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Discussion Starter #1
As I mentioned in the other thread, I bought the alpinestars tech-air race vest. It will get here next week, and if anyone is interested I can do a review of it then. But in the mean time, I got access to the manual. I think this might help someone so I'm posting it here. It certainly would have helped me understand and make a more informed decision.
http://docdro.id/Lgh59n3
 

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Looking forward to your review

Hi there, thanks for the link to the Tech-Air Vest doco. Speaking on behalf of the silent forum users, please post a review of the Alpinestars Tech-Air Vest. There are probably 10 silent forum readers interested in any topic for every vocal participant!

Cheers!
 

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Is it true the tech air vest only works with Alpi* suits/jackets and cannot be used with other brands?

A review with leathers used especially on the track would be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi there, thanks for the link to the Tech-Air Vest doco. Speaking on behalf of the silent forum users, please post a review of the Alpinestars Tech-Air Vest. There are probably 10 silent forum readers interested in any topic for every vocal participant!

Cheers!
Ok!! Working on it now :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Links to where it was purchased would help. :smile2:
I bought it from Motostorm! https://www.motostorm.it/en/search.html?q=tech+air

Motostorm is the only site that ships the tech-air vest, this info was shared by @NOLA in the other thread.

The one piece is more expensive (~1500 vs ~1350) than other sites like fcmoto, so there is no reason to get the one piece from them. (All sites ship the tech-air suits and jackets.)

As you know I didn't get the one piece but instead I got the jacket only. For that, motostorm is the cheapest I've found, so I just got it from them too.

More info to come in the review :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Is it true the tech air vest only works with Alpi* suits/jackets and cannot be used with other brands?

A review with leathers used especially on the track would be helpful.
It will only "work" with tech-air compatible suits/jackets. In particular, it will not work with all alpinestar suits/jackets.

When searching I've found that BMW has a version too, called the street air, that alpinestars makes for them. Der StreetAir Anzug von BMW Motorrad. Mehr Schutz in Millisekunden.

So it's less about the marketing brand, but whether the suit/jacket is compatible.

And, being a newbie, I've never been to the track yet so I can't say how well it will work there. I do intend to go to the track some time later though.

More info to come in the review! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Review of Alpinestars tech-air vest and jacket

[What]
Tech-air is alpinestars' airbag system that does not require tethers or gps signal. It's a self contained ECU + sensors in the vest + 2 canisters that will deploy to fill the air bag. The ECU and canisters are housed in a CE level 2 back protector. You will need the vest, plus a compatible jacket/suit. More info here: Tech-Air? Street Airbag System | Alpinestars I've also uploaded the manual here.

[Where to get them]
For vest, Motostorm is the only site that ships the tech-air vest, this info was shared by @NOLA in the other thread.

https://www.motostorm.it/en/search.html?q=tech-air&marca=ALPINESTARS

The jacket and suit can be obtained from your favorite site. From what I've found, motostorm is the cheapest for the jacket (v2), and fcmoto/bikerland.de for the one piece suit (v2). Prices change often so keep checking.

[Options]
The v2 jacket and v2 one piece looks the same, but the jacket is m00 whereas the one piece is r00.

I don't see any point in getting the textile jackets for tech-air, so no comments there :)

For the vest, there are two versions, the race and the street version. It seems better to get the race and not the street version because only the race firmware can be flashed to run either the race algorithm or the street algorithm.

In race mode, the race vest deploys one canister at once and is slower - but the rider can jump back on and still be protected by the second canister. In street mode the race vest deploys both canisters at once and is faster, deployment detection is also different (e.g. getting hit from behind while waiting at the light - this will never happen on the track). One site I found says that the street vest is a bit more protective and covers more of the upper body, but I have not been able to find the exact difference in coverage. The pdf manual that I posted doesn't describe this either.

[Misc questions]
Do I really need a compatible jacket/suit? Short answer, yes. Long answer, not really, but it makes no sense to use other jackets/suits (see below).

Technically, the connection of the vest to the jacket is all physical (5 velcros, 2 zippers) except the led status indicator on the left forearm. That's easy to rig up so that's not a problem. The real problem is that normal jackets/suits will not have the expansion panels at the right places for the air bag to deploy properly/safely. Check out the youtube videos showing the deployments, notice that the suits are a tight fit, but then the air bag deploys properly due to the stretch panels. Eg

So, if you can get custom made jackets/suits that have the proper expansion panels, there is no reason why you can't use those instead. But, I think it would make no sense cost and hassle-wise to go that route. And how would you know that the expansion panels are proper? Alpinestars have tested theirs (extensively, I suppose). How are you going to test yours :)

Are there other jacket/brand choices for the vest? Short answer, no. Long answer:

When searching I've found that BMW has a version too, called the street air, that alpinestars makes for them. Der StreetAir Anzug von BMW Motorrad. Mehr Schutz in Millisekunden. So it's less about the marketing brand, but whether the suit/jacket is compatible.

