The author wears the Tech-Air 3 outside the jacket.

Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 is the newest addition to the Alpinestars model range of airbag systems. The vest is designed for urban commuters and touring riders.

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Unlike the Tech-Air 5, the Tech-Air 3 was designed to be worn outside or inside a motorcycle jacket. Compared to the $749.95 price of the Tech-Air 5, the Tech-Air 3 retails for $599.95, making it Alpinestars’ most affordable stand-alone airbag system to date.


Like its more expensive counterpart, the Tech-Air 3 includes three gyroscopes and three accelerometers for crash detection. The sensors communicate with the vest’s ECU every millisecond. That’s 1,000 calculations every second and 3.6 million calculations within one hour of driving. According to Alpinestars, when a crash is detected, the vest inflates in 50 milliseconds, or 1/20 of a second. Only the street-level Tech-Air 3 algorithm was formulated to even detect an accident while stopped, such as a rear-end collision at a traffic light.

Alpinestars Tech-Air 3

The Tech-Air 3 canister requires replacement after each deployment, while the air chamber can be reused up to three times. A canister replacement costs $99 at Alpinestars dealers, while a canister and air bladder replacement costs $199. The same replacement costs for the Tech-Air 5 are $179 and $299, respectively. Some of the extra cost on the 5 can be attributed to its extra degree of protection. While both the 3 and 5 cover the rider’s back, chest, and collarbones, the 5 also protects the rider’s ribs, shoulders, and arms.

Alpinestars Tech-Air 3
The image shows the Tech-Air 3 bladder.

Both the 3 and 5 are compatible with the Alpinestars Tech-Air app, which allows you to quickly check battery life, among other features. As such, the 3 boasts 40 hours of battery life, compared to the 5’s 30. Charging the 3 is simple by plugging the USB-C cable into an easily accessible port on the vest’s left chest. In terms of added safety, the 5 comes with a CE level 1 back protector, while the 3 only provides a pocket for one.

Alpinestars Tech-Air 3: Outside vs. Inside

A key feature of the Tech-Air 3 is the versatility of wearing the vest on the outside of a riding jacket as well as inside. The outer shell of the vest is waterproof and the ECU and electronics are housed in a waterproof pocket. All functional elements of the vest are removable, so the vest can be washed. Alpinestars recommends leaving 1.6 inches of space around the rider’s torso on the inside of the riding jacket to allow air bubbles to inflate properly.

Alpinestars Tech-Air 3
The author is wearing the Tech-Air 3 under his jacket.

For the guys, the Tech-Air 3 comes in black and yellow colorways, while the women’s Stella model is only available in black for now. All vests have a reflective stripe over the shoulder, but the high-vis yellow is the obvious choice for visibility. The vest has no internal pockets, but there is an external zipped pocket on the lower right.

Tech-Air 3 gives the rider the benefits of airbag protection without the added expense of replacing a tight jacket that doesn’t provide the required amount of interior space. However, external use has some disadvantages. On the one hand, this is an aesthetic eyesore. Plus, a vest covers all those fancy pockets you have in your riding jacket. More importantly, in the event of a crash, your riding jacket is more likely to protect your vest from road rash damage if worn underneath, while outside wear will damage both the jacket and the vest.

Alpinestars Tech-Air 3
Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 in Black
Alpinestars Tech-Air 3
Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 in Black (Rear View)

Also, you should expect to get warm in the Tech-Air 3. Even with a vest worn under a full mesh jacket in the mid-70s, there was a noticeable increase in temperature. There’s always a trade-off when it comes to safety versus comfort, and the Tech-Air 3’s waterproof construction means less airflow.

Apart from its insulating shortcomings, the Tech-Air 3 vest is comfortable to wear outside or inside a riding jacket. The canister is ergonomically designed to conform to the contours of the rider’s body, but as it is the heaviest element of the vest, it will not go unnoticed, positioned on the back of the rider’s left rear thigh.

The highly comfortable vest is automatically activated via magnetic zippers and then tactfully notifies the wearer when the system is ready. Disabling the system is almost as important as turning it on, because the wrong series of moves or even a friendly pat on the back while dismounting the bike can cause the ECU to interpret the event as a crash and activate the system. So it’s highly recommended that you unbuckle the vest whenever you’re not riding to avoid false deployment and save yourself a $99 accident.

Alpinestars Tech-Air 3
Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 in Black/Yellow Fluo
Alpinestars Tech-Air 3
Alpinestars Tech-Air 3 in Black/Yellow Fluo (Rear View)

Is the Tech-Air 3 worth the price? According to Alpinestars, the system reduces the impact force on the rider’s body by up to 95%. When it’s important to wear a vest outside of your casual riding jacket, this is the only game in town from Alpinestars. If an external option is unnecessary, for just $150 the Tech-Air 5 provides additional protection to the rider’s ribs, shoulders and arms with an airbag and comes with traditional back protection. Algorithm 5 can also switch between street and racetrack. However, as mentioned, the Tech-Air 5 costs twice as much to maintain, making the Tech-Air 3 a much more affordable alternative.