Tech-Air® 3 vs Tech-Air® 5: Which is Right for Me?


In the world of motorcycle riding, safety is paramount. With advancements in technology, riders have more options than ever to protect themselves on the road. Alpinestars, a leader in motorcycle safety gear, offers two cutting-edge airbag systems: the AlpinestarsTech-Air 3 Vest and the Tech-Air 5 Jacket. At Sprocketz, Richmond VA's premier motorcycle gear and accessories shop, we're committed to helping you navigate these options to find the best fit for your riding style and safety needs.

Understanding Airbag Technology

Airbag technology in motorcycle gear represents a significant leap forward in rider safety. Both the Tech-Air® 3 and Tech-Air® 5 systems utilize sophisticated sensors and algorithms to detect a crash in milliseconds, deploying the airbag to provide critical impact protection to the rider's chest, back, and shoulders. The integration of connectivity features, such as Bluetooth connectivity with a smartphone app, allows riders to monitor system status, and battery life, and even track rides.

Tech-Air® 3 Overview


The Alpinestars Tech-Air® 3 Lightweight Airbag Vest system represents Alpinestars' commitment to rider safety, tailored specifically for the urban environment and casual riding scenarios. This airbag system is a testament to the fusion of advanced safety technology and practical application, designed to offer riders a blend of comfort, convenience, and protection. Unlike bulkier, more intrusive safety gear, the Tech-Air® 3 is engineered for seamless integration with a variety of compatible jackets, making it an ideal choice for riders who prioritize flexibility and ease of use without compromising on safety.

At the heart of the Tech-Air® 3 is a sophisticated array of sensors and algorithms that monitor the rider's movements and the bike's dynamics hundreds of times per second. This continuous monitoring allows the system to detect the imminent threat of an accident with remarkable precision, deploying the airbag in milliseconds to provide critical protection to the chest, back, and shoulders—the areas most vulnerable during a fall or collision. The deployment mechanism is designed to cushion the rider, absorbing and distributing impact forces away from the body, thereby reducing the risk of serious injuries.

One of the standout features of the Tech-Air® 3 is its adaptability. Recognizing the diverse needs and preferences of urban riders, Alpinestars has designed this system to be lightweight and unobtrusive, ensuring that it enhances safety without detracting from the riding experience. Whether commuting to work, navigating city streets, or enjoying a leisurely ride on the weekend, the Tech-Air® 3 offers reliable protection that adapts to the rider's lifestyle.

A key feature of the Tech-Air® 3 is its compatibility with the Tech-Air app, which provides users with detailed information on system status, battery life, and operational history, enhancing the user experience through connectivity.

Powered by a robust lithium-ion battery, the Tech-Air® 3 boasts an impressive battery life of up to 40 hours, ensuring riders are protected on even the longest rides without the need for frequent recharging. The system's operational status is easily monitored through an intuitive LED display, which alerts the rider to the airbag's readiness and any maintenance requirements, ensuring optimal functionality at all times.

In summary, the Tech-Air® 3 airbag system is a pioneering safety solution for the urban rider. It combines Alpinestars' advanced protective technology with practical design considerations, offering a safety gear option that is both effective and suited to the everyday needs of modern motorcyclists. For riders seeking a balance between safety, comfort, and convenience, the Tech-Air® 3 emerges as an exemplary choice, setting a new standard in motorcycle safety gear.

First off, the Tech-Air® 3 FINALLY comes fitted for women! Instead of a single line of sizes like the Tech-Air® 5, Alpinestars is offering a Stella-version of the 3. Rather than converting the men’s measurements to find your fit, you can order an airbag vest specifically designed for you.

