Home Sport gear Dainese D-Air Smart LS Jacket

Dainese D-Air Smart LS Jacket

0

Most MotoGP innovations never make it to the road, and for good reason. Carbon brakes, seamless gearboxes and ride height devices help set all-time lap records, but such complex technology is overkill for street use. Unlike all those cutting-edge performance technologies, advances in MotoGP equipment almost always hit the mainstream market and Dainese led the airbag revolution with its D-Air system.

Launched in the 2007 MotoGP season, D-Air has evolved over the past 15 years. In 2011, the brand launched the D-Air Racing range for track use. Four years later, the road system has brought Grand Prix-level protection to everyday riders. While Dainese’s MotoGP innovations have trickled down to the road over time, D-Air’s latest Street Smart Jacket series doesn’t dilute this advanced technology.

The Italian firm launched the new line with the vest-style Smart Jacket. The over/under unit prioritized versatility, but it alone could not provide complete protection. By adding Pro-Armor equipped sleeves to this stock entry, the Smart Jacket LS provides a standalone option. After wearing the long-sleeve jacket for months and deploying the airbag once, we can now tell if D-Air truly lives up to its MotoGP roots.

The brains of the operation

Before diving into the Smart Jacket experience, it’s important to explain how the system works. Dainese equips the LS with a gyroscope and an accelerometer. The brand’s proprietary algorithm monitors these sensor inputs 1,000 times per second and deploys the airbag when it detects a slip or high-side collision.

Unlike the race-focused D-Air family, the Smart Jacket adapts to road use by also registering side, front and rear collisions. Dainese reports that the inflated airbag provides protection comparable to seven back protectors (CE Level 1) and regular system updates ensure the customer is using the latest MotoGP-derived algorithm.

All of this technical gibberish sounds complex on paper, but D-Air couldn’t simplify how the Smart Jacket works. The user simply connects the magnetic buttons inside the collar and the system takes it from there. The jacket even vibrates several times as the magnets come into contact, letting the rider know it’s usable. Off the bike, the color coded chest badge illuminates blue, indicating that the jacket remains in standby mode and will not deploy the airbag.

As soon as the Smart Jacket detects engine vibrations, the LED interface turns green. This puts the system sensor and airbag into active mode. The D-Air Jacket’s 26-hour battery cycle includes active and standby intervals. Those looking to save charge can disconnect the mag-collar at pit stops, but the chest badge flashes red (every five seconds) when the jacket starts to run low on juice.

In these cases, the LS remains usable, but the system sends haptic and visual reminders for the user to connect the unit as soon as possible. Fortunately, these alerts are not last-minute notifications. During an extended ride, the D-Air jacket held up for three hours after the initial low battery signal. This generous warning period suits both commuters and long-distance travellers. When the user finally reaches a plug, the Smart Jacket fully charges in four hours, helping riders get back on the road without sacrificing protection.

Enter where you are

D-Air combines the simplistic operation of the Smart Jacket with a simple, timeless design. Similar to most Dainese gear, the jacket favors a fitted, fitted silhouette. The classic styling and slim fit may appeal to a wide range of riders, but the Smart Jacket’s lack of adjustability in the waist, arms, or wrists makes it unsuitable for various body shapes and sizes.

Dainese D-Air Smart Jacket LS - On the bike
Dainese D-Air Smart Jacket LS - Off-bike

Standing at five feet, 10 inches and weighing 160 pounds, the D-Air jacket fit my dimensions like a tailored blazer. Even with the Pro-Armor (level 2 CE) protectors on the elbows and shoulders, the LS’s abrasion-resistant outer shell hugs my proportions. This mesh construction also improved airflow at high speeds. Unfortunately, the air bag bladders in my chest and back obstructed my core ventilation, but the arms admitted a cooling breeze.

While the Smart Jacket’s clean fit and classic styling light up the eyes, the D-Air system doesn’t feel so light on the body. The airbag device pushes the weight of the LS up to four pounds. Dainese also positions the two airbag cartridges between the user’s back (latissimus dorsi) and the oblique muscles. That ribbed weight isn’t distracting in the saddle, but off the horse, the Smart Jacket can quickly become cumbersome.

Rapid deployment

In most cases, gear reviews end with a variation of “Fortunately, I haven’t tested the vest’s crash protection”. I can’t claim to know the low-side, high-side, or crash integrity of the Smart Jacket, but a small tip on D-Air’s verified vigilant monitoring. At such a slow clip, the airbag easily inflated before I even hit the ground. However, I didn’t record the unit’s deployment until much later.

Dainese D-Air Smart Jacket LS - Deployed, Lateral
Dainese D-Air Smart Jacket LS - Deployed, Front

With equal parts adrenaline and embarrassment clouding my senses, I didn’t realize the airbag had activated until I humbly got to my feet. This modest drop didn’t really test the Smart Jacket’s abrasion resistance or Pro-Armor protections, but it gave me reassurance that the system would back me up in a rear crash.

It took little effort for me to trigger the Smart Jacket, and Dainese made replacing the airbags a no-brainer. I dropped the jacket off at my local Dainese store and received the refurbished item in less than a month. For $250, the replacement process isn’t a cheap option. However, when it comes to keeping the ultra-protective Smart Jacket in use, that price seems like a reasonable compromise.

Conclusion

Of course, that $250 service charge only applies to the $899.95 MSRP of the D-Air Smart Jacket LS. Still, the Dainese airbag jacket remains a bargain in my book. Even considering its heavy weight and bulky rear section, I would choose the Smart Jacket over any non-airbag competitors. I did most of the time. Unless the ride required a specialty jacket (adventure, sport, touring, etc.), I chose the D-Air every time.

Dainese D-Air Smart Jacket LS - Twisties

In this sense, the Smart Jacket is a great generalist. Whether you’re cutting through city traffic, meandering through the curves of a canyon, or hurtling down the highway, the LS will respond in the moment. The airbag, Pro-Amor pads, and advanced technology already make the Smart Jacket worth using, but its refined fit, intuitive operation, and smart interface set it apart as the go-to option in my closet. Dainese’s D-Air system is one of the only MotoGP innovations to find its way onto the road, and for several good reasons.