Having worn an airbag vest since I first got my license, I tried the Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 airbag vest to see how it differs from its competitors.
The development of motorcycle airbag vests represents a significant advancement in rider safety. Intelligent design, comfortable fit, and reliable performance offer a valuable layer of protection in an accident. First developed in Japan in the 1990s, airbag vests are designed to go over or under the riding jacket (depending on the design) and are equipped with sensors and gas inflator systems. Alpitestars’ crash detection has been developed from over two million kilometres of riding data and over 2,000 crashes.
Without the need for external connections or sensors, the Tech-Air 3 has six integrated sensors (including three accelerometers and one triaxial accelerometer) and three gyroscopes to detect sudden changes in acceleration and deceleration. In the event of an accident, the airbag inflates in milliseconds to protect vital areas of the upper body, including the neck, chest, and back.
Comfort and ease of use
One of the most crucial aspects of any motorcycle gear is comfort, especially when commuting when the need to go straight from the bike into normal life is more prevalent. Perfect for commuting, the Tech-Air 3 can go over or under the jacket, and its packable design allows it to be easily stored in a backpack or under a seat. However, this means it doesn’t include a back protector like some of its competitors.
The Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 Airbag System is one of the lightest airbag vests on the market and gives full upper-body protection once inflated. Deceptively easy to use, once charged, it just needs zipping up, and you’re ready to go. It activates automatically via the magnetic zip closure, and there is a vibration to indicate when the inflation system is engaged. If you suffer from memory issues, there is also a battery indicator on the front that can be seen while riding.
The status can also be checked on the app, which includes the ability to monitor the operational status, battery status, and software updates. The app also provides a detailed map of rides via MyRide.
As long as I have had my license, I have had an airbag vest. Wearing one is as natural as putting on my helmet, and the extra layer of protection makes me a more confident rider.
I bought a subscription model airbag device as at the time it was cheaper, however, little did I know that over the next two years, we would be struck with lockdowns, so I would be unable to ride. Unfortunately, I was left paying for something I was unable to use. The Tech-Air 3 has a one-off purchase price of £499.99, so although isn’t the cheapest on the market for the initial purchase, over time it works out more cost-effective.
For me, riding without an airbag vest is like riding without gloves or a proper kit in the UK. It can be done, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re someone who wears an airbag vest or sees the value in one, I recommend this one.