The kit list with Justin Hayzelden episode 3 | Emma Franklin discusses five years of wearing airbags

Welcome to the kit list with MCN Products Editor, Justin Hayzelden. In each episode, Justin sits down for a chat about bike kit with a different member of the MCN team. That might be the stuff they use day-to-day, the latest new kit they can’t wait to test or even the best of the gear they’ve used in previous years.

This time, it’s the turn of MCN Deputy Editor, Emma Franklin and she’s chosen to talk about her experiences so far with motorcycle airbags – which she’s been wearing for the past five years.

Previous episodes

Emma’s kit list:

My journey with airbags began with the Alpinestars Tech-Air Street, a revolutionary piece of gear that integrates seamlessly into Alpinestars jackets. This electronic airbag, equipped with advanced sensors, was a bit of a revelation, despite its heft. It felt a bit cumbersome at first—noticeably heavy and bulky, which made me always aware of its presence. It was quite an investment at about £1,000, but the sense of security it provided was unmatched at the time.

The A-Stars Tech-Air Street has been discontinued and this Tech-Air 5 is the current airbag in the range for street riding.

Pros

  • Excellent crash detection with sophisticated technology
  • Versatile integration with various jackets
  • Enhanced safety that gave me peace of mind

Cons

  • Its bulk and weight were constantly noticeable
  • The high initial cost was a bit daunting
I later moved on to the Dainese D-Air Misano 2, tailored for the racetrack. It focuses protection where racers need it most—the shoulders and collarbones. What sets it apart is not just its protective capabilities but also its built-in professional-spec data logger, which is fantastic for those who geek out over their performance metrics. Although it retailed around £2,500, the targeted protection and tech made it a worthwhile suit for any serious track enthusiast.

The Misano 2 D-Air has now been replaced with this Misano 3 version.

Pros

  • Targeted protection optimised for high-impact areas
  • Data logger feature enhances trackday experiences
  • Premium build quality suited for professional racing

Cons

  • Prohibitive cost limits its accessibility
  • Strictly for track use, which limits its everyday versatility
Advancements in technology brought me to the Tech-Air 3, a significant upgrade in comfort and weight from the first Alpinestars airbag. It was lighter, less intrusive, and easier to wear. However, it wasn’t without its quirks; it unexpectedly deployed once while I was in the office, causing quite a stir! Despite this, its improved ergonomics and functionality continued to impress me.

Read our full Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 review

Pros

  • Much lighter and more comfortable than earlier versions
  • Effective for daily commuting and extended rides
  • Fast charging with extensive battery life

Cons

  • Experienced some unexpected deployments
  • The magnetic clasp activation was occasionally too sensitive
Price: £475.75 (was £719.95)
Currently, I'm using the Dainese Smart Jacket, which represents the pinnacle of airbag tech in my view. It activates from zero miles per hour, offering protection even when stationary. It’s incredibly flexible and light, making it less daunting to wear even on hot days. Though initially sceptical about its bulk during summer rides, it’s proven to be surprisingly breathable.

Pros

  • Provides immediate protection, even at a standstill
  • Extremely light and portable, fitting unobtrusively over or under gear
  • Innovative design that’s effective yet discreet

Cons

  • Like all tech, it requires regular charging
  • Initial concerns about heat retention due to size were notable, though unfounded

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.