July 12th 2005.
Ben Bostrom, the Renegade Koji Honda rider, has been trialling a new Alpinestars cooling system. The system is incorporated in his Alpinestars Tech back-protector.
Codenamed 'Embedded Air', the innovative product is part of Alpinestars' on-going 'Cool Rush' programme, which is developing technologies to assist rider cooling. The Embedded Air system adds 200g to the weight of the Tech back protector, and Alpinestars' claims that the level of protection is not adversely affected.
Several other Alpinestars' MotoGP riders, including Nicky Hayden, John Hopkins, Kenny Roberts Jnr. and Shane Byrne have tested the system. It provides a cooling effect whereby the active area of the back protector drops in temperature for up to 40 minutes.
The system features a small, lightweight fan, which is built into the top of the back protector and held firmly in place between hard foam bosses. Several intake holes are drilled into the hard plastic armour above the fan, allowing air to be sucked in while the rider is stationary.
The fan is powered by a lightweight battery pack, concealed within the protector. When on the move, there is a natural flow of air into the protector.
Within the shock-absorptive foam of the protector, there are two frozen gel inserts, positioned along the rider's spine. These provide an immediate cooling effect as soon as the protector is worn. There are also two frozen sponges, which melt at a controlled rate, releasing cool water along a 50cm piece of channelled mesh.
This mesh allows the water and circulating air to be distributed evenly, lowering the temperature by about 50F (10C) for the first 10 minutes, with a constant cooling effect of about 45F (7C) for the following 30 minutes.
After riding in 100F heat at Misano, Bostrom said: "It felt really nice, especially when I was sitting out on the Misano grid for so long during for race one. Instead of getting really hot, you've just got this cool feeling down your back."
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