These airbag vests are autonomous and can be worn under any riding jacket you own and love

Back in 2018, the MotoGP organizers Dorna and the FIM made a new call to make it compulsory for riders to wear a suit under the riding jacket that would expand with air upon impact. Just like the airbags in your car.

Much before that, the top tier safety gear manufacturers, Alpinestar and Dainese have been at it to develop safety equipment for riders across the world, including such airbag systems. For 2020, Alpinestar has released its brand new "Tech-Air 5", which is a “slim, self-contained wearable airbag vest” that can be worn under just about any riding jacket. Dainese, however, debuted its “Dainese Smart Jacket” system in 2019 itself.

Dainese Smart Jacket

Alpinestars and Dainese taking motorcycle-jacket airbag systems to a new level: "Tech-Air 5" and "Smart Jacket"
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Dainese, the premium motorcycle gear manufacturer and sponsoring many riders and teams on the MotoGP track, were the first ones to pioneer the airbags into the riding suits after 16 years of R&D into this tech and filing 35 patents. The suits embed electronic devices that have unique triggering algorithms to recognize a crash situation and activates the inflating system.

It’s called the D-Air, and it comes with a control unit that monitors the sensor signals 1,000 times a second, then analyses this data and decides when to inflate the airbag. It even operates without having to connect to the motorcycle physically.

Alpinestars and Dainese taking motorcycle-jacket airbag systems to a new level: "Tech-Air 5" and "Smart Jacket"
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Alpinestars and Dainese taking motorcycle-jacket airbag systems to a new level: "Tech-Air 5" and "Smart Jacket"
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The “Dainese Smart Jacket” system is their latest tech to hit the market. Well, it is technically a vest rather than a jacket per se. Making it smart is its ability to be worn under or over your typical motorcycle jacket. This means you can continue wearing your favorite riding jacket, now with the added protection of D-Air tech to keep you safe in emergencies.

The “Dainese Smart Jacket” will come in six different sizes for both male and female riders and works for a good 26 hours of riding time. It also continues to keep you well ventilated with the unique ventilation system that has an external fabric designed over the actual airbag and is folded over itself. This gives enough leverage for the air to pass through as well as for the airbag to deploy without destroying the vest or the jacket.

Alpinestars and Dainese taking motorcycle-jacket airbag systems to a new level: "Tech-Air 5" and "Smart Jacket"
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With it being waterproof, Dainese has given riders the added advantage of wearing this vest over their jacket as well. Pricing for the Dainese Smart Jacket is set at $699

Alpinestars Tech-Air 5

Alpinestars and Dainese taking motorcycle-jacket airbag systems to a new level: "Tech-Air 5" and "Smart Jacket"
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Then came Alpinestars with their “Tech-Air” that also has the same principle of working with an Airbag Control Unit (ACU) doing all the work along with three sensors. Their latest invention is the all-new completely independent Tech-Air 5 motorcycling airbag system, which comes with six sensors instead of three.

With this, Alpinestars too has given riders the possibility of wearing their lovable jacket unlike previously where all Tech-Air jackets had to be worn with compatible Alpinestars suits and jackets only. The three gyroscopes and three accelerometers determine when the trigger needs to be pulled during a crash. In under 40 milliseconds, an argon cartridge inflates the bag with air. It protects the rider covering the rider’s shoulders, critical in motorcycling accidents, in addition to the chest, ribs, and full back.

Alpinestars and Dainese taking motorcycle-jacket airbag systems to a new level: "Tech-Air 5" and "Smart Jacket"
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Alpinestars and Dainese taking motorcycle-jacket airbag systems to a new level: "Tech-Air 5" and "Smart Jacket"
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The battery supposedly lasts for 30 hours of riding and has an LED panel to show the levels. The system is Bluetooth enabled for pairing it with a smartphone app which display the system’s operational status, battery status and provides detailed analysis of a ride, in addition to over-the-air firmware updates.

The Tech-Air 5 will be available from March 2020 for $699.95. Unlike the Dainese Smart Jacket, you cannot wear the Tech-Air 5 on the outside and is not waterproof. ( That is a bummer! )

Alpinestars and Dainese taking motorcycle-jacket airbag systems to a new level: "Tech-Air 5" and "Smart Jacket"
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With more brands entering into this segment, we will have more resources being put into improving this tech. This will eventually trickle down into affordable consumer suits in the future. Until then, ride safe. Wear protective gear always and respect other road users.

Sagar Patil
Motorcycle industry expert since 1997! - sagar@topspeed.com
Over the years, a deeper conscience of machines moving body and soul has given him a crisp grasp over the concepts of motorcycling. A sucker for details and common sense, he loves getting his hands dirty every once in a while. His love affair with motorcycles ushers in the specialist skillset making Sagar our go-to expert for everything on two-wheels.  Read More
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