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HomeNEWSINTERNATIONALmoto-Direct launches RST branded airbags for the masses

moto-Direct launches RST branded airbags for the masses

Moto-Direct’s leading UK motorcycle apparel brand RST has leveraged status as Official Safety Partner for the Isle of Man TT to unveil sophisticated airbag technology across its product range.

At a presentation in Ramsey on the Isle of Man during TT, Moto-Direct supremo Jonny Towers stressed that affordable price points, rider safety enhancements and practicality were crucial to this initiative.

“Affordability combined with safety has been the growth driver for us ever since we started in 1999,” said Towers. “We integrated CE back protectors in our garments whenever possible, and RST was the first British brand to have its entire range tested and CE certified to PREN 17092. And now we intend to democratise airbag technology, so ordinary riders can afford to get that extra level of safety too.”

To this end, Towers has established a commercial relationship with French wearable airbag specialist In&Motion, which originally developed its kit for downhill ski racers and then realised there was an obvious cross-over with the requirements for similarly protective apparel featuring integrated airbags in motorcycle sport.

“There are no negatives,” explained Towers. “In&Motion’s technology allows us to offer protection without affecting appearance, compromising comfort or interfering with rider performance. They just won’t notice it’s there until the airbag is activated in the event of an accident.”

Selling incentives abound. The gas generator which inflates the airbag can be recharged three times by the user, without returning a race suit for manufacturer maintenance, as long as the bag is intact. It’s also extremely compact and discreet, as is the key electronic control unit.

This latter device benefits from complex algorithms to tackle disparate riding applications, even within the various demands on a leather race suit. “There are enormous differences between a billiard-table smooth MotoGP circuit and the bumps and jumps of the Isle of Man’s real-roads environment,” explained Towers. “A MotoGP-dedicated algorithm would probably detect a crash and inflate the airbag in circumstances shrugged off as run-of-the-mill normal by TT competitors.”

To prove the message, In&Motion personnel gathered a vast amount of data to develop a specific road-racing algorithm for the Isle of Man TT. The team of TT travelling marshals, who are equipped with RST apparel as part of its Official Safety Partner tie-up, have played a major role in data capture. RST-sponsored TT race stars, most notably Conor Cummins and Ian Hutchinson, were also involved. And on conventional circuits, World Superbikes contender Alex Lowes contributed towards a separate version.

Other algorithmic modes, covering everyday street use through to off-road adventure riding are under development too, because RST airbag introduction won’t be confined exclusively to race suits. A range of jackets is planned as well, similarly scheduled to reach dealer showrooms in March 2020.

At the Manx launch, RST’s accent on affordability wasn’t extended to retail price positioning. But on a strictly “no names, no pack drill” basis, BDN learned that the pitch is set to at least halve costs to consumers against premium brands already in  the airbag-equipped apparel marketplace. That should put a very big cat among the pigeons…         





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