Alpinestars Tech-Air Airbag

Discussion in 'Vendors' started by Motodisiac, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    Hey guys,

    Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of visiting the Alpinestars headquarters and getting a demo of their Tech-Air in-suit airbag system. It was an eye-opening experience. I was so impressed with what I saw that I'm now 100% convinced that the airbag system will save your life and ALL riders should invest in one for themselves and their passengers.

    I noticed that there are several questions and a lot of confusion scattered around Equipment forum regarding the Tech Air airbag system so I wanted to start a dedicated thread on the subject.

    Below is the video from my Tech-Air demo. If you have ever been in a car crash, you may know that the airbag exploding in your face can be a painful experience. When I tried a test-run of the Tech-Air airbag system, I was ready for a similar sensation. But despite my concerns, when the airbag went off, it didn't hurt at all. It was loud, and I felt a reassuring pressure pretty much all over my upper body. This was the most surprising aspect of the experience. I expected it to inflate mainly around my shoulders and collarbone area, but it wrapped my entire torso. In the blink of an eye, I felt like I was surrounded by a 2-inch concrete cocoon. It was rock hard and stayed fully inflated for a while. All I could think of at that moment was if my friend who died from chest trauma after a car flipped a U-turn in front of him had been wearing one, he would still be alive. It was a powerful moment that instantly sold me on the technology.

    There is a reason all modern cars come equipped with airbags. Also, there is a reason that airgags are a requirement in Moto GP. Plain and simple - the system works. It's by far the best way to decrease your chances of a serious injury or worse.

    One of the most common comments we hear about Tech Air is that it's expensive. Even from folks on 20K+ bikes with $1000 iPhones. We say it's nonsense. How much would you pay not to spend a night in the hospital? How about coming home in one piece and seeing your kid again? Would your mom pay 2K to see you grow old? Some things are essentially priceless. We personally feel that Tech Air makes as much of a difference as a full face helmet. And we do not ride without either one.

    Would love to hear some thoughts on the subject.

    #1
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  2. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    Tech-Air vest review straight from the horse's mouth:

    #2
  3. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    I'm quite surprised and sad to see this thread not gain any traction. In my opinion Tech Air represents the biggest leap for motorcycle safety gear in recent years. Arguably, it's no less important and than a quality full face helmet.

    TechAir.gif

    I was at Alpinestars presentation the other day when they talked about the advantages of Tech Air and I managed to snap this pic. To me, these numbers are mindblowing. No armor stands even close. 98% reduction of the energy transferred to your body compared to typical CE1 Shoulder protection? Insane difference. Even compared to the highest rated CE2 back protector that I know of, Forcefield Pro Sub 4, the energy is reduced by nearly 50%. And your entire upper body is covered, not just your back.

    Since we started selling Tech Air a little over a year ago, about half a dozen were tested by our customers. Pretty much every single person was grateful to have it on at the time of a crash. None got any serious injuries and some crashes were potentially life threatening.

    So what is stopping you from investing in your safety?
    #3
  4. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    I ordered and returned 2 Alpinestars last year. Lets just say the XL flt like a M to me. When a different jacket came out, I thought it might be a regular XL. Nope. This year they have 2 and 3 XL more to the fitment of the average American rider. I imagine that killed a lot of sales last year. They shouldn't have launched until they had sizes that fit an average rider, and sizing it like a Klim would have been helpful too. This year I thought I would try a D-Air. I got a 2XL that fit, but according to the manual that came with it, it was a chest and back protection only. Quite different than the shoulder coverage shown on the FC-Moto site. Dianese (I bought it directly from them; no one else had one) had no phone number to call to ask about it. Finally I thought the owners manual couldn't be wrong so I sent it back. I just gave up and just made a deal on a Wing with an airbag. I'll still wear my Helite, or I may replace it with a cooler Hit Air. These things are "bleeding edge". I couldn't find anythng posted about them. The same with the new D-Air.
    #4
  5. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    I agree there is not much correct information out there. At least you tried. By now we have a lot of experience sizing people and yes, the sizing is not what you would expect.

