A new year brings many new and exciting things as usual. Klim has announced the release of its 2020 lineup with the Ai-1 airbag vest at the forefront. The new autonomous Ai-1 airbag vest was made in partnership with In&motion; a France-based company. In&motion spent over three years with world-class riders from MotoGP to endurance racing, British Superbike and French Superbike, as well as with skiers and horseback riders to refine the algorithm to provide the upmost safety to professional and everyday riders.
The system is quite simple overall. The Ai-1 vest is equipped with an “In&box” (the brain) which links to your phone, meaning that it’s able to update your system continuously as each algorithm update comes out. The In&box continuously records your riding information and can store up to 10,000 hours of riding data. From there the In&box can transmit your riding information like lean angle, speed and distance; and send it (with your consent) to their main database. The data is broken down and the algorithm is further refined and updated within the airbag systems for all users. It’s a unique system that allows the riders to improve the algorithm with data from their riding.
The back protection in the vest replaces the one in your current Klim jacket (new models have more stretch panels to accommodate the vest.) as it’s a CE Level 1-rated back-pad, designed to provide impact absorption in addition to the airbag which focuses it’s main coverage to the shoulders, neck, and thorax (where most motorcycle related impact occurs.) The Ai-1 vest has an inert gas canister that is easy to replace by the user and you can bring up to three of them on airline flights. This is the only air-bag inert gas canister that can be replaced by the user at a cost of just over $100 – others must be sent back to the manufacturer or refilled at special locations.
The Airbag vest crash detection and inflation happen in less than 60 milliseconds; to put that into perspective the Alpinestar Tech-air detects within 30-60 milliseconds and inflates in 25 milliseconds and the Dainese D-air will inflate in 45 milliseconds (couldn’t find reliable detection time). The Klim Ai-1 vest can be inflated three times before it’s recommended you purchase a new vest, others need to either be replaced or sent back after each inflation.
I had the chance to try it out under the Klim Women’s Artemis jacket during the release of Klim’s 2020 line-up. Not only did it protect the neck, chest, back and stomach, but allowed for serious neck stabilization which is ideal in case of injury. The vest offered such rigid protection I felt I almost had the wind knocked out of me because of the inflation. In&motion decided to have the airbag deflate slowly over several minutes or until the canister is released from the vest. The reasoning for this came through conversations with paramedics and their experiences in a variety of emergencies. The idea between the long-lasting inflation is to provide stability to the neck and rib cage incase of spinal or chest injury and to keep the body intact until emergency services arrive. The vest is slim and light, it was comfortable to wear and I didn’t notice it with the jacket on. It was incredible to feel the rigidity that the vest offered once inflated. I’ve always thought it was odd that we don’t wear chest protection while riding on the road, this is the solution. -Emily Roberts
The Klim Ai-1 Airbag vest is set to retail for $539.95 to $579.95 CAD depending on the size and we should expect to see it on the market in the second quarter of 2020. In addition to the cost of the vest, you have to pay a subscription fee for the app on your phone, which can be put on hold through the winter months and then reactivated for the riding season. There are also plans to update the back armour to Level 2 and offer different rider style settings in future updates and models. It’s great to see innovations like this coming out for recreational riders, we all like to think we’d never crash; but in the off chance we do having additional protection on your core becomes as valuable as your helmet.