Date reviewed: December 2021 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £449.99 | www.rst-moto.com
The RST Fusion leather jacket on review here incorporates In&Motion’s airbag technology; the same as used by Ixon, Held, Furygan, Tucano Urbano and others. It’s important to understand that the jacket requires a control unit (one is supplied) that costs an additional £120/year or £399 to buy outright. However, this electronic box can be used across a large number of compatible textiles and leathers; I pay for one subscription, swapping the controller between all my gear, be it a standalone vest, textiles or this leather jacket.
In this review we’ll look at the pros and cons of the RST Fusion, and whether it’s worth having the airbag technology…
Stretch panels give the airbag room to inflate, but also make it a comfier fit without being drafty
Needles to say, fit is extremely subjective, but I’m a slightly chubby 5’10” and find the RST Fusion fits me great.
Outside of testing, my choice of kit is a pair of riding jeans and a leather jacket; my favourite has long been the Segura Stripe – now replaced by the AAA-rated £400 Segura Funky – and the Ixon IX-U03 airbag vest, at £379.99.
This puts the price of the RST Fusion into perspective – I was wearing £779.99 of kit to get a similar level of protection as this jacket offers. However, this wasn’t ideal as the Segura wasn’t designed to accommodate an airbag, which didn’t bother me, but after deliberately firing one then trying to get the jacket on over the top, I realised just how dodgy this was. Best case I could damage the jacket as the airbag fires… worst case I could compound or even cause injury by restricting the inflation.
I’d started wearing the Segura with the Rukka Kastor 2 underneath (now replaced by the £250 Kastor 3.0) as it gave passive CE-Level 2 back and Level 1 chest protection, but the RST Fusion is designed to accommodate the airbag’s inflation thanks to stretch panels at the sides. Plus it doesn’t mean two items to put on and take off, as it’s all integrated.
Something important to note is that the In&Motion system incorporates a CE Level 1 back protector, which combined with the Level 1 elbow and shoulder armour means you have a reasonable level of passive protection already in place. Interestingly, D3O makes a Level 2 back protector for the Furygan airbag vest – it’ll be interesting to see if this is released for other brands as it’s no more bulky.
The airbag built in is the In&Motion system that covers the back, over the tops of the shoulders and down across the chest. The control box constantly monitors the ride, and in the event that it detects what it thinks is a crash, it’ll be inflated in less than 60ms.
After the most recent ‘Turini’ update, In&Motion claims a ‘detection rate of 91% on all types of falls’. Having an almost one in ten chance of the airbag not firing does make the passive back protector seem more valuable, but on the other hand, it’s likely to be the more gentle offs that might not cause deployment. In the event of a bigger crash, the much higher levels of protection that an airbag can offer could be, well, a life-saver.
The jacket is rated to EN17092 AA, which is down from the highest AAA standard. While it’s quite a soft leather, and certainly not the thickest I’ve seen on a jacket, the elasticated sides will restrict the maximum that can be achieved.
This isn’t a track garment and there’s no connecting zip as you shouldn’t join two-piece airbag kit, in order to avoid a very nasty wedgie as the jacket rises up. That could leave the back exposed to some extent, though the size of the airbag should make contact unlikely.
For a more in-depth look at the In&Motion airbag system, check out our review here.
For everything you need to know about the safety labels in your motorcycle kit, click here.
One of the unique selling points of the In&Motion system is that it’s constantly updating based on the anonymous user data of those with it – that means the algorithm should be continuously evolving.
Updates are performed over the air, and the system sorts itself out whenever you plug it in to charge.
This is my bug-bear with integrated systems like this – whereas a standalone vest has the control box on the outside, in here it’s tucked up under the lining, so you need to unzip it and pop out the unit to charge it up.
While it will go into a sleep mode when not in use, I always turn it off as any knock wakes it up. But that means delving up into the jacket and double-tapping the button.
The LEDS on the control box are hidden from sight, so there’s no quick reference of the state of charge. I’d like an audible notification if the battery’s getting low, but In&Motion’s answer is to use the app – something I can’t be bothered to do when gearing up for a ride.
Ultimately the benefits of having an airbag, combined with the comfort of this design, mean I soon accepted the quick extra step of powering it up before throwing it on.
If the In&Motion airbag did deploy, it costs £89.99 for a new inflator from RST, which can be fitted easily at home. This means no sending it off for repair, but do keep in mind that as the airbag’s built into this jacket, if the outer has been severely damaged through abrasion, you’ll be replacing the whole thing anyway. Still, the control box will almost certainly be fine.
The Fusion has two decent-sized waist pockets, and one smaller one on the right breast. Due to the airbag built in, there are no internal pockets.
The large main zip is a metal SAB brand. Your bike’s paintwork is protected by a roll of leather on either side, and there’s a flap of leather behind it, to prevent drafts.
I do find the zip fiddly to locate and join, but this could just be on my jacket, and it hasn’t stopped me liking it.
I’ve had no need to adjust the fit, but you can tighten the bottom of the RST Fusion with a four-hole belt on either side. To be honest, this seems more decorative than anything else as the outer hole is longer than the stretch of the leather, and the two tighter holes cause the bottom to ruck up. I don’t think many users will bother changing it.
There’s no venting built into the RST Fusion leather jacket, and with an airbag underneath that’s not really a surprise. This will of course be a warmer jacket than some others, but even in the peak of UK heat I’ve worn an un-vented leather jacket with an airbag vest, so this is slightly cooler thanks to fewer layers.
The 3D mesh built into the airbag section does help air move around, so I’m more than happy to ride in this even when we have a truly great British summer.
There’s no thermal liner supplied, but I found there was room to get a slim down jacket underneath, then was totally comfortable on an 8°C ride. This isn’t winter kit, but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at just how good it’s been even on some of the nicer December days.
Airbag kit has become fairly mainstream now, so there are a few options. However, it is important that you wear something that can accommodate the inflation of the airbag…
These are just some of many alternatives – you can find all the leather jackets we’ve tested here and be sure to regularly check for the discounts available through BikeSocial membership.
Looking inside, the triple stitching is apparent. It’d be good to see this as a AAA-rated garment, but as a street jacket, and with the inclusion of the airbag, it’s a good value option
Building the airbag into the jacket has many benefits, not least the safety of it being designed to accommodate that expansion. However, some manufacturers are starting to introduce kit that will work safely with an airbag, and you should consider the fact that, if you were in a crash with kit that has an integrated airbag, if the outer were damaged you’ve basically lost the lot.
Still, RST’s pricing is incredibly competitive, so to get a complete airbag jacket for only a little more than one without – and hence a lot less than buying a separate vest along with it – is very tempting. The control unit is completely transferable, so you could have RST textiles, a leather jacket and one-piece leathers all with the one box. Or indeed any Furygan, Held, Ixon and more kit – there’s a lot of flexibility.
I do have to say that I think the subscription price is a little too high. Granted, In&Motion is constantly updating the algorithm that controls the airbag, but £120/year, plus another £25 if you want the track option, and another £25 for the adventure programming is a bit steep for me. I do hope that, with so many brands now using this tech, we’ll start to see a reduction in price. Having said that, with the Dainese and Alpinestars options currently costing significantly more than the In&Motion system, and not being repairable by the end user, this is still the better-value way to get an electronic airbag.
Ultimately, it probably says a lot that I’m paying for my subscription, and am continuing to use the same box across any of the compatible kit I have. And with the RST Fusion’s comfort, it’s now my favourite leather jacket.
Do you have one of these jackets? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell everyone what you think of them…