Size? I usually wear a 38. When I got the 38 jacket I tried it on without the vest, and it was tight already. Then I added the vest, and it was even tighter, but not to the point of being uncomfy. On the bike, I feel much better, so I think the jacket is just a more aggressive/race-fit than the other jackets I have. So, I'd agree with @NOLA that you should pick the same size as before. But if you want a more relaxed fit, maybe go up a size.
 

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Hi thanks for the write-up. How's the system keeping up on a daily basis? Do you get the 25h of riding time? Any issues with fitting or when riding?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi thanks for the write-up. How's the system keeping up on a daily basis? Do you get the 25h of riding time? Any issues with fitting or when riding?
I've only ridden about 8 hours max in one go, the battery level is still green (green - yellow - red), so I'd say it's pretty good. Also recharges very quickly.

Recently there seems to be a problem with one of the sensors, so I sent it back for service, about 144 hours used so far.

No issues with fitting.
 

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I laughed when you said getting hit from behind will never happen at the track. Just check youtube, lots of videos. One word of caution, a friend with the Alpinestars air vest and one piece suit had a pretty bad highside a few weeks ago, the vest did not deploy. He's taken it in to the dealer to find out what happened. Meanwhile, another friend with a Hit-Air vest was hit from behind at about a 70 mph differential, and he is certain that the Hit Air vest saved him from a lot of injury. In fact, the vest is damaged beyond repair but his leathers and helmet are fine. These are both track incidents, not street.
Whatever you choose make sure it works, there's a cartridge in there and it's armed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I laughed when you said getting hit from behind will never happen at the track. Just check youtube, lots of videos. One word of caution, a friend with the Alpinestars air vest and one piece suit had a pretty bad highside a few weeks ago, the vest did not deploy. He's taken it in to the dealer to find out what happened. Meanwhile, another friend with a Hit-Air vest was hit from behind at about a 70 mph differential, and he is certain that the Hit Air vest saved him from a lot of injury. In fact, the vest is damaged beyond repair but his leathers and helmet are fine. These are both track incidents, not street.
Whatever you choose make sure it works, there's a cartridge in there and it's armed.
Haha! I guess I was trying to say that sitting there stationary (waiting at the red light), and then getting hit from behind, is not likely to happen on the track. Getting hit from behind (while riding) is of course still possible. At that time that was my understanding of one of the main differences between street and race.

Sorry to hear about your friend's accident, hope he's fine. The first thing he should have done was to connect it to the tech air app himself from time to time. The sensors might have thrown some error codes like mine did, and thus the vest did not deploy. The manual I posted has the exact algorithm of when it should deploy.

For instance:
"WARNING! If the rider chooses to ride a slow sighting (or celebratory) lap
then the system may not be armed. This can be verified by checking for the
steady Orange (11b) indication on the LED Display.
WARNING! The Tech-Air™ Race airbag system will not provide protection if
the rider is stopped.
WARNING! ALWAYS Ensure that you have the Orange (11b) and Green
(11a) indication on the LED Display (11) before starting to ride. It is also
recommended to check the display status occasionally during riding to
confirm that the system is live (Steady Green indication- 11a) and that there
are no errors (Red indication – 11c)"

Please let us know what the dealer finds!
 

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I will ask him if he used the app and what he saw, definitely he is not impressed with the situation, a LOT of money for no performance, and from what he said initially, all was good - green light?. He was NOT on a "parade lap", the engine grenaded and he highsided with the oil on his rear tire.

Speed differential is a big issue on the track, especially in the intermediate group. Not-so-skilled riders love to blast the straights on their liter bikes, and get surprised when they close very fast on some innocent soul on an SV650. Add that to a general lack of understanding of the "race line" in that group, and you have the potential for collisions. People are so anxious to get out of the novice group, they really should get some skills first, to protect themselves and their fellow riders. Someone compared the intermediate group to Thunderdome, that's about right. Even at the STT functions with all the control riders stuff happens.
 

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Haha! I guess I was trying to say that sitting there stationary (waiting at the red light)!
I would highly recommend you pay more attention while sitting at red lights. I've had to run at least 2 to avoid being rear ended on the street. If I had more riding experience at 15 when I just had a learner's permit, I could have avoided being rear ended waiting to make a left turn by aborting the turn and accelerating to get the f out of the way. Never let your guard down or assume you are safe because the cagers see you. They don't! :wink2:
 

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Interesting stuff. This really points out some of the tradeoffs of this technology vs. tethered airbag vests. I have the Helite GP Air vest, which for those not familiar is their high-end race vest. Leather exterior, armor panels below the skin but outside of the airbag, designed for use with a race hump.

I love the idea of "intelligent" protection built into the suit, but on balance it looks like there are real compromises necessary to achieve that. Whether they're worth it is really a matter of preference.

IMHO, the pros are in function and integration. Most of the cons are practical matters, but there's one key item related to safety.

