As motorcycling enthusiasts, we’re always seeking the perfect balance between the exhilaration of the open road and the imperative of personal safety. In the quest for enhanced protection, one innovation has been garnering significant attention lately – motorcycle airbags.

Understanding Motorcycle Airbags

Motorcycle airbags, unlike their car counterparts, are typically housed in the rider’s gear, rather than the bike itself. These intelligent systems are designed to inflate upon sensing a sudden deceleration, collision, or ejection from the motorcycle, providing a protective cushion around the rider’s vital regions, like the chest, back, and neck.

Types of Motorcycle Airbags

Motorcycle airbags mainly fall into two categories:

  1. Wearable Airbags: These are integrated into specially designed jackets or vests. They can be further divided into mechanically activated and electronically activated systems. Mechanically activated airbags use a tether connected to the motorcycle to trigger the airbag. In contrast, electronically activated systems use sophisticated sensors to detect a crash and inflate the airbag.
  2. On-board Airbags: Few motorcycle manufacturers have experimented with on-board airbags. Honda’s Gold Wing was the first production motorcycle with this feature. The airbag is housed in the front of the bike and is designed to protect the rider in frontal collisions.

Benefits of Motorcycle Airbags

  1. Enhanced Safety: Motorcycle airbags offer superior protection compared to traditional motorcycle gear. They can significantly reduce the risk of severe injuries in accidents, especially to the chest and spinal areas.
  2. Automatic Activation: The majority of modern motorcycle airbags offer automatic activation, leaving no room for human error during a crash.
  3. Reusable: Most airbag systems are reusable. After a deployment, you can replace the CO2 cartridge and reset the system, ready for future use.

Considerations When Buying Motorcycle Airbags

When shopping for an airbag system, consider its activation mechanism, coverage area, and whether it’s standalone or needs to be worn with a compatible jacket. Look for systems that offer comprehensive protection, including the back, chest, neck, and even the hips and shoulders.

While price can be a determining factor, remember that safety should never be compromised. More expensive models generally offer more comprehensive protection and sophisticated features.

Lastly, consider the comfort and fit. An ill-fitting airbag system could hamper your riding experience.

There’s no denying that the advent of motorcycle airbags has revolutionized rider safety. They provide an extra layer of protection, potentially making the difference between a close call and a trip to the hospital. As the technology continues to evolve, it’s likely we’ll see even more sophisticated systems on the market. As always, remember that while technology can aid safety, nothing replaces responsible riding. Stay safe and enjoy the ride!

Recommended Motorcycle Airbags

Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 Motorcycle Airbag System -£416

  • Versatile – fits under or over any outfit
  • High level safety
  • Unlimited road use
  • Practical storage solution – foldable
  • Ventilated and Water resistant
  • Long lasting 26h battery life
  • Internal shield replacement at any authorised dealer
  • D-Air technology used by Moto GP Champions
  • CE certified Shield protection with Airbag
  • Intelligent safety with independent sensors
  • Data gathered from all Jackets

The Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 Motorcycle Airbag System is a versatile airbag system designed with a focus on commuters and younger riders, offering robust upper body protection. The system can be worn both under or over a motorcycle jacket, and it has been constructed with a water-resistant treatment for effective all-weather performance.

One of the key features of the Tech-Air 3 system is that it does not require any external connections or sensors on the motorcycle. It functions as a fully autonomous active airbag system. Its functionality is supported by six integrated sensors – three accelerometers, three gyroscopes, or one triaxial gyroscope and one triaxial accelerometer.

The Tech-Air 3 system has a lightweight, packable design that is easy to store. It also features a diagonal zipper across the chest for full coverage and an LED display to indicate the operational status of the airbag. Strategically positioned stretch panels on the sides of the abdomen facilitate the expansion of the airbag during a crash, and an integrated back protector pocket provides additional passive back protection.

The system includes Alpinestars Pro 2nd Generation compact Electronic Control Unit, housed in the upper back of the vest. The Tech-Air 3 uses the same street algorithm as the Tech-Air 5, ensuring active protection across various street riding scenarios. The firmware can be updated via the Tech-Air App, which can also display system and battery status, and riding data.

The system has an integrated lithium-ion battery with a life of 40 hours and a recharge time of 4 hours. The argon gas canister that inflates the airbag is housed in an ergonomic case on the lower back, and it, along with the electronic wiring and the airbag itself, is easily removable.

