I'm in Austin, Texas for the start of MotoGP's race weekend at Circuit of the Americas and the city is humming. Every manufacturer is doing something around the race, but one event I knew I had to catch was Alpinestars' introduction of the new Tech-Air 7X vest.

The launch was at Motovation Accessories, a local motorcycle spot in Pflugerville just outside of Austin, and the launch didn't disappoint. Now everyone knows by now that airbag jackets and vests are pretty rad tech, and they represent a serious reduction of harm for motorcycle riders. Alpinestars has being going ham on the tech for the last twenty years and is arguably the best in the business in terms of how the company's systems integrate with the rest of its riding gear.

Yet, though I have an airbag jacket, I've never seen one deployed in person. Until last night. 

After a brief walkaround of the new Tech-Air 7X, details on the vest in the moment, the Alpinestars guys demonstrated how it deploys on a real-life human person. And I figured, "Why not capture the action in slow-motion?" The following video is pretty cool and slowed waaaay down to see the dummy, I mean, test subject's face, and how the airbag deploys. Check it out. 

 

It's a helluva sight to behold and I was there watching it live. But the Tech-Air 7X deploys in less than 50 milliseconds and reduces the harm around the surrounding area by 90%, according to Alpinestars. For what it's worth, a single blink of your eye takes 150 milliseconds. You could deploy three vests in the same time it takes you to literally open and close your eye. Neat. 

That all occurs thanks to three triaxial accelerometers (one on the back protector and two on the shoulders) and one triaxial gyroscope (in the back protector), which the company says "monitor the rider’s body for shocks or unexpected movements." And all that tech in the new Tech-Air 7X was designed for the racer in mind, as Alpinestars developed it with the help and data it's received from MotoGP riders. 

"Our team has analyzed riding data from millions of kilometers and thousands of crashes to continuously enhance the System’s intelligent crash detection algorithms," says Alpinestars, adding, "Upon the identification of a crash situation, which happens when the rider’s body is subjected to a high and/or sudden amount of energy, the algorithm will trigger the deployment of the protective Airbag, providing unrivaled protection to the rider or the passenger wearing the System."

Alpinestars Tech-Air 7X
Alpinestars Tech-Air 7X
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But this new Tech-Air 7X isn't just for the track, it can be worn on the street too, as it has two riding modes; Race and Street. Riders, however, should remember that you should always be in Street mode on the street as you don't want the Race algorithm to accidentally deploy it at a stoplight.

That said, if you do have a deployment, it isn't the end of your suit or even your riding day, as the Tech-Air 7X. Twin gas inflators are housed in the vest, operating separately and giving you two deployments within a day, while the vest itself has a total of four deployments before you need to get it serviced by Alpinestars. It'll also auto-deflate within a minute so you can get back to riding if you've had your first deployment. 

A fully charged battery will last you about 20 riding hours, and take about four hours to fully charge. The vest also has armor all the way down the spine ending at your tailbone for added protection. 

All-in-all, it's a pretty slick system that works with a host of other Alpinestars jackets and suits and is designed to keep your bones in healthy working order even if you lay a bike down. The vest will set you back a cool $999.95, but how much is your safety worth to you?

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