Dainese Europa Jacket

Put on your lab coat and pocket protectors folks, because Dainese's new Europa jacket has enough high-tech features to make a Pentium look primitive.

Dainese has shown that technology can do more for a motorcyclist than make their bike (or computer) faster -- it can keep you warm and dry too.

Waterproof, armored, comfortable, warm, full of pockets and possessing looks that kill, the Europa is a total package that combines function with style. Starting at the shoulders, ribbed padding promotes a Bladerunner look while contrasting Dainese logos on the body add an angular touch to the styling. Top things off with a waist belt for a hint of dual-sport ancestry and you have a sharp-looking jacket.

A Gore-Tex® liner keeps rain out but still allows perspiration to escape, while Cordura® is used on the outside for strength and durability. However, Dainese knew that because the jacket's rain-proofing comes from the Gore-Tex liner and not the shell, water would collect between the two layers. What's the solution? Simple, they sewed mesh drains into the jacket's bottom edge. Although water drains on a jacket might sound more like a marketing gimmick than a useful design feature, we actually observed water flowing from the drains during a wet-weather ride. In addition, waterproof nylon is used to line the zipper and storm flaps to do battle with a frontal assault. Further contributing to comfort are waterproof cuffs that prevent rain from wicking up the sleeve, and a corduroy-lined collar topped with a strip of soft leather.

Another piece of high-tech wizardry (and just plain good design), can be found in the full-length zip-out liner. A thin sheet of aluminum film blocks the wind while a generous layer of insulation keeps you warm. Even without the liner, the Europa jacket is comfortable for temperatures down to the fifties. Zip in the liner, and even 40-degree air won't penetrate, nor will it drift up your spine, thanks to an elastic hem that snugs the Europa around your tush. The Dainese system works -- we wore it through cold, wet conditions and stayed warm and dry.

Another piece of high-tech wizardry (and just plain good design), can be found in the full-length zip-out liner.

Unfortunately the penalty for such excellent cold-weather performance is discomfort on hot days. Opening the cuffs and neck provides some extra airflow, but then the storm flap begins, well, flapping. Warm weather is not this jacket's forte. The Europa was built to handle the nastier end of the climate spectrum, and it does that as well or better than any we've worn.

Dainese's jacket is an overachiever in the pocket department too. Four cargo-style pockets that close with snaps adorn the front. Behind the glasses pocket is a zippered slash pocket that makes a good wallet hideout. A second, smaller slash pocket lives between the main zipper and storm flap and is perfect for smaller items such as earplugs. Finally, a wide zippered pocket below the waist turns the back of the coat into a fanny pack large enough to hold the liner. And when you zip in the liner, you get another vest-type pocket. Dainese doesn't make tankbags, they just make jackets that carry as much.

Dainese's jacket is an overachiever in the pocket department too.

In addition to its capacious carrying capacity and wet weather performance, the Europa also offers a fair amount of crash protection. Hard plastic armor backed by softer foam runs over the shoulder and covers the elbow down to the forearm. What's missing is a back pad, but jackets we've worn that have them don't share the comfort of the Europa. If you really want some spinal protection, Dainese offers several belt-style protectors that you can wear under any jacket.

The Dainese Europa jacket is a premium product and commands a price commensurate with its quality and abilities. We give it four stars, although the suggested retail price of $595.00 may be too much for some riders. If you don't care for the orange and black color scheme pictured here, it also comes in more subtle blue/black and gray/black color combos.

Motorcycle Online Rating: ****

Dainese products are distributed in the U.S. by:
PO Box 861
Wilbraham, Massachusetts, 01095-0861.
E-mail address is [email protected]
Call them toll free at (800) 628-4040 to find a Dainese dealer near you.

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