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ADV NewsAlpinestars Announces New ‘Off-Road’ Airbag System

Alpinestars Announces New ‘Off-Road’ Airbag System

New airbag system has been developed to improve protection for rally racers.

Published on 10.29.2020

For many years now motorcycle airbag systems have been improving the safety and confidence of road racers and street riders alike. That same level of protection hasn’t been available in a practical application for off-road riders though. Challenges to developing an off-road-focused system include the dynamic range of movements that occur while riding on dirt, the frequency of off-road get-offs, and the range of intensity of falls. 

All that may be changing though with the release of Alpinestars’ new Tech-Air OFF-ROAD Airbag system to professional rally racers. The new system is the latest addition to the Italian gear maker’s Tech-Air family of vest-style airbag products which include Tech-Air Race, Tech-Air Street, Tech-Air 5 and now the Tech-Air OFF-ROAD. The new Tech-Air OFF-ROAD has been designed specifically for Rally Racing competition, offering high levels of upper body protection for the range of accidents these athletes may encounter during a race. 

The basis for the innovative Tech-Air airbag technology has been around for years now. The original street-based Tech-Air system began development in 2001, which eventually led to its use in MotoGP in 2011. And as far back as 2016, Alpinestars has been datalogging crashes from motocross racers in an effort to develop a fool-proof crash detection algorithm that can differentiate serious off-road accidents from typical light tip overs and scuff-ups.


Alpinestars-supported rally racers have been testing the Tech-Air OFF-ROAD Airbag technology since 2018. Prototype systems were also used successfully during the grueling conditions of the 2019 and 2020 Dakar. The final development version of the Tech-Air OFF-ROAD Airbag System just made its debut at the Andalucia Rally in Spain earlier this month, and was worn by Factory KTM, Husqvarna, Honda, and Yamaha Dakar riders — including Ricky Brabec and Toby Price, to name a few.

Once the system is triggered by a fall, the Tech-Air OFF-ROAD airbags deliver protection to the back, chest, shoulders and collarbones with a burst of air that fills up the jacket in milliseconds. The system is integrated into the Alpinestars Bionic Pro v2 armored jacket, which provides additional front padding on the arms and chest for enhanced roost protection, even when the airbags are not inflated.  

Alpinestars is not the only one getting in on the game though. Now that racing organization A.S.O. has made Airbag systems mandatory for both motorcycle and quad competitors at Dakar 2021, similar off-road airbag systems are being developed and tested by other gear manufacturers like Klim and Helite. The new regulation is just one of many new safety measures enacted in an effort to reduce the number of accidents at the race. The call for a change was raised after a high number of serious crashes in the 2020 Dakar Rally, two of which resulted in the tragic deaths of riders Paulo Goncalves and Edwin Straver.

At this time, few details have been announced on the features and specs of any of these systems. Currently, the Tech-Air OFF-ROAD Airbag System is only available for professional riders competing in Rally Racing. No consumer product is available at this time but we expect Alpinestars will be bringing a mass-produced system to market in the next few years.

The question remains though, how easy will the Tech-Air OFF-ROAD technology be to reset after it’s been discharged. To make this a practical product for off-road riders, it will need to be quick, easy and cheap to reset. An Alpinestars video describing the development of their off-road airbag program offers some hope. The technician talks about being able to “fire an airbag again” after a crash, which implies the system is potentially reusable multiple times in a day, without the need to send it into a service center.

Alpinestars Tech Air off-road airbag system
Photo: @rally_zone

Rally Racer Lyndon Poskitt has also talked about his experiences testing several different off-road airbag systems on his Facebook Page, including the new Alpinestars Tech-Air OFF-ROAD. He mentions that many of these new systems he has tried can be easily reset multiple times, which would make them much more useful as a practical safety device.

Another question that remains to be answered is how will it affect airflow to the rider on hot days. From the looks of it, the mesh material and the bulk of the Tech-Air Off-Road doesn’t appear much different than the standard Bionic Pro V2 Armored Jacket, which bodes well for good ventilation. The riders in next year’s Dakar will surely put it to the test racing in the hot sands of Saudi Arabia.

Alpinestars Tech Air off-road airbag system
Photo: @rally_zone

Probably the biggest question though is how much it will cost. Current Tech-Air systems for road use range between $700 and $1,200. Hopefully, the final consumer product comes in at the lower end of that spectrum. Either way, the potential for improved safety might make it money well spent for Motocross, Adventure, Off-Road, and Dual Sport riders alike — once a consumer-facing version is finally released. 

We look forward to receiving more information about this developing technology from Alpinestars and we’ll keep you posted with updates as more details are revealed.

Author: ADV Pulse Staff

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Alpinestars Announces New ‘Off-Road’ Airbag System – ADV Pulse – – Airbag Latest News
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