    We also sell new gen 3 D-Air system. They are just starting to come in. Coverage is certainly limited compared to Tech-Air, new Street D-Air covers chest / neck area only. Reduced coverage is a trade off for more comfort. It's almost invisible and you cannot even tell it's there. Feels just like the jacket with the back protector. It's also priced very nice, $1100 buys you the whole package (our favorite Racing D-Air jacket). Now if they could come out with vented touring D-Air jacket I would be all over it.
    #5
  6. kaia

    kaia team F5 ⌘R

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    I've been riding with the Tech-air system since last summer, Riding with the somewhat new (at that time) Andes Pro v2 Tech-air jacket. I've also had the unfortunate experience of actually experiencing a crash while the system is on... See my comments below for the crash part.

    From a fit and usage perspective, the Alpinestars jackets do run a bit small, as noted in other feedback above, and the airbag itself doesn't help - But i'd counter with the fact that the same thing happens with other manufacturers. I'm 6'4", 250 lbs, and I have worn both a 3XL and 4XL of the Alpinestars jackets - the only reason I went up to a 4XL was because I have monkey arms, and the 3XL sleeves were just a touch too short. That said - My previous jackets were a Rev'it Cayenne pro, also a 3XL, and a Klim Badlands pro in XL. Every manufacturer has different size profiles and you just have to work with that manufacturers' sizing - In the end find something that fits your body regardless what the tag says.

    Regarding the airbag, yes - it's a bit bulky. Size wise - it's not much bigger than a high end level 2 back protector - similar in size and shape to the Alpinestars Nucleon KR-1 Road Back Protector, possibly with more width & coverage. On the other side of it's fit - it's quite a bit heavier than a level 2 back protector (obviously due to the battery lack, C02 cartridges and airbag mechanics), and you only really notice it as you put the jacket on - once the jacket is on, the kidney belt is strapped, and the jacket zipped, you don't notice the extra weight. It's there, but not uncomfortable - the way the vest is designed, it distributes the weight across your body.

    Once the jacket is on, I think the only minor annoyance is that the Tech-air airbag boot up sequence is a little slow. Tech-wise, once the jacket's zipper is zipped past the yellow tab on the zipper, the airbag starts its boot up sequence, where it orients the accelerometers. The downside of the system, which is only a minor annoyance, is that you have to be standing & moving (i walk around the bike spot checking stuff like chain, bolts, cables) for at least a minute. Before getting the Airbag system I would zip the jacket, and then put on my helmet but doing so, i'm mostly standing still - this doesn't let the airbag start up properly (it needs movement), and you'll have to reset the jacket by unzipping the jacket and re-triggering the startup sequence.

    You can clearly see the status of the airbag on the sleeve LEDs, which helps. As a minor note - the LEDs are very bright, visible at all times, even in bright sunlight. I find myself noticing the green status LED in my left hand rear-view mirror as I ride, getting comfort in the fact that it's working, and ready. I you have a problem with the jacket, you can also reset it while riding, as long as you can manage the zipper one-handed. I've rushed to leave a few times and failed the startup sequence, only to realize that the status was red while on the road. I fumbled with unzipping the zipper to the yellow tab, pushed the tab apart with my fingers, and zipped back up to get the boot sequence to start again, which was successful. Not easy at highway speeds, but possible.

    The battery in the airbag holds a charge very well - I commute 2-3 hours per day, 5 days a week and only charge the jacket on the weekends, usually letting it charge overnight. yes - it's another thing to charge, but I just plug the jacket in next to my Sena 20S on a dual port USB plug, and charge them both at the same time.

    I've also had the unfortunate experience of actually experiencing a crash while the system is on. I was hit from the left side, high siding the bike, crashing and sliding. The airbag deployed as soon as it happened, and I was completely protected. Once I stood up (again - full gear, nothing serious other than a bruised knee) I felt the pressure on my chest from the airbag having been deployed (My jacket had turned into one of those puffy down winter coats in size), but deflated automatically as soon as I unzipped. The paramedics and cops were surprised by how not-hurt i was, and were more interested in how the airbag worked than anything else.

    Once I got home, and dealt with insurance, I sent the airbag system back to Alpinestars to have them reset it. $300 for the reset, and I was back in business once the insurance company replaced the jacket (which had significant abrasion damage), and both arrived within a few days of each other - taking about the same amount of time to order a new jacket as it did to get the Tech-Air Airbag reset.


    Overall, I'm happy with the system. I commute daily in the SF Bay area no-holds-barred commuter traffic death-match, and knowing that I have the best protection i can get helps. Any crash you can walk away from is more time on the clock, and I'll wear the best protection i can to make sure that when (not if, i'm realistic) the next crash happens, I walk away from that too. There's too many people on their phones while driving these days who don't look when changing lanes ... I know that I risk my life in some small way every day.


