Alpinestars Tech Air 3: Clever gear you can stash in your rucksack when you aren’t riding

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Alpinestars’ new autonomous airbag system, the Tech-Air 3, could save your life in the blink of an eye – and it is small enough to pack away in a rucksack or under the seat of a scooter when you aren’t riding.

The new third-generation model offers an entry level option while still giving a high level of safety as it uses the same crash detection algorithm used in the Tech-Air 5 Street.

Alpinestars say the system has been developed and refined with millions of miles of riding data, allowing the control unit to accurately assess when to deploy ahead of an impact or other dangerous situations such as a lowside, or highside crash.

Alpinestars Tech Air 3 airbag cutaway

The result of all this brain power and monitoring is a system which will inflate the airbag in 50 milliseconds – for comparison, a blink of a human eye takes between 100 and 400 milliseconds.

Alpinestars Media and Communications Manager Christopher Hillard told us: “We wanted to hit the market with something that could suit every rider. Because it does not have a built-in back protector (unlike the 5 and 10 models) it can be packed away quite small, under a seat on a scooter or put into a backpack when it is not being used.

“It’s easily wearable over whatever jacket you wear, or you could just put it over a top and have some coverage.”

Alpinestars Tech Air 3 worn by a model

It also represents a first for the company as it has been specifically designed in versions for both male and female riders. “We definitely want to make sure we have specific products and technologies for women riders,” said Hillard.

The technology continues with an LED display indicating the system’s operational status, which becomes active automatically via the magnetic, diagonally orientated zip closure. An alert vibrates to confirm the system is armed, as well as alerting the rider when the battery is running low (Alpinestars say it has a 40-hour battery life).

Available in black or black with a hi-vis green front panel and upper back band, a medium sized vest weighs just 1725g.

Alpinestars Tech Air 3 front and back

Alpinestars began their airbag development in 2003 and have continuously raised the bar on and off the track.

Hillard added: “Through the years the electronics have got smaller, the airbag coverage has got larger and the algorithm has got stronger in being able to detect and deploy. Given what we have achieved in the last 20 years I don’t think have put a ceiling on what can be achieved.”

Tech-Air 3 retails for £499.99. An off-road specific system will be released in the next few months.

Alipnestars Tech Air 3 in detail

All-round protection: Four chambers cover the chest and five chambers cover the back. They are linked by an over-the-shoulder chamber giving extra protection to the collarbone. The argon cannister has a five-year shelf life.

Super versatile: The Tech-Air 3 can be worn either over or under your leather or textile jacket provided there is enough space for airbag deployment.

Weather-beater: The electronics and deployment apparatus of the Tech-Air 3 are housed within waterproof compartments and the jacket also has a passive back protector slot built in.

Stuart Prestidge

By Stuart Prestidge