This system is CE certified and meets the European Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulation standards. The vest is washable and features a low battery haptic alert to notify the rider when the battery is running low.


Dainese Smart Jacket V1 -£416


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  • Versatile – fits under or over any outfit
  • High level safety
  • Unlimited road use
  • Practical storage solution – foldable
  • Ventilated and Water resistant
  • Long lasting 26h battery life
  • Internal shield replacement at any authorised dealer
  • D-Air technology used by Moto GP Champions
  • CE certified Shield protection with Airbag
  • Intelligent safety with independent sensors
  • Data gathered from all Jackets

The Dainese Smart Jacket is a versatile piece of protective gear that offers advanced D-Air technology, which is used by MotoGP champions. This jacket can be worn under or over any outfit, offering flexibility to suit all riders. It does not require any connection to the motorcycle and is foldable, making it a practical storage solution.

The Dainese Smart Jacket is designed for optimal rider comfort, featuring high ventilation for cooling airflow. It is built to withstand various weather conditions, including heavy downpours, making it a water-resistant solution. The jacket can easily be stored in a bag, top box, or backpack, thanks to its foldable design.

Safety is a prime concern in the design of the Smart Jacket. The D-Air technology offers high-level protection, safeguarding the rider’s back and vital parts through an internal shield. This patented airbag system from Dainese features a special structure and microfilaments that ensure controlled inflation, providing an optimal level of protection across the airbag. The jacket is abrasion-resistant and provides the equivalent protection of seven back protectors.

The Dainese Smart Jacket incorporates intelligent safety features. The control unit, referred to as the “brain”, works independently without any cables or connections to the motorcycle. It uses seven sensors to monitor and process data a thousand times per second, activating the airbag only when necessary. This technology can sense dangerous situations like lowsiders, highsiders, and collisions with objects or other vehicles, including stationary ones.

The jacket boasts a long-lasting battery life of 26 hours on a single charge. If the airbag is deployed, the internal shield can be replaced at any authorized dealer, reducing downtime. The jacket features a multi-LED display on the chest, which is easily visible from the mirrors.

The Dainese Smart Jacket is easy to use. On receiving the jacket, the user needs to register it online, charge it to 100%, and it’s ready to use. The jacket can be adjusted using internal Velcro straps for the best fit.


Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 Motorcycle Airbag System – £670


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  • Universal, fully self-contained standalone system – no sensors required on the bike
  • Can be worn under any abrasion resistant motorcycle riding jacket*
  • Proven to be twice as protective as passive impact protectors
  • Increased airbag coverage on the full back, shoulders, chest and ribs
  • Lightweight and breathable mesh fabric main chassis construction
  • Comprehensive perforated zone on the back for enhanced airflow
  • Specially developed channels on interior of the vest’s back for additional airflow
  • Magnetic zip closure for ease of use and security
  • LED display on front hem indicates operational status
  • Robust internal housing – located in the built-in CE-certified Bionic Back protector – accommodates the ECU and gas canisters
  • Back protector features and ergonomic plate construction for strength
  • Bluetooth connectivity to use in conjunction with Tech-Air app
  • Tech-Air ACU is seal-protected to ensure all-weather performance
  • Integrated Lithium ion battery which gives approximately 30 hours of use with a recharge time of approximately 5 hours
  • Argon inflated cartridges are CE certified to ISO 14451 standard
  • Impact protection from within 25 milliseconds to 5 seconds of full pressure inflation
  • Easily swap between race and street modes using the Alpinestars app.

The Alpinestars Tech Air 5 is the latest addition to the Tech Air family of wearable motorcycle airbag technology. This advanced, self-contained system requires no bike sensors and can be worn under any abrasion-resistant motorcycle riding jacket.

The Tech Air 5 provides twice the protection of passive impact protectors, covering not only the full back but also shoulders, chest, and ribs. It’s crafted from lightweight and breathable mesh fabric with a perforated zone and specially developed channels on the interior for enhanced airflow.

User-friendliness is a key feature, with a magnetic zip closure for easy use and a LED display indicating operational status. The robust internal housing accommodates the ECU and gas canisters. A built-in CE-certified Bionic Back protector houses the ECU and gas canisters, while an ergonomic plate construction ensures strength.

