Alpinestars is once again leading the way in developing rider safety. Having pioneered countless innovations in boots, suits and gloves, notably the development of external protection on road race boots in the early 80’s and more recently employing the philosophy on its leather suits, they are now introducing a new dimension into race suit technology – a fully autonomous, multiple field data acquisition system. The Advanced Safety Technology suit (AST).
Fitting telemetry and acquiring data from race bikes and cars has been common practice for some years, however, acquiring data directly from the body of the rider/driver has not and Alpinestars is developing technology to allow technicians the ability to analyze the gravitational and impact forces, as well as the physiological effects experienced by a human when pushing the limits of a high performance race machine.
During the weekend of the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, MotoGP rider John Hopkins wore a leather suit equipped with the new A.S.T. system. Although indistinguishable from his usual race suit, John’s body was constantly monitored by a series of accelerometers, impact and physiological sensors.
The impact sensors are mounted on both external and internal surfaces of the suits protectors to measure the loads sustained and absorbed in a fall, without impeding or endangering the rider in any way. The sensors record the maximum impact value subjected to the rider, providing real situation data, above and beyond the test simulations currently conducted in the Alpinestars laboratory.
The custom data processor and solid-state memory, encased in an impact resistant structure and hidden in the back hump on John’s suit, acquire data throughout each session which can be downloaded immediately into a laptop plugged into a connector on the suit. The information can then be studied to analyze pressure point values, lateral G loads experienced, the rider’s pulse and the suit’s cooling performance.
The benefit of developing such technology is the tremendous amount of information that can be gathered about the stresses borne by a rider and the performance of safety equipment during a race and in the event of a fall. Alpinestars’ goal is to develop the technology to measure all the dimensional forces at work upon a rider and to allow greater understanding of material performance thereby improving safety both on the racetrack and ultimately on the road.
Alpinestars Tech 10 - Elevates MX Boot Technlology To A New Level
Top motocross riders are constantly pushing the limits of performance and demanding more and more from their equipment. Alpinestars has always shared this challenge for continuous development, and the Tech 10 is the latest result of this endless pursuit of performance and increased safety.
The Tech 10 project started over 3 years ago, when the technical footwear team at Alpinestars began looking closely at both the biomechanical performance of top riders and the latest material innovations becoming available to investigate how MX footwear could benefit.
Existing Alpinestars boots have ankle protection and support incorporated into their structures. To further improve on this concept, a new inner brace was developed. Using some of the lessons learned in the company's road racing program, where the Alpinestars Supertech boot leads the way with its unique torsion bar ankle support, the new MX brace on the Tech 10 features a patented double-hinged assembly. This double hinge joint enables the upper and lower protective structures to guard the ankle and heel, while still providing complete freedom, flexibility and feel to the rider, with no constraint until the point of over extension. A replaceable softer-material inner bar is also included with the Tech 10, allowing riders to customize the degree of ankle control and flex. This innovative internal structure also minimizes the chances of sprains and twists, and protects the ankle from lateral impacts.
The Tech 10 outer is designed with an ultra low profile bottom and its weight is minimized around the foot to bring the boot's center of gravity upwards, closer to the rider's body. This reduces the inertia of leg movements while riding and noticeably lessens fatigue.
The appearance of the Tech 10 is revolutionary in its construction and features a very low profile design, which provides a virtually flat surface against the bike. This streamlining has been applied from the sole, all the way up to the top of the boot, producing one continuously even surface that allows for unprecedented fit, grip and feel.
The Tech 10 features an innovative construction method that is completely different from all other motocross boots, (which feature traditional welt stitched sole and multi-layer construction) and is also a complete departure from Alpinestars' Vector boot. The Tech 10 is constructed with a lightweight single structure that utilizes different materials all built into one unit. These materials have differing densities, allowing the boot bottom to have varying degrees of impact absorbing support and flexibility throughout its construction. The foot peg area has been developed to provide extremely effective impact protection, while the boot's forefoot is specifically designed to give the rider flexibility and sensitivity on the bike's controls.
The outer construction is innovative and improves safety. The low profile bottom structure was matched to a unique rear guard that connects the hard PU protection on the upper and lower parts of the construction. The boot's design effectively combines two hard shells to protect the rider's foot and lower leg, with the double hinge internal ankle brace filling the flexible gap around the ankle. The PU rear guard adds lateral support and prevents the rider from over flexing backwards. The guard stops the boot's rearward flex progressively, before the rider's ankle reaches a dangerous angle, while also ensuring that the heel, Achilles and entire back of the rider's lower leg is protected from foot peg impacts.
New materials, right down to the new rubber top seal, ensure that this is the most technologically advanced boot ever developed. But the most telling aspect of the Tech 10 is hidden beneath its skin; in the design and development of the double hinged inner ankle brace. This innovation has allowed Alpinestars to radically improve the safety of its latest motocross boot and produce a truly worthy successor to the Tech 8.
The Tech 10 is currently being used by Alpinestars' top Motocross riders worldwide. With several wins already under its belt, the new boots have raised the bar of performance and are raced straight out of the box.
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