Why I bought an airbag racing suit
The first round of the 2017 season was a bit unfortunate. I bought a brand new bike, and after a long winter, I was eager to ride it. The first practice were very good, and I gathered a lot of confidence. Probably too much confidence for a rookie in the superbike class. I crashed early in the race and injured myself pretty bad. My collarbone got smashed in five pieces, now I have to wait three more months before my next round. The repaus time made me realise the importance of an airbag suit over the ventilated and lightweight suits.
Alpinestars and Dainese airbag suits cost around $3000 – a broken collarbone surgery over $ 4000
The solutions on the market come from Dainese and Alpinestars. The suits feature electronic systems, sensors and CO2 cartridge and are able to deploy in less than half a second. The cheaper versions of an airbag suit, the airbag vest, has a string that helps it deploy, and it can be worn over the leathers. For around $500 the protection level rises considerably.
Personally, I managed to gather a lot of injuries during my racing career, and the most severe were destroyed spine discs and a broken collarbone. Both of them happened fortunately on track while wearing a leather suit. I still wonder what would of happen if I were on the street or without protective gear. To get rid of any thoughts I bought an airbag suit for the track.
DoubleR Race Air Suit
This season I ride a BMW S1000RR and the suit I bought is the DoubleR Race Air from BMW that uses the D’air Technology from Dainese. It’s the first generation D’air airbag suit. It deploys in case of a fall at over 50 km/h regardless of the type of bike you are riding. The electronic system inside the suit triggers the inflatable protection in less than 45 milliseconds with the help of an accelerometer and GPS.
The inflatable protection ensures impact absorption in the collarbone area, the upper half of the chest and cervical area. Unfortunately, I already managed to damage both zones, but this will keep me safe from further injuries.
The confidence level rises every time I put it on. The airbag suit deployment is rechargeable. The CO2 cartridges cost less than $200 to recharge while the medical care for a broken collarbone is more than $4000.
First time on
The first time out with the suit after the surgery felt very good. I read the instructions, learned how to use it and wear it like any other suit. The cow leather on the DoubleR feels very rigid in the first hours, but the ventilation level is pretty good. I must say that the comfort is far from the former kangaroo suit, but I can live with that. The only thing that you must pay attention to when buying this kind of suit is the water. You have to wear a rain coat while riding in the rain.
You can also read The boots that saved my leg to get a better idea for new gear.