Reviewing The Dainese Racing 3 D-air Leather Jacket

Race-developed airbag protection and tech on the road.

Dainese’s Racing 3 D-air Leather jacket is equipped with an airbag for protection above that of a conventional leather street jacket and is available in men’s and women’s sizing.
Dainese’s Racing 3 D-air Leather jacket is equipped with an airbag for protection above that of a conventional leather street jacket and is available in men’s and women’s sizing.Dainese

How about a motorcycle jacket that not only looks smart, but literally is smart? The Dainese Racing 3 D-air Leather jacket goes beyond merely providing material protection for riders, it provides proactive protection that is continuously improved by Dainese with software updates for its airbag system. The jacket gets smarter while you own it. It's easy to appreciate a jacket that's spunky, modern, fun to live with, and internet savvy. And it only needs a recharge after a couple of long days of hard riding, which is accomplished with a USB cable wherever you charge your smartphone.

It looks like your basic high-quality, armored, leather motorcycle on the outside, but on the inside the Dainese Racing 3 D-air Leather jacket has an inflatable third-generation D-air Road airbag, cartridges for crazy fast inflation, and a computer that rivals your smartphone. In earlier reviews we've mentioned how Dainese protective gear are articles of engineering for their fit, finish, comfort, and features, but the D-air Street Smart jacket takes engineering to a whole new level. The computer, the heart of the Dainese Racing 3 D-air jacket, is housed in the lower portion of the—somewhat conventional—back protector of hard armor and padding, together with the inflation cartridges. The hardware within the computer includes a gyroscope, GPS, and accelerometers, each supplying data that is processed at 1,000 times per second, activating the airbag when the program parameters are exceeded.

Based on the Racing 3 jacket, the Dainese Racing 3 D-air jacket has the same fit but is equipped with the airbag system.
Based on the Racing 3 jacket, the Dainese Racing 3 D-air jacket has the same fit but is equipped with the airbag system.Dainese

Addressing the conventional parts, the Dainese Racing 3 D-air Leather jacket is based on the Racing 3 jacket, featuring replaceable exterior aluminum shoulder armor, and certified composite interior protectors at the shoulders, elbows, and forearms. The body of the jacket is "Tutu" cowhide leather with breathable, elasticized textile inserts, a leather collar, and waist adjustments at the bottom of each side. Other features include two vertically zippered hand pockets and a zipper for fastening pants. The front zipper is, of course, reverse (European) style.

Now the fun stuff. The charging connection for the Dainese Racing 3 D-air Street Smart jacket is located in the lower right backside of the back protector, accessible through an opening in the lining. A USB cord is provided, as well as a 120-volt outlet adaptor for when updates via your computer is unnecessary. After the jacket is fully charged for the first time, which is indicated by the light on the jacket’s left forearm, it needs to be registered online and any available updates need to be downloaded into the jacket’s computer. Please note, it’s possible that the Dainese website updating page is not compatible with the 13-inch MacBook Air (that can always change). This issue is apparent if the lower portion of the website pop-up cannot be scrolled down to, not allowing acceptance of the registration or updating. The quick solution to this is to connect the MacBook Air to a TV monitor with an HDMI cable. That procedure was without issue.

The brain of the Dainese Racing 3 D-air jacket is housed in the back protector.
The brain of the Dainese Racing 3 D-air jacket is housed in the back protector.Dainese

How Does The Dainese Racing 3 D-air Leather Jacket Work?

The jacket is fully charged in less than four hours, with the light flashing red during charging and flashing green when fully charged. The system is armed when the magnetic fastener between each side of the chest airbags is attached. Each time that the jacket is armed the light flashes in a sequence of red, green, blue, yellow, followed by five flashes of either green, yellow, or red, indicating the status of the battery respectively as: over 70 percent, between 70–20 percent, less than 20 percent. The light then stays on as steady blue to indicate that the system is armed but not activated. This armed hold-status is so that if you fall down the stairs while showing off at your bestie’s house, you don’t deploy the airbag. The system is set into the activated mode by the integrated vibration sensor or by the GPS; when it senses you are sitting on a running motorcycle or that you are traveling at more than 10 km/h (6 mph), the blue light turns green and you are good to go. The vibration sensor ensures that the system remains activated at traffic lights and such stops. When the magnetic fastener is disconnected the light will quickly flash red five times then shut off. If you deploy your airbag, you need to return it to Dainese.

The system is triggered when the preset thresholds are exceeded, such as impacting something, being tossed in a highside, or falling on the lowside with or without tumbling. As mentioned, the Dainese Racing 3 D-air Street Smart jacket is brilliant, but it is not omniscient. An advantage that automotive airbags have is that cars crash before the passengers do, so the airbags are deployed prior to your actually being involved in the accident. The programing and associated updates from Dainese try to close down on that advantage as much as possible, so always immediately update when notified. After registration, you are alerted by periodic email notifications when your jacket has updates available. To save battery life, be sure to undo the magnetic connector whenever you are off of your motorcycle.

For fans of all-the-gear-all-the time (ATGATT), the Dainese Racing 3 D-air Street Smart jacket is a must-have. The only noticed downside is that with the airbags insulating the chest and the jacket’s black leather with limited breathing areas, it is rather warm on hot days. But how can any jacket with only purely mechanical protectors compare? Considering that the D-air system is within what is one of the best engineered jackets for overall practical protection, comfort, and flexibility, the D-air provides a giant improvement on that already highly regarded jacket.

Dainese Racing 3 D-air Leather Jacket Sizing

Sizing has shown to be identical with the standard Racing 3 jackets, making ordering predictable, but now that Dainese has eight stores nationwide, first trying one on in person is possible for those lucky enough to live near one. An added plus is that it's an engaging weirdness to wear a jacket in which curiosity makes you almost look forward to crashing. Almost. On the other hand, one can be tempted to want to save the jacket for that one possibly serious crash, which is a silly impossibility. Either way, for any type of street riding, it's hard not to always reach for this jacket. Make it so, Mr. Data.

Dainese Racing 3 D-air Leather Jacket Price

The Dainese Racing 3 D-air Street Smart jacket has an MSRP of $1,299.95 and is available in three color combinations: Matt Black/Matt Black/White; Black/White/Lava Red; Matt Black/Charcoal Gray/Fluo Yellow (Chartreuse).