As motorcycle manufacturers rush to pack their models with the latest technologies to attract riders, mind-boggling advancements in our two-wheeled world may become a blur to bikers. However, where the motorcycle airbag could be considered more revolution than selling point is with the incredible thought the last safety system this impactful was probably the helmet.
The tried and tested adage of ‘tomorrow’s motorcycle technology can be seen on today’s racetracks’ tells bikers they should expect to enjoy a safety system previously only seen in four wheels or more. From the first tests by Honda, airbags aimed at motorcycle riders have gone from the drawing board to being widely available in a matter of a few years.
Although Clutch and Chrome doesn’t cover the racing world, a new rule being imposed by the body that governs motorcycle competitions requiring rider’s leathers include an airbag device grabbed our attention.
Following a meeting in Japan by the International Federation of Motorcycle, the body which oversees and governs motorcycle racing, the final rules were announced for the upcoming season. Included was this;
Riders’ Leathers – Effective 2018
In an effort to improve rider safety, leathers used by riders must be equipped with an approved inflatable airbag device. (This proposal was supported by all current suppliers in their safety working group)
Currently, airbag technologies are available for MotoGP, Moto 2 and Moto 3 riders from D-air, Tech-Air and In&motion. Honda made motorcycle headlines by including an airbag on its Goldwing model and other manufacturers have been working to offer the technology integrated in rider’s clothing. This includes Ducati using the D-air system as well as BMW Motorrad working with Alpinestars and Tech-Air technology.
To give riders an idea of what these airbag systems bring to the saddle, the new riding jacket from BMW Motorrad promises instantaneous inflatable upper body protection to the back, kidneys, chest and shoulders, which are considered the most exposed areas in a crash.
Not only does it operate independently by using sensors in the jacket itself, full airbag inflation happens as quickly as 25 milliseconds. The bag inflates during crash impacts and loss-of-control situations as well as when the motorcycle is standing still, in case of a rear impact while waiting at traffic lights.
Marking this moment on the calendar, we should all note when knowing a rider who uses a motorcycle airbag system becomes a casual part of riding with everyone using one.
BMW Motorrad's take on the personal motorcycle airbag - Source BMW Motorrad