    On the flip side - would you go out and buy a car these days and tell them you don't want the airbag because you don't want to pay the extra $1k? not likely. My gear (and now airbag), my caution, and my attitude are my only protection against the crazy cagers.
    #6
  7. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    Moto, what would you recommend to supplement the Wing airbag? Must be COOL! This Helite kills me in the summer. Is the Helite summer vest cool? I do have another bike I will be riding too.
    #7
  8. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    Jspringator,

    I think COOL and airbag cancel each other out. Realistically, the airbag blocks most of the airflow going to your body, so you either sweat and stay protected or be nice and cool but risk more serious injury or worse. Both Tech-Air and D-Air use actual airbag material in their construction and it's not great when it comes to venting.

    With external airbags like Helite you get slightly improved airflow because of how they are constructed (the actual part that inflates is more similar to baloon for the lack of better term) so it stores more compact), but they have other critical issues such as poor deployment in a lot of scenarios.

    There is one airbag on the market that I'm looking forward to seeing here in USA. It's made by two European companies, Ixon and InMotion. Our of every airbag that I ever tried on this was by far the lightest and it's still fully electronic. Because the actual tubes that blow up are no more than an inch thick when rested, I think it will vent the best. I inquired about it but it's not importable to USA yet.
    #8
  9. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    I may suffer through my Helite until it becomes available.

    Thank you.
    #9
  10. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    Thanks for taking time to review your experience Kaia. I'm glad I persuaded you to get one because you never know how you'd fare in your accident without one. With kids and families waiting for us at home it's better to be safe than sorry.
    #10
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  11. appliance57

    appliance57 Long timer Supporter

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    The hit air vest has great airflow and if it is deployed I can just pack, re-arm - and continue riding (hopefully), just out $25.00 for a new Co2 cartridge. Pros and cons, but I'm a happy camper.
    #11
  12. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    Be careful with the re-arm without an inspection from a qualified person. I had a deployment with a Hit Air. Sent it into Crash Bounce (the seller) for an inspection. I rearmeed it, and had a parking lot fall later. The device went off, but the bladder had ruptured from the previous deployment. They didn't do a thorough inspection.
    #12
  13. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    Alpinestars allowed us to discount Tech Air Street until May 31st. For a limited time it sells for $999. If you are on the fence pull the trigger now and never look back.
    retail_techair_banner_600x600_web.jpg
    #13
  14. Peanut_Buttery

    Peanut_Buttery Been here awhile

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    I had a tether-based airbag jacket when I was involved in a crash. Unfortunately the ripcord system didn’t work when I needed it and the airbag failed to inflate. Consequently, I decided to invest in a better airbag system and bought a Tech-Air Street. I’m really impressed with the Tech-Air.

    One thing I would say is that it’s worth taking your time to get exactly the right size and fit. I tried two airbag sizes and several Tech-Air compatible jackets. This was definitely a good idea, because a good fitting jacket will distribute the weight so you don’t notice the airbag. I agree with Kaia that you only notice the weight when putting on the jacket. One it’s on, clever weight distribution means the weight disappears.

    #14
  15. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    Which tether activated airbag failed to inflate?
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  16. Peanut_Buttery

    Peanut_Buttery Been here awhile

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    It was a Spidi DPS. I know there’s been plenty of stories of tether airbags working for other people, but my crash convinced me to invest in a better airbag.

    Both the Tech-Air and D-Air systems seem far more sophisticated than the tether systems. Given the price difference, they should be! Also, Germany’s ADAC has tested several different airbags and the electronic systems’ faster deployment seems to make them a lot safer than the tether systems.
    #16
  17. appliance57

    appliance57 Long timer Supporter

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    hit air - doesn't really impede airflow.
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  18. Valentino

    Valentino Been here awhile

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    I recommend checking out the Alpinestars Tailwind jacket, which is compatible with the Tech-Air and has huge front and rear mesh ventilation.

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    You guys may have heard about new Tech Air 5 airbag vest that just came out. We are really excited about it.

    It's groundbreaking on many levels. First of all, it feels much thinner and lighter than anything else we have tried, including Dainese Smart vest. And of course now it comes in at much more competitive price point and you do not have to buy Alpinestrars specific jacket. It pretty much obliterates competition, as simple as that.

    We shot this video yesterday to help with some commonly asked questions.
    #19
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  20. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    I preordered in February. Hope to get it this month.
    #20