BMW Motorrad Street Air by Alpinestars jacket, £1600

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The name may be quite a mouthful, but this new airbag jacket represents the first tie-up between BMW and protective clothing specialists Alpinestars.

The Street Air adopts the airbag technology from Alpinestars’ Tech-Air system, which uses body-mounted sensors to detect a crash scenario and inflate the airbag in time to help protect the rider’s upper body.

Alpinestars have demonstrated in past tests of the system that the airbag is fully inflated within 25 milliseconds (0.025) of being triggered. Once inflated, the bag covers the back, kidneys, chest and shoulders, which are highly vulnerable in the event of an accident.

The internal accelerometers are capable of detecting sudden motions that suggest a crash, either through the bike striking an outside object, the rider falling from the bike or when the bike itself is struck, such as being hit from behind by a car when sitting in queueing traffic.

Both BMW and Alpinestars make a point in their publicity material about the Street Air system being suitable for use on both tarmac and dirt – important for a company that sells so many adventure motorcycles.

The airbag sits inside a textile jacket with a breathable waterproof membrane to keep the weather at bay. The outer is made from 500-denier Cordura and it’s equipped with CE-approved elbow and shoulder armour, with the option to add a back protector to beef up the protection from the airbag.

The jacket will be available in grey or black in chest sizes 36in-50in for men and sizes 6-20 for women. The outer jacket and airbag vest will be available separately, but the £1600 price covers both (thankfully!)

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in New Gear…

Tony Hoare

By Tony Hoare

Former MCN Consumer Editor