Tech-Air® 5 Overview


The Alpinestars Tech-Air® 5 Air Bag System stands at the forefront of Alpinestars' innovation in motorcycle safety, embodying the pinnacle of airbag technology designed for riders who refuse to compromise on their protection. This state-of-the-art airbag system is a marvel of engineering, offering comprehensive coverage that extends beyond traditional protection zones to include the shoulders, chest, back, and even the hips. What sets the Tech-Air® 5 apart is its versatility; it is a standalone system that can be worn under any motorcycle jacket, providing riders with unparalleled freedom to choose their gear without sacrificing safety.

Central to the Tech-Air® 5's effectiveness is its cutting-edge sensor fusion technology, which integrates GPS, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and a sophisticated algorithm to monitor the rider's dynamics continuously. This system analyzes data at an extraordinary rate, ensuring precise and timely airbag deployment in the event of a crash. The deployment is not only rapid but also tailored to offer maximum protection by inflating in a way that cushions the rider's body, significantly mitigating the risk of injury from impacts and abrasions.

In addition to its protective capabilities, the Tech-Air® 5 is distinguished by its user-centric design. Recognizing the importance of connectivity in today's digital age, Alpinestars has equipped the Tech-Air® 5 with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing riders to pair the system with their Tech-Air app. This app provides real-time monitoring of the system's status, battery levels, and system diagnostics, ensuring that riders are always informed and prepared. Furthermore, the app allows for the review of ride data, adding an analytical dimension to the riding experience.

The Tech-Air® 5 also addresses the practical aspects of daily use with its ergonomic design that ensures comfort over long distances and diverse riding conditions. Despite its comprehensive coverage, the system is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, allowing for a full range of motion and breathability. This attention to rider comfort underscores Alpinestars' holistic approach to safety, which encompasses not only the physical protection of the rider but also the overall riding experience.

Maintenance of the Tech-Air® 5 is streamlined and efficient, with easy-to-follow procedures for charging and system updates, ensuring the airbag system remains at peak performance. Alpinestars' commitment to safety extends to providing regular firmware updates, enhancing the system's functionality, and keeping it at the cutting edge of safety technology.

In essence, the Tech-Air® 5 is more than just an airbag system; it is a comprehensive safety solution that integrates advanced technology, user-friendly features, and ergonomic design to protect riders like never before. For those who demand the highest standards of safety, whether navigating urban landscapes or exploring open roads, the Tech-Air® 5 offers the ultimate protection, comfort, and peace of mind.

Comparative Analysis

When deciding between the Tech-Air® 3 and Tech-Air® 5, riders should consider their typical riding environment, the level of protection desired, and compatibility with existing gear. The Tech-Air® 3 shines in urban settings where maneuverability and comfort are key, while the Tech-Air® 5 is the go-to choice for riders who demand the highest level of protection across diverse riding scenarios.


Tech-Air® 3

Tech-Air® 5

Safety Features

Chest, back, shoulder protection

Full upper body protection including hips


Compatible with specific jackets

Can be worn under any motorcycle jacket

Ease of Use

Simple activation and maintenance

Advanced connectivity features for monitoring


More affordable, entry-level option

Higher investment for premium protection

Unique Attributes

Lightweight, ideal for urban use

Comprehensive protection, suitable for all riding styles



Pros and Cons: Our Take

While both are fairly breathable, the Tech-Air® 3 is made with a bit thicker textile material than the Tech-Air® 5. This made it feel warmer when we first tried it on, though it does have air channels through the back, so on the road, we have better ventilation. It also comes with some water resistance on the body. The electronics are fully waterproof so it won’t damage anything going through a downpour but it also isn’t going to keep you completely dry the same way a Gore-Tex jacket would. Because the Tech-Air® 3 can be worn as a top layer as well, it may allow you to dress somewhat lighter than the Tech-Air® 5.

