Not many brands have a history as long and storied as Dainese. In 1972 they put out their first product: a pair of moto pants with a screaming demon patch. Since then, they have been protecting the best riders on two wheels on both dirt and tarmac. In the mid to late 90’s their protection was on almost every World Cup Pro. Their pads were the standard and lusted over by broke kids like me. While Dainese still has a respected name in the protection world, things have come a long way since those light-colored plastic battle suits. Since those glory days, Dainese has moved beyond two wheels, in fact they’ve even moved beyond our atmosphere as they now have contