Best RST airbag clothing

RST airbag clothing offers an affordable way for many riders to get the latest safety tech. There are many, me included, who passionately feel that personal airbag clothing is the next game-changer for motorcycle safety and protection.

It kind of stands to reason and if you’re in any doubt, the fact that MotoGP and other race series have made it mandatory for riders should give you an indication of just how important it can be.

French company In&motion joined the game a few years ago and changed it considerably. They had been working with other sports and developed the airbag system, technology and the software that determined whether the rider was experiencing an accident or not and effectively licences it to kit makers.

Related: Best motorcycle airbag jackets

One of the clothing manufacturers to adopt this technology is British firm RST. It has chosen to integrate the airbag into its clothing at the construction stage, rather than use it as a universal vest (which can compromise the fit of the jacket) or a zip-in insert (with the same issues). As a result, RST airbags are permanently fitted and will always offer that protection.

While much of the brand’s range is available with the integrated airbag technology, some of the garments are also available without it, ready for conventional protection such as regular back protectors.

Some people may not appreciate the security that an airbag offers or may feel it’s a little over the top, so they could buy the same garment but without the airbag tech. Having used it myself for the last couple of years though, I wouldn’t be without it.

Here are some of the products in the RST range that are available with integrated airbag technology as well as with conventional protection.

The Pro Adventure-X is RST's flagship adventure jacket and is designed to allow riders to cross winter landscapes as well as arid ones. The outer is formed in MaxTex with a removable liner that combines both waterproofing and thermal properties, keeping the wearer dry and warm.

It encompasses a SinAqua membrane, RST’s own version, to allow the body to breathe and there are huge vents on the chest, arms and rear of the jacket to allow airflow in when the liner is removed. It also has a pocket on the back for the optional drink bladder and comes with external TPU bracing on the shoulders. Find the non-airbag version here
CE Rating: AA
Armour rating: Level-2 (shoulder, elbow and back)

The Paragon 6 is the latest version of one of RSTu2019s most popular touring jackets. Like the Adventure-X, the outer is formed in MaxTex ballistic material with a hydrophobic Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating and it uses a fixed SinAqua membrane to give added protection against rain.

There is also a mesh liner to promote airflow and a thermal lining to keep the rider warm on chilly rides. This can be removed on warmer rides and a range of vents, including on the chest, shoulder and chest allow a huge amount of air in to cool the rider.

There are plenty of adjustments for a proper fit, as well as movement panels for comfort on the bike and it comes with a storm collar to tuck up into the helmet, preventing rain from running down inside the neck of the jacket. Find the non-airbag version here.
CE rating: AA
Armour rating: Level-1

The Axiom was designed as a utilitarian piece of clothing, for people who use their bike purely as transport yet still want to be fully protected. Itu2019s a 3/4 length touring-style jacket that, like others in RST's textile range, uses a MaxTex outer with a fixed SinAqua waterproof and breathable membrane to keep the weather out and warmth in.

There’s no thermal liner, instead, the idea being the rider wears whatever clothing they want underneath and it protects from the weather and impacts. It has waterproof pockets and vents to allow cooling air in as well as TPU inserts on the shoulders and the In&motion airbag system built-in.
CE rating: AA
Armour rating: Level-1

The textile Sabre is a shorter, sporty jacket that is ready for whatever the elements throw at it. The outer is formed in HTC fabric with a Durable Water Resistant layer to act as a primary shield from rain and stop the material from absorbing water.

There is also a SinAqua membrane to allow the body to breathe while warmth comes from a full-length thermal lining with a mesh layer to help promote airflow within the garment. There are air inlet vents in the front as well as exhaust in the rear and TPU sections on the outside of the shoulders. Find the non-airbag version here
CE rating: AAA (airbag), AA (non-airbag)
Armour rating: Level-1

The Sabre leather is a fundamentally similar design of jacket to the textile Sabre u2013 a short, sporty jacket but with the outer formed in drum-dyed soft-touch matt cowhide leather with four-way stretch material in key areas for comfort on the bike.

