Innovation never stops, especially not when it comes to safety. Car and motorcycle manufacturers are continuously looking for new ways to protect drivers, riders, and passengers. We’ve come a very long way since the inception of cars and motorcycles, and there’s still a long way to go. There will always be the “next big thing” in safety technologies.
When it comes to motorcycle gear, one innovation an increasing number of companies are adopting is the airbag. Big names such as Klim, Alpinestars, and Dainese have streamlined the airbag jacket and suit after years of development. Is the next safety innovation the one inside your riding pants? French startup CX Air Dynamics seems to think so!
The company launched a crowdfunding campaign on KissKissBankBank for the introduction of its new motorcyclist (and scooterist)-specific airbag pants.
According to the video published by CX Air Dynamics, instead of the suit of electronic sensors that automatically detect a crash we usually find in jackets, the pants need to be hooked to the motorcycle with a strap and what looks like a carabinier clip. Should the rider fall from the bike or be ejected, the motion pulls on the strap and triggers the airbags’ deployment.
CX Air Dynamics claims that the airbags inflate in less than 200 milliseconds, using a small, compressed air cartridge. There are four airbags inside the garment: Two on the side of each leg, at the thigh, and the calf. Once used, you can easily replace the air cartridge.
The pants are made of a Cordura outer shell and feature Poron XRD foam padding. Cordura is a popular material in the motorcycle gear industry thanks to its breathability, and water and abrasion resistance. Poron XRD is an impact-absorbing foam that’s flexible and comfortable but can also absorb up to 90-percent of the energy of an impact.
To make slipping the pants on easy, CX designed the garment to wrap around the legs—you don’t have to wrestle your feet down the legs and try to balance as you wiggle your way in. You wrap them around your waist and close the zippers that run from the waist down both legs.
Unlike Alpinestars or Dainese airbag jackets that are full-on riding jackets with protectors and pads, the company advertises the airbag pants as “over pants” CX told us in a message that the design includes Poron XRD padding at the knees and hips. That being said, we'd still recommend you use them as an additional layer of protection rather than a standalone product. If I were to buy a pair, I would wear it on top of riding jeans or leggings for increased protection.
For convenience purposes, CX Air Dynamics says that once you take the pants off, you can fold them tightly enough to fit inside a helmet—the default motorcyclist carry-all.
Anything that can make riding safer is a good thing in my book. While the project is in its early stages, I could easily see it evolve to include knee and hip protectors and maybe even an electronic airbag triggering system that would increase the reaction speed.
The company is attempting to reach 250 backers before Christmas 2020. The CX Air Dynamics airbag pants are going to retail for €500 (US$600), but early backers can take advantage of the early bird pack that includes the garment, a spare air cartridge, a gift certificate, and local delivery in France for €375 (US$455). CX Air Dynamics also confirmed that the product does ship to the U.S. should you be interested.