On the other hand, the Tech-Air® 5 feels thinner and cooler. It's as light as a tee shirt with a back pad. Keep in mind though, it’s made for one purpose: to keep you protected from impacts. Instead of a warmer, water-resistant material for comfort, its sleeves offer greater shoulder protection and the incorporated CE-Level 1 back-protector gives added impact protection. The Tech-Air® 3 does not come with a back protector but does have a pocket to insert one. Most CE-Level 1 back-protectors that would fit start at $59.95, you could also upgrade to a CE-Level 2 back protector for around $69.95. However, both systems offer full back coverage with the airbag itself, so the traditional back protection is more of a backup anyway.

An advantage of the Tech-Air® 3 is it can be worn over or under your current jacket, while the Tech-Air® 5 is meant to fit underneath a well-fitting jacket. This makes the new Tech-Air® 3 more versatile. Loose-fitting jacket? Easily wear the vest underneath it for comfortable protection. Have a tighter fit already? The vest will work just as well on the outside.

In contrast, the Tech-Air® 5 is made to fit underneath your motorcycle jacket. This can make the fit a bit trickier. Alpinestars recommends having 4cm of extra room in the chest of your jacket to accommodate the vest when activated. While they do make jackets already fitted with extra room for the vest, any jacket with enough room will work. If you already have a tight-fitting jacket, you should consider that extra cost and whether or not you’re ready to replace your current jacket.

Tech-Air® 3 Pros:

  • Lightweight and versatile
  • More affordable
  • Ideal for urban riders
  • Women's sizes are offered with Stella line


  • Limited to chest, back, and shoulder protection
  • Requires compatible jackets

Tech-Air® 5 Pros:

  • Comprehensive upper body protection
  • The standalone system fits under any jacket
  • Advanced monitoring features


  • Higher price point
  • May be considered bulky by some riders

User Scenarios

Tech-Air® 3

The Tech-Air® 3 system is ideally suited for the urban rider, someone who navigates the bustling city streets daily. Picture the commuter who rides to work every morning, weaving through traffic and tight spaces, for whom agility and comfort are as crucial as safety. This rider values the Tech-Air® 3 for its lightweight design and seamless integration with compatible jackets, allowing for a protective yet unobtrusive addition to their daily gear. The system's ease of use and maintenance make it a practical choice for those who ride in urban environments, where the risk of low-speed impacts and encounters with stationary objects is higher. The Tech-Air® 3 offers peace of mind, knowing that critical areas like the chest, back, and shoulders are protected, without compromising on the freedom of movement or the convenience of an easy-to-wear system.

Additionally, consider the weekend warrior, the rider who enjoys casual outings on two wheels, exploring cityscapes, or venturing into suburban areas. This rider appreciates the Tech-Air® 3's adaptability, capable of fitting with various jackets to suit different styles and riding conditions. Whether it's a leisurely ride to a favorite café or a spirited journey through urban corridors, the Tech-Air® 3 stands as a guardian, ready to deploy its protective embrace at the first sign of trouble, all while maintaining the rider's desired aesthetic and comfort.

Tech-Air® 5

The Tech-Air® 5, with its comprehensive protection and standalone versatility, is the choice for the rider who demands the highest level of safety, regardless of their environment. Imagine the touring enthusiast, embarking on long-distance adventures where conditions can vary from highways to winding mountain roads. This rider faces a myriad of risks, from high-speed impacts to varied terrain challenges. The Tech-Air® 5's extensive coverage, including the shoulders, chest, back, and hips, ensures that they are safeguarded against a wide range of potential injuries. The system's compatibility with any motorcycle jacket allows this rider to choose gear that suits the climate and riding conditions, without compromising on safety.

Then there's the sport rider, who thrives on the adrenaline of the track or the thrill of carving corners on challenging roads. This individual pushes the limits of both machine and skill, where the risk of high-speed falls and impacts is ever-present. The Tech-Air® 5's advanced sensor technology and rapid deployment system provide a critical safety net, offering protection that's designed to activate precisely when needed most. The connectivity features, allowing for ride data analysis and system diagnostics, appeal to the tech-savvy rider who values insights into their riding performance and the status of their safety gear.