The system can be connected via Bluetooth to the Tech-Air app and is seal-protected to ensure all-weather performance. Its integrated lithium-ion battery gives approximately 30 hours of use with a recharge time of around 5 hours. The Argon inflated cartridges are CE certified to ISO 14451 standard.

When a crash is detected, the system can provide impact protection within 25 milliseconds to 5 seconds of full pressure inflation. It can easily switch between race and street modes using the Alpinestars app. The system comes equipped with a magnetic micro USB charger for quick and convenient recharging.

The Tech-Air 5 system offers high-quality upper body protection by covering the rider’s shoulders, chest, ribs, and full back. An active electronic system featuring six integrated sensors and a crash algorithm leverages AI to accurately detect and respond to a crash. It is capable of reducing the impact force by up to 95% compared to a passive protector, offering the same protection as 18 CE Level 1 back protectors.

The system offers Bluetooth connectivity and can be managed through the Tech-Air app, which can also be used to update the system’s firmware when improved crash-detection algorithms are released. The latest software release from Alpinestars now offers a new Race Riding mode, which allows riders to switch between STREET and RACE Riding Modes depending on their specific needs.

However, the Tech-Air 5 is not a substitute for other protective motorcycling gear and must be worn in conjunction with a full range of suitable motorcycling apparel. There are also several important health and usage considerations listed by Alpinestars, including contraindications for those with heart problems, back or neck issues, body piercings in the airbag coverage area, and certain types of implants. Alpinestars also recommends routine servicing of the system at least every 2 years or after 500 hours of operation.


Alpinestars Tech-Air 10 Motorcycle Airbag System – £1000


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  • A remote wireless LED display indicates the airbag’s operational status
  • The integrated, certified lithium-ion battery has a battery life of 24 hours of riding time
  • Developed from years of research with the world’s top MotoGP riders
  • Extremely easy to use; just zip up the front and close the belt to activate the Airbag System
  • In Race Mode, the Tech-Air® 10 System is active only while riding above approximately 60km/h (37mph) for at least 10 seconds
  • The remote wireless LED display can be moved onto the rider’s arm to easily check the System’s status
  • The LED display can also be attached to the bike, depending on the rider’s preference
  • The Tech-Air® 10 System, requires approximately 4 hours to recharge a discharged battery with the supplied USB Charger
  • A fully charged battery will provide approximately 24 hours of use
  • The airbag itself is breathable, designed with air channels and a perforated back zone that provide airflow to improve rider comfort
  • The Tech-Air® 10 System may be quickly attached to the Alpinestars’ Tech-Air® 10 System Base Layer via easy-to-use lateral zips
  • The Tech-Air® 10 System Base Layer is hand washable
  • The total weight of the Tech-Air® 10 (System and base layer) is 2.390 g for a size medium
  • Tech-Air® 10 is designed for track and road use and can be used with both the RACE and the STREET Riding Modes
  • The RACE Riding mode must only be used for riding on closed racetracks
  • Bluetooth connectivity to a Tech-Air® App provides riders with the Airbag System’s operational status, battery status and MyRide trip information
  • Via the Tech-Air® App, riders can also update the System’s firmware when new crash-detection algorithms are released

The Alpinestars Tech-Air 10 Motorcycle Airbag System is a highly advanced, developed from MotoGP research, which can be used on both the road and the track. It incorporates 12 sensors (3 triaxial accelerometers and 1 triaxial gyroscope) and an AI crash detection algorithm to provide exceptional safety, reducing impact force by up to 95% compared to a passive protector.

The system features two riding modes: RACE and STREET, which each use tailored crash detection algorithms. RACE mode, only suitable for closed racetracks, is activated when riding above 37mph for at least 10 seconds. The system comes with a remote wireless LED display which can be mounted on the arm or bike to show the operational status of the airbag.

Its integrated lithium-ion battery offers 24 hours of use from a 4-hour charge. The airbag is breathable and attaches easily to the Tech-Air 10 System Base Layer using lateral zips. The system and base layer combined weigh approximately 2.39kg for a size medium.

The system connects to the Tech-Air app via Bluetooth, where riders can check operational and battery statuses, record their rides, and update firmware for improved crash detection. Despite its advanced safety features, it is designed to be simple to use, with activation achieved by zipping up the front and securing the belt.

Please note, this system is not a replacement for traditional protective gear and should be used in conjunction with such. Certain medical conditions and physical attributes may limit or prevent use of the system.


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