Review: Dainese HG Pants 1 Are Form-Fitting and Offer Good Trail Protection

The HG1 "high gravity" mountain bike pants from Dainese are form-fitting and offer good protection on the trail.
I fit the Dainese Armoform Kneeguards under the HG1 pants. Look for a review on the knee guards soon.

Warm weather is already teasing us several days a week here in the foothills of the Alps, and my warm-weather gear is easing its way back into the rotation. But mountain bike pants like the HG Pants 1 from Dainese aren’t just for protection from the elements; they’re meant to keep legs scrape-free too.


The HG1 pants are made of three distinct fabrics, each providing stretch and durability where it’s needed. The main fabric is lightly stretchy, made of 90% nylon and 10% elastane. The hips and kneecaps are covered in a tough ceramic-coated fabric that Dainese is quite proud of. “Abrasion resistance is enhanced by a ripstop-woven 120 g/sq. m fabric and panels in SuperFabric®, an innovative ceramic-coated low friction material that’s ideal for fending off scuffs and scrapes from rock, brush, and debris.” The third fabric is good-old lycra, cooling and stretching the lumbar section and the rear of both knees.

The pants have one zippered pocket on the front waistline, large enough for a set of keys and a credit card or lift pass.
Waist adjustment straps are on the back of the pants where they will be less likely to catch on anything and flop open.

Leg-hugging cut

If you are looking for a guarantee that your pants will not get caught in your drivetrain, this pair is for you. The HG1 are by far the tightest pair of “riding-pants-that-aren’t-tights” I have ever worn, resembling the taut trousers of the late Freddie Mercury. The decidedly-tight fit keeps the pants in place while the material flexes to allow them to move with you. Given their close cut, it is nearly impossible to get these pants caught on your saddle or snagged by your rear tire.

The hips and knees are made of a robust material reminiscent of motocross gear.

On the trail

Overall, these pants feel great when mountain biking. Prior to pedaling, I thought that the slim cut would limit movement. Instead, the pants move well with my body and I simply forgot they were there. The legs stretch over the large, hard-shell kneepads I have been wearing, and the waist has stayed in place during long, pedally rides.

The main fabric is quite tough, as I found during a crash. My rear tire buzzed the pants several times without any signs of wear in the material. Lycra at the lumbar and behind the knees allows a noticeable amount of air to flow through, cooling the sweat under my kneepads and enabling the pants to stretch without sliding around. There is no extra protection on the drive-side inner ankle, and it’s not necessary given the tapered leg cut.

The lack of pockets on the HG1 pants is worth considering. If you prefer to ride bagless, stuffing your pockets with gear and grub, you will need to find some other storage. The one pocket provided leaves room for a lift pass and a small set of keys.

Aesthetically, I would like these pants to have a little more fabric and looser fit. Functionally they are spot on.