In both scenarios, the Tech-Air® 5 emerges as a beacon of safety technology, offering riders across the spectrum—from the long-haul adventurer to the speed-focused sport rider—a level of protection that's unparalleled in the motorcycle gear market. Its blend of advanced safety features, ergonomic design, and the freedom to pair with any outer jacket makes it a universal solution for riders seeking the ultimate in safety and flexibility.

Making the Right Choice for You

Choosing the right airbag system comes down to understanding your riding habits and safety priorities. At Sprocketz, we're here to help you make that choice. Visit us in-store in Richmond, VA, for personalized fitting and expert advice, or explore our selection online to learn more about the Tech-Air® 3 and Tech-Air® 5 systems.


The right airbag system can significantly enhance your riding safety and confidence. Whether you lean towards the versatile Tech-Air® 3 or the comprehensive Tech-Air® 5, both systems represent Alpinestars' commitment to rider safety. Drop by Sprocketz to see these innovative airbag systems in action and find the perfect fit for your riding needs.

FAQ Section for Tech-Air® 3 and Tech-Air® 5

Q: Can the Tech-Air® 5 be used with any motorcycle jacket?

  • A: Yes, the Tech-Air® 5 is a standalone airbag system designed to be worn under any motorcycle jacket. Its versatility ensures that riders do not have to compromise on their personal style or the specific features of their existing gear.

Q: How do I maintain my Tech-Air® system?

  • A: Maintaining your Tech-Air® system involves regular charging to ensure it's always ready for use, storing it in a dry and cool place, and keeping the system clean according to the instructions provided by Alpinestars. Additionally, firmware updates via the dedicated smartphone app for the Tech-Air® 5, or through Alpinestars' website for the Tech-Air® 3, ensure your system is operating with the latest technology.

Q: Are the Tech-Air® 3 and Tech-Air® 5 waterproof?

  • A: Both systems are designed to be water-resistant, offering protection against light rain and moisture. However, they are not fully waterproof and should not be submerged in water. It's recommended to use a waterproof outer jacket in heavy rain conditions to protect both the rider and the airbag system.

Q: How long does the battery last on a full charge?

  • A: The Tech-Air® 5 offers up to 30 hours of use on a full charge, while the Tech-Air® 3 provides up to 20 hours. Battery life can vary based on usage and conditions, and it's recommended to check the battery status regularly through the system's indicators or the Tech-Air® 5's smartphone app.

Q: What happens if the airbag deploys? Do I need to buy a new one?

  • A: If the airbag deploys, the system needs to be inspected and reset by an authorized Alpinestars service center. In some cases, components may need to be replaced. The system itself does not need to be entirely replaced after deployment, making it a long-term investment in your riding safety.

Q: Can I travel on an airplane with my Tech-Air® system?

  • A: Yes, you can travel with your Tech-Air® system. However, it's recommended to check with the airline beforehand as policies can vary. The system should be fully deactivated and, if possible, carried as carry-on luggage to avoid damage.

Q: Is there a weight or height limit for users of the Tech-Air® systems?

  • A: The Tech-Air® systems are designed to fit a wide range of body types and sizes. Alpinestars provides a comprehensive sizing chart to help riders find the perfect fit. There are no specific weight or height limits, but proper fitment is crucial for optimal protection.

Q: How does the Tech-Air® system know when to deploy?

  • A: Both the Tech-Air® 3 and Tech-Air® 5 use advanced sensors and algorithms to monitor the rider's motion and the bike's dynamics continuously. The system is designed to detect a crash scenario within milliseconds and deploy the airbag before the rider impacts the ground or an object, providing critical protection during an accident.

Ready to ride safe?

Ready to elevate your ride with Alpinestars' leading airbag technology? Visit Sprocketz in Richmond, VA, to explore the Tech-Air® 3 and Tech-Air® 5 systems. Our experts are on hand to help you find the perfect fit for your riding style. Shop online or stop by today!