Ten years in the making, the Dainese D-Air racing suit has finally made its way to U.S. shores with the $4000 set of leathers providing previously unheard of protection for racers and track-day riders.
The suit was introduced to journalists last night at the D-Store Orange County in Newport Beach, California, with racers Blake Young, Steve Rapp and Jason Pridmore in attendance.Blake Young was presented with the new D-Air leathers he will wear this season.
In addition to providing an internal airbag that provides protection to shoulders, neck and upper chest area, the suit also features data acquisition that will give riders lap-time data, GPS telemetry of the bike and diagrams in relation to time, assessment of braking and racing lines and even acceleration data. The system is also compatible with Google Earth and enables users to plot racing lines on a mini map.
The electronic system identifies a fall or slide and immediately sends a trigger signal to the gas generator in the hump of the suit. This activates the internal airbag, which then inflates within 30 milliseconds. D-air Racing has a patented 3D airbag structure and it is the only airbag suit on the market that works wirelessly without any connection to a motorcycle, according to Dainese.
The D-air Racing system passed all motorcycle personal protective equipment tests, not only for the current European standards but also for pre-standards, which will come into effect in the future, Dainese says. The D-air system is also TÜV SÜD system certified.
During the presentation, Dainese delivered the first D-air Racing suit to Young, who was the first AMA Superbike racer to use the system in the final two races of the season in 2011. He will use the system full time in the coming season.
"When I heard that Dainese was coming to the States with the suit, I was excited," Young said. "I was thinking, 'what do I have to do to get one?' They told me that going into the last race I would be given a gift and they surprised me. It's been a privaledge and an honor to be the first in America to run this suit and be able to test it out - hopefully I won't be able to test it out. As I've heard Kevin Schwantz say many times, motorcycle racing is 90 percent between the ears and when I put the suit on the for the first time, I was thinking to myself, 'Well, is it going to be heavy?' Which it wasn't. 'Is it going to fit right?' Which it fit like all my other suits, comfortable as ever. Unfortunately, I didn't get the result that I wanted in the first race so I thought going into the second, 'Maybe I'll show Dainese how their suit works here and go for it.' There were definitely a few times where I took some chances and I was thinking to myself, 'Man, I just barely made it.' I was glad to be riding in the D-Air suit. With the comfort and to know in the back of your mind that the protection is going to be there when you need it. For us, as motorcycle racers, when we're at the racetrack and doing our job, that's one less thing we have to think about. When I put my Dainese suit on, I know that it's going to protect me and it's on the cutting edge of technology."
Dainese will be taking orders for the suit starting in June with a baseline cost of $3999 that goes up with custom work.