The New Drake Air Textile pants from Dainese might not look like what one would think of for summer/hot weather riding pants but looks can be deceiving. Venting is better than expected and the trade off of protection from solid textile versus use of mesh appears to be worth it.
At the time of this writing, the first official day of Summer is only a couple of weeks away. As such, it’s time to start breaking out the hot weather riding gear. A lot of riders will be reaching for riding gear that includes mesh fabrics in the construction. I’m one of those riders and I’ll be the first to admit that a lot mesh gear is a compromise between ventilation and protection.
For my jacket, I currently wear a Knox Zephyr (first gen) which is a combination of a very tough mesh material and solid, abrasion resistant fabric. In this case, I feel the mesh material is strong enough and well placed that the jacket itself should offer reasonable protection for street riding. The Zephyr is also close fitting so the armor installed should remain in place during a crash.
As far as pants go, that’s a different story. My current mesh pants are a pair of Olympia AirGlide pants which I wear as overpants for commuting duties. Like most mesh/textile pants, these are loose fitting so while they work fine as overpants, they are too loose, in my opinion, for standalone use when riding.
By the way, in case the powers-that-be at Knox Armour are reading this, if a pair of pants designed in a similar way as the Zephyr jacket became a reality, I’d be first in line to buy a pair. Just sayin’ -B
I’ve also found that mesh pants that include mesh at the shin area can actually be a “cooling liability” as engine heat can get straight to one’s lower legs. Not all bikes create this problem but my Triumph Sprint 1050 did and my Ninja 1000 does expel some waste heat at the ankle/shin level. In these cases I’d rather have something solid blocking the wind in that area.
The point is that my current riding gear didn’t really include a pair of pants that worked well for hot weather riding, commuting aside. The hunt was now on for a pair of riding pants that had a mix of ventilation and protection that also didn’t break the bank and here’s where I landed.
The people over at Helite have been cooking up something new in the wearable airbag space for 2020. Currently there are only two major players that make electronically triggered wearable airbag devices for motorcycle riders. Dainese and Alpinestars. As they are very new, first generation products, there are barriers to widespread adoption as prices a re relatively high and if the products do get activated, they have to be returned to the manufacturer for “re-arming”
On the other side of the “airbag” street we have vests from companies like HitAir and Helite. These devices employ a physical connection from the device to the motorcycle, triggering once the rider has left the seat. These type of vests have the advantage of simpler design, ease of “re-arming” by way of a user replaceable cartridge, and cost around the same price as a premium level helmet.
Helite has starting spreading the word that they will be releasing their own electronically activated vests in the Spring of 2020 starting with their race model, the GP, followed by a version of their Turtle 2 vest that will use the same (or similar) electronics.
Why is this important? Helite has taken the best parts of both worlds here by using electronics sensors to detect when an impact has occurred combined with the convenience of user replaceable gas cartridges. Having the electronics means potential for faster start of inflation while the total cost of ownership should be reduced by user serviceable parts.
Below is the info I saw at the ADV Rider forums that was posted by Patrick at Helite. (or at least is claimed to be from him 🙂 )
HELITE will be offering an Electronically Triggered Airbag System besides the already existing Mechanically Triggered Airbag System!
The first available electronic option will the HELITE GP Air Vest. Then the Electronic System will also become available for the HELITE Turtle 2 Vest. We do not expect these to be available until Spring 2020 and pricing has not been released yet either!
The Electronic Systems will feature 2 sensors. One that is decting impact even at stanstill and one motion sensor in the Vest itself. The Vest is instantly re-usable by simply replacing the CO2 cartridge similar to the already exisitng Mechanical Airbag System. No need to send the vest in to have it re-set or re-packed UNLESS, of course, it is damaged and you would like us to check the functionality.
If you have any questions whatsoever feel free to send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! As soon as we have pricing information available and a better ETA we will also be accepting pre-orders.
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