It has a removable thermal vest with a mesh lining that is quick-dry and comes with level-1 armour and external TPU sliders on the shoulders. The non-airbag version has a pocket for an optional back protector. Not surprisingly, it has a AAA CE rating. Find the non-airbag version here
CE rating: AAA
Armour rating: Level-1

The Fusion is another leather jacket though this time, a much more relaxed design than the Sabre, with a definite retro look and feel as opposed to the sporty nature of the Sabre. The Fusion uses an outer formed in Analine leather with a smooth, matt finish with stretch material under the arms and to the sides for improved comfort on the bike.

It has a narrow fit to the torso and ribbed sections over the shoulders for a vintage feel, with metallic fasteners and buckles completing the understated look and feel.
CE rating: AA
Armour rating:  Level-1

The F-Lite is definitely designed for warmer climates, with large sections of mesh to allow huge amounts of air to enter to keep the rider cool. In addition to the mesh panels in non-critical areas, the outer is made in RS

T's HTC fabric and there is a windproof and water-resistant liner in case things turn wet or cold.
The collar and cuffs are lined with Amara for comfort and there is plenty of adjustment in the arms and the waist. The non-airbag version has a pocket for a back protector, and both have external TPU cups on the shoulders. Find the non-airbag version here
CE rating:  AA (airbag), A (non-airbag)
Armour rating:  Level-1

The Podium is RSTu2019s entry-level airbag-equipped race suit and is designed to offer excellent protection on a budget. It is formed in full-grain leather with four-way stretch panels for fit and comfort and is cut less aggressively than pure race suits, making it perfect for sporty road rides as well as track use.

It has a mesh lining to absorb sweat and promote airflow and there is ventilation within the panels to help further. It comes with a full suite of Level-1 armour, including at the hips and external shoulder cups as well as the In&motion airbag system.
CE Rating:  AAA
Armour rating:  Level-1

The Pro Series suit is a step up in terms of its technical specification from the Podium, with a premium cowhide construction and stretch panels to the side of the torso, the arms, across the chest, knees, elbows, inner legs and the back.

There is double-layered leather on the seat and a coccyx protector and the overall cut is also less aggressive than a full race suit, making it ideal for trackdays or occasional road forays.

It features neoprene cuffs and collar and Level-2 armour throughout, with the exception of the knees, which is Level-1 and there are external TPU cups on the shoulders and knees.
CE Rating:  AAA
Armour rating:  Level-2 (Knees L1)

The V4.1 is RSTu2019s flagship one-piece race suit and features the In&motion airbag technology and a complimentary yearu2019s subscription to the Race level of protection. The suit itself uses a mixture of cowhide and kangaroo leather in its construction, which has been derived from the racetrack.

It is further reinforced with aramid fibres and features a full suite of Level-2 armour as well as external TPU sliders on the shoulders and knees with hook-and-loop panels to attached knee and elbow sliders while there are also tank-gripper panels on the inside of the knees.
CE rating:  AAA
Armour rating:  Level-2

How does In&motion work?

Whatever clothing manufacturer adopts the In&motion system, they all use the same basic hardware; a D3O back protector housing the inflator with a plastic cover over the top housing the main brain.

This ensures that should the battery run out while out, the rider is still fully protected. The brain measures the bike’s speed using GPS sensors and a series of accelerometers and gyroscopes to determine what the bike is doing.

It compares that with millions of kilometres’ worth of data – both normal and crashing – to determine whether the airbag needs to be deployed.

When you get a system that uses the In&motion technology, you can either buy the brain outright (for €399 – it’s a French company, after all) or you can lease it, for €12 a month for the basic, road package. It also has two other ‘maps’ – track and adventure – each of which costs €8 a month but they can be turned on and off as you wish.

What other options are there?

There are various ways to get personal airbag protection and various manufacturers. Helite, for example, favours vests that sit on the outside of your normal clothing so you can wear whatever you want. A neat solution but it can potentially affect the breathability or venting of your clothing.

Both Alpinestars and Dainese have their own systems, both developed in racing with Alpinestars originally using an airbag vest integrated into its jackets and Dainese developing a universal vest designed to fit under any jacket.

However, both of the Italian companies’ systems were initially heavy, cumbersome and expensive, both to buy and to recharge if the airbag is deployed.

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