Pros of the Tech-Air:
- No tether - no chance of forgetting to clip in (this is a big plus)
- Sleek... fully integrated with the suit. No chance of forgetting to put the vest on (it happens)
- Second deployment charge built-in (could be important for racers, for track day riders not so much)
- "Intelligent" deployment (when it works.... see below)

Cons of the Tech-Air:
- May not always deploy, as noted in this thread. You're at the mercy of the sensor algorithm
- No neck protection
- Very high cost vs. alternatives. My Helite is the most expensive airbag vest there is, but still hundreds less than the Tech Air. There's also no mandatory maintenance cost aside from new cartridges if it deploys. Probably a good idea to return it for inspection after multiple deployments, however.
- Must use a proprietary suit.
- Must return for service ($$) which takes three weeks according to what I read.
- Complexity - If something isn't there, it can't break. Technology always seems to fail when you need it most. You've got sensors that can fail and throw error codes.
- Need to charge batteries.

Pros of airbag vests (reference is my vest, YMMV depending on what you buy). :
- Robust neck protection. I got a live demo at the IMS in NY and it's like a cervical collar.
- Mechanically simple and well-proven deployment mechanism. It's basically the same as an airline life vest. Been around for decades.
- Relatively affordable. My vest will set you back nearly 900 bucks, but that's a lot less than either of the integrated systems available and also less than the cost of an injury.
- Repacks itself (my vest... YMMV with other vests)
- No need to return for service if it hasn't been damaged... insert a new cartridge, reinstall the lanyard and you're good to go.
- Use with any suit or jacket (can use it on the street too)
- Protects your suit (the torso, anyway) and depending on the crash, your helmet too. When deployed, the vest is much larger than the deployed A* system. Do a video search and you'll see a GP Air deploying after a highside in a race. The rider bounces off the ground and the helmet never touches pavement.

Cons of airbag vests:
- Have to remember to put it on and clip in (easy to forget this; I've done it)
- May not deploy in a mild lowside that doesn't separate you from the bike. Never heard of this happening, but I suppose it's possible. I'd argue that if the crash is that gentle, you don't really need an airbag in the first place.
- Once it deploys, you're heading back to the pits. If you're a racer, your race is over.
- Exposure to damage in a slide. My vest has a leather skin so this is less likely than with the Hit-Air, but still possible. I expect that it will hold up as well as my suit would.
- Bulkier than an integrated system. Matter of preference... but I will say that I don't find that it impedes me at all. No noticeable impact on riding the bike. I don't know I'm wearing it.
- Depending on the specific vest, the CO2 canister can get in the way when in a full tuck. Helite did a good job of burying it on my vest... the Hit-Air race vest solves this by putting the canister on the back of the vest. I know people who have worn the street version of the Helite and not liked it for this reason.
 

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Great topic.

I recently bought a A* Missile with the thought of adding the Air-Tech system, subsequently I returned the A* due to fitment.

Anyways I will be attending the AIMExpo as I am sure there will be some safety airbags there to examine.
 

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I’ll be picking up a Helite GP Air through Hustle Hard before my next race most likely. As it is Sport Protection gear meant to prevent a health disability I believe it is eligible to be using funds from HSA.
 

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I love the idea of "intelligent" protection built into the suit, but on balance it looks like there are real compromises necessary to achieve that. Whether they're worth it is really a matter of preference.

IMHO, the pros are in function and integration. Most of the cons are practical matters, but there's one key item related to safety.

Pros of the Tech-Air:
- No tether - no chance of forgetting to clip in (this is a big plus)
- Sleek... fully integrated with the suit. No chance of forgetting to put the vest on (it happens)
- Second deployment charge built-in (could be important for racers, for track day riders not so much)
- "Intelligent" deployment (when it works.... see below)

Cons of the Tech-Air:
- May not always deploy, as noted in this thread. You're at the mercy of the sensor algorithm
- No neck protection
- Very high cost vs. alternatives. My Helite is the most expensive airbag vest there is, but still hundreds less than the Tech Air. There's also no mandatory maintenance cost aside from new cartridges if it deploys. Probably a good idea to return it for inspection after multiple deployments, however.
- Must use a proprietary suit.
- Must return for service ($$) which takes three weeks according to what I read.
- Complexity - If something isn't there, it can't break. Technology always seems to fail when you need it most. You've got sensors that can fail and throw error codes.
- Need to charge batteries.

Pros of airbag vests (reference is my vest, YMMV depending on what you buy). :
- Robust neck protection. I got a live demo at the IMS in NY and it's like a cervical collar.
- Mechanically simple and well-proven deployment mechanism. It's basically the same as an airline life vest. Been around for decades.
Good considerations, however.

The main issues with the mechanical tethers are
1- deployment is slow, too slow for a collision against a vehicle. Before it deploys (in the order of 200ms) your body has already smashed some metal. The deployment time is hugely constrained by the tether stretch and mechanical components delays therefore there's no real room for improvement. Have a look at crash tests of A* and Dainese suits, they deploy around 4-5x faster and still they barely manage to inflate timely. For the track as far as I understand the tether reaction time is closer to adequate. 2- their deployment rate is unreliable, in the order of 1 in 10 times it will not deploy (maybe slightly better nowadays? Ski airbags are in the order of 1 to 5 to 1 to 10). I have no idea of the deployment stats of untethered systems.

I wouldn't even consider a tethered system for protection in traffic conditions, I don't see it as a viable technology.
 
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