It’s no secret that Italian clothing manufacturers are skilled in the art of combining form and function. The moto-inspired designers at Dainese created some of the world’s first back protectors and knee-sliders for asphalt racing and expanded their innovative craft to include snow and mountain bike gear in 1994. They also designed the first airbag for moto and ski racers, and a protective space suit that has accompanied astronauts on a number of flights.
Given the innovative history of Dainese, I was pumped when they sent this kit for review.
AWA stands for All-Weather Activity. This acronym reminds me of a good friend from the UK who likes to say “this is an outdoor sport after all, so let’s go ride,” whenever we see rain in the weekend forecast. The AWA Shorts, however, are more light-n-breezy than the “AWA” moniker would suggest. Made of 86% nylon and 14% elastane, they are a solid choice for shoulder-season or summer riding.
Waist adjustment straps are located inside the front waistband where the front snap-closure keeps them securely tight.The lower-leg hem is longer in the front than the rear, providing kneepad coverage while not bunching at the back of your knee. The waist adjustment straps are concealed inside the waistband where they stay snug and free of snags. There are zippered pockets on either leg, large enough for your whole hand, phone, or the day’s snack stash.
The AWA shorts are made with a unique weave pattern that is said to prevent snags and tears. The material has ample stretch and breathability for any long adventure under the sun.
This High Gravity Jersey is a head-turner. The unique colorway and carefully curated line-design work will make your mates ask where they can get similar gear.
The cut of this shirt is plenty wide to fit a back protector underneath and tight enough that you won’t feel like you are wearing an unfurled flag. The tail cut is plenty long, providing ample coverage for your lower back when you are in an aggressive riding position, whether the shirt is tucked in or loose. The arm seams are sewn across the inside of the elbow, rather than running the length of the sleeve, which is a noticeably comfortable detail. I typically don’t find 3/4 sleeve jerseys flattering, but the sleeves on this shirt are tight enough to look natural, and can still be rolled up.
Like the lightweight fabric of the shorts, the High Gravity Jersey use a unique weaving pattern to prevent snags. The fabric is plenty light for summer and shoulder-season rides and seems to wick sweat as well as any lightweight, 100% polyester gear.
MSRP: $89.99, available at JensonUSA
Keeping with the Dainese protection tradition, the Trailknit Pro Armour shorts offer extra padding where it counts. The removable hip pads feel similar to the padding in lighter, trail-oriented knee pads. They flex with your movements, and remain largely unnoticeable while pedaling. I have yet to land on my hip with the shorts on, but once I do I will share the experience in the comments section.
The shorts fit similar to boxer-briefs, with loads of stretch in the soft material that makes them feel super cozy on long rides. The cuffs and waistband are not as tight as a lot of other shorts I have worn, and there is no silicone strip to keep them in place. This could result in some slipping or unwanted movement depending on your fit, but I have not had any trouble keeping them in place thus far.
The main material of the shorts is somewhat thicker than a typical pair of lycra bibs and may prove too warm for hotter adventures. Fortunately, the shorts cover a minimal patch of skin, making this point mostly moot.
Unlike the rest of the kit, these shorts are made in Italy.
MSRP: $100, available from Wiggle
We would like to thank Dainese for sending this kit for review.