case in point: In the latest advancement in motorcycle safety, Dainese is rolling out its new Smart Jacket — a piece of active safety gear that brings the company’s D-air inflatable armor technology found in existing jackets and suits to the road in an adaptable, easy-to-use form.
The name, admittedly, is a tad misleading; the “Smart Jacket” is actually a vest, worn underneath your regular motorcycle jacket or other piece of upper-body outerwear. It’s designed to deliver the equivalent protection to seven Level 1 back protectors in the event of a crash, while remaining light, flexible, and compact enough to go all but forgotten about during everyday riding.
The vest’s onboard computer analyzes data from seven sensors at a rate of 1,000 times per second, in a constant search for any sign that the rider is about to go down. The algorithms are so clever, Dainese says, that the vest can even save you from a stationary crash. Once it senses potential harm, the vest’s D-air system (which MotoGP riders already use) kicks in, deploying the inflatable system and creating a sheath of temporary pneumatic armor around your torso.
Thankfully, the “jacket” doesn’t require any connection to a motorcycle or another garment in order to function; even more thankfully for summertime riders seeking to beat the heat on their bikes, the company says the design allows air to flow through during regular conditions, serving up plenty of ventilation.
The Dainese Smart Jacket goes on sale in July in six different sizes, with different versions for men and women. Expect to spend $699 if you want to slide it on.
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