Tech-Air 5 vest can be worn under any leather or textile jacket, giving airbag protection without needing bespoke airbag kit
To the CES Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (not literally, sadly), where Italian kit-capos Alpinestars have released a new airbag vest, the Tech-Air 5. The novelty here is that this protective gear is a stand-alone design, meaning it doesn’t have to be fitted to a specific jacket or suit, unlike the current range of Alpinestars airbag gear.
The Tech-Air 5 has all its electronics built into a vest, including a rechargeable battery, LED display panel, GPS, accelerometers and gyros, all of which run a cunning algorithm which works out if you’re crashing or not. The airbag itself is set off in 20-40 milliseconds, and the battery lasts for 30 hours of riding time between charges. Simply zip up the vest and fasten the magnetic flap and the system is live. There’s also a new app so you can access data and settings for the vest via your smartphone.
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The only criteria for the outer jacket is that it has a bit of space for the airbag to inflate into. Textile jackets have more give and are usually looser -fitting so will generally be fine, but leather jackets need to have 4cm of free space around the chest area, to allow the bag to inflate properly. Once the bag is inflated, Alpinestars claims it has the same impact protection as 18 (eighteen!) standard back protectors. Impressive stuff.
No word on UK price or availability as yet, but the US price is $599.99, so expect it to be the thick end of £500. More info at https://www.alpinestars.com/tech-air-5