Airbag vests are becoming more mainstream, the technology trickling down from MotoGP racing to mere mortals like you and me. There are two broad categories: tethered, which attaches to the bike and uses the broken connection to activate the airbag; and wireless, which uses sophisticated algorithms and gyroscopic sensors to determine when to activate. Klim’s entry into the wearable airbag vest arena, the Ai-1, is of the latter category. So what makes this piece of potentially lifesaving and almost certainly pain-and-suffering-saving apparel tick?
The “brain” of the Ai-1 is by a French company called In&Motion, which got its start making wearable airbag protection for equestrians and skiers. The Ai-1 is the first motorcycle-centric wearable airbag for both In&Motion and Klim, and according to Klim it’s also the first to use artificial intelligence to continually evolve and “learn” how best to protect us. Using data collected from its vests, canyon carving, cruising and racing all over the world, the Ai-1 is continuously updating its algorithms, ostensibly resulting in a safer, smarter product.
Unfortunately (well, fortunately), I did not test the Ai-1’s crash performance, but I’m happy to report on its comfort and usability. Like any piece of technology, there is a bit of setup time involved once unpacked from its shipping box. The vest will not function until you activate the “brain,” which involves downloading the My In&Box app, creating a user account, choosing a payment plan and pairing your vest to your account. Uniquely, Klim and In&Motion have also chosen to offer a subscription plan, which is why the Ai-1 vest, at $399.99, costs quite a bit less than its competitors. You have the option of paying $12/month or $120/year, which includes an unlimited warranty, VIP support and a new “brain” after three years; or buying the “brain” outright for $399, which includes a two-year warranty and basic support.
Once set up, all you have to do is push the vest’s power button and put it on. It is not abrasion-resistant or waterproof, and you will want to make sure your jacket fits loosely enough to allow the vest to inflate (detailed instructions on how to verify your jacket is compatible with the Ai-1 can be found on klim.com). While the airbag covers the front of the torso, around the back of the neck and down each side of the spine, the Ai-1 also includes a CE-certified back protector, so you will want to remove the one in your jacket when wearing the vest. The battery lasts for 20-plus hours (and is easy to charge with the included USB cable) and it is designed to withstand up to three inflations (crashes) before needing to be serviced.
I hope I never have to test the Ai-1’s protection capabilities, but I have to admit that I feel safer when I’m wearing it. The Ai-1 is available in unisex sizes Small to 3XL; see website for sizing details.
For more information: call (208) 552-7433 or visit klim.com