‘Protection and versatility’
Alpinestars Tech-air 3 airbag
“The latest addition to the
Alpinestars' Tech-air® family, Techair® 3 enables riders of all disciplines to benefit from a standalone, wearable garment featuring all the protection that Tech-air® delivers, regardless of the bike they ride, or the style of riding they do. Engineered to be worn in all weather conditions.”
I’m a big advocate for airbags but they can be cumbersome if worn inside your favourite jacket, while outside can affect a jacket’s venting.
This one from Alpinestars seeks to do both, by being snug enough to wear inside an appropriately sized main jacket or flexible enough to go outside of it.
I tried a Large vest inside several
Large jackets, including one I have been wearing for a year with another manufacturer’s airbag and it is no more cumbersome than that vest.
I also tried it on the outside of the same jackets and it stretches easily to offer less bulking inside the jacket but obviously, may cover external vents which could reduce airflow in the warm. You will also need a back protector in the outer jacket though, as the Tech-air 3 has no inherent back protection (unlike other airbags) unless you add one to it — there is a pocket for one.
Activation is almost automatic — there is a magnetic catch on the main zip to make it easier to start it and the vest activates when it is done up. The LED panel on the front shows the status and buzzes so you get a haptic signal as well.
There is no subscription to worry about so while the upfront cost may seem more than other vests, that’s it. The cost includes updates as they are available and the Alpinestars Tech-air app allows you to switch between street and race mode. There is no off-road mode but the paperwork says it will cope with very light off-road riding or it can be deactivated for tougher stuff.
Setting it up is not too bad. You have to charge effectively the whole vest through a USB-C lead or a magnetic one, which can be a bit of a faff and if the airbag is deployed, it needs to go back to a dealer to be re-prepared, at a cost of £105.
It’s a different take on airbag protection for those who want the flexibility to be able to wear a vest on the inside or the outside of their main jacket. And with literally millions of kilometres of data to rely on, you know it will look after you.