The event at the D-Store Orange County has become an annual one for Dainese, which was founded in Italy by Lino Dainese in 1972.
In 2007 Dainese acquired helmet maker AGV – which itself was founded in 1947. From their inception, the two now-united concerns have equipped some of the greatest riders of all time.
“Racing is in our DNA,” said a Dainese/AGV representative to a crowd of journalists in the closed-door meeting. “Racing is for us the only field where we can test at the maximum level and stress at the maximum level and be ready for the consumer in the mass market.”
It’s a time honored process: In the course of using supplied safety gear, racers lend back some of their own star factor thereby anointing the products with their prestige. At a more basic but equally important level, top-tier racers actively participate in ongoing research and development for new designs and technologies.
Earlier racing greats who lent their talents to Dainese or AGV or both include Barry Sheene, Kevin Schwantz, Eddie Lawson, and Giacomo Agostini - who was the first to represent both. These and other now legendary riders enabled Dainese and AGV to carve out a legitimate place today as a premier gear and helmet maker.
Dainese says as far back as the early 1980s, it was the first to put now commonplace innovations into production, including integral knee sliders and back protectors. More recently, it has also pioneered carbon fiber protective pieces and many other exotic materials for both its off-the-rack and custom leathers.
No word was given from the stage regarding the D-Air suit, but that 10-plus year project is still progressing. Dainese says the wireless air-collar-equipped leathers have since gone on sale to amateur and pro racers in Europe as a prelude to their U.S availability – first to racers, with a street version to follow.
At this stage, European track riders who crash are asked to return their custom-fitted D-Air suits to Dainese for data collection (and presumably re-packaging of the airbag and repairs) as it continues its R&D process right up to the end user.
The company now also makes gear for bicycling, skiing, and other extreme sports, but to drive home the motorcycling theme for this day, a cross sampling of great American riders stood up to endorse the quality of Dainese and AGV.
“I know Dainese has a long history, you know a couple fast guys have worn Dainese in their life,” said MotoGP star Nicky Hayden with a chuckle at his understated remark, “I’ve tried the leathers, I’ve been there [to the factory], seen all the technology before I made the decision to go that way. I’ve seen the products, seen the science that goes into it, and I’m on board.”
Dainese and AGV have too many products for street, dirt, touring and casual uses to be comprehensively covered, but the styles featured drove home the point that they are pushing the frontier in all arenas.
Laguna Seca Pro suit
The Laguna Seca Pro suit is race-worthy – and essentially the same as a 2010 version I have worn since last summer. It is well designed and constructed. Supple D-Skin leather is used in conjunction with co-injected shoulders with aluminum inserts and composite protectors on the elbows, shins and knees.
The suit features Dainese’s localized perforation, in which individual leather panels are perforated only where needed, but not where they will be sewn through because needle holes plus perforated holes could compromise the garment’s tear-resistance.
The speed hump has an air inlet, and the localized perforation works with a NanoFeel liner to facilitate airflow.
Bi-axial elasticized inserts assist with fit and freedom of movement. The legs feature two zippers each to facilitate either outside-the-leather “Out” boots or inside-the-leather-style “In” boots (as shown).
Ladies’ Tattoo suit
The full product description for the ladies’ Tattoo suit includes the Italian word “Estiva,” meaning “for summer.”
It is pro-quality and features many innovations Dainese employs in several of its technical racing leathers. And, as proven in the photo, it is styled to flatter the female form.
Included features are homologated shoulder, elbow, knee and side protectors. Localized perforation on the cowhide combines with bi-axial elastic S1 fabric for stretch and freedom of movement. Dainese’s signature double zippers are on the legs to allow for In or Out boots.
D-System D-Dry jacket and pants
As is the case for many Dainese garments, these water-resistant pieces zip together to form a single ensemble.
The Cordura fabric jacket and Mugello fabric pants feature removable armor, removable D-Dry water-resistant liners, air vents, adjustability at neck, waist, wrist, and lots of pockets. The jacket has two waterproof pockets.
Visoke D-WP boots ($359) also shown are sort of a hybrid using offroad-inspired boot technology along with Dainese’s water-resistant liner material.
Adina Gore-Tex Lady jacket and pants
For those women intending to ride in cooler temperatures, or just wanting to stay dry in the rain, Dainese has begun using genuine Gore-Tex in select pieces.
The armored Adina jacket and pants zip together, and meet EN Standard 1621.1/97 for safety.
The flared-cut styling is intended to be flattering, while functional, with adjustability at the neck, waist, and wrist. The jacket has a pocket to accommodate a BackSpace G. back protector. Reflective inserts are added for safety, and plenty of pockets make for practicality.
Avro Professional suit
Dainese says the Avro Professional suit features elevated safety along with excellent ergonomics thanks to its exclusive “Second Skin construction,” which Dainese says “combines the bi-axial elastic properties of S1 fabric with the resistance of the leather to which it is laminated in the points that required greatest protection.”
The suit also features localized perforation, armor throughout, dual zip legs for In or Out boots, and the usual great attention to detail for which Dainese is known.
Staying cool on casual rides in the heat of summer is quite possible with breathable, lightweight outfits like these men’s and women’s versions.
Removable armor in the jacket and pants provides impact protection to the EN 1621.1/97 Standard. Mesh inserts in the jacket and vents in the pants provide airflow. A wind-blocking removable jacket insert stops the air when the weather is cooler. The jacket will accommodate a G-type back protector.
AGV AX-8 helmet
This new carbon fiber helmet was developed with feedback from Travis Pastrana and Davi Millsaps.
Shown is the Valentino Rossi replica. (Although Rossi is a road racer, Dainese says their people liked the graphics so much they made it anyway. The number 46 has been removed from the design.). The photo of Pastrana shows his TP199 Signature edition of the AX-8.
Other color schemes are White, Gloss Black, Spyder White/Black, Spyder Black/White, Kaleidoscope and Beat Red, Beat Blue and Beat Black. It meets DOT and ECE specifications.
One model down from top of the range, the DOT and ECE-certified T-2 helmet is a track-worthy lid that uses the same tear-off-compatible shield as AGV’s GP-Tech helmets, along with most of its technical design features.
The shield utilizes AGV’s easy on-off XQRS (Extra Quick Release System) for tool-free removal and replacement.
I have personally tested this helmet, and find it to be comfortable, very high quality, reasonably quiet, with good through-flow ventilation that can be opened or closed easily.
The screen itself is optically correct, and includes an anti-fog treatment. Inside the helmet is a washable and removable Cool Max comfort liner.
More than a dozen color schemes range from solid white to racer replica versions such as the Giacomo Agostini version shown. New graphics this year are Warrior (black and white), and Sergeant (white and black).
On the world scale, Dainese and AGV equip talented racers from 125cc to MotoGP, including its most renowned star, Valentino Rossi, and World Superbike champ, Max Biaggi.
The company’s gear has always been characterized by a European stylistic flair, and a push toward more and more technology to assist in the ultimate goal of light weight, proper fit, and safety.
Our experience with Dainese has always been a good one. While there are other gear makers also offering high-quality products, one thing we’ve noted is Dainese is pushing to expand its U.S. acceptance and market share as a purveyor of high-end products.
As such, its customer service and the collective attitude of its people have been very professional, knowledgeable and helpful in all the times we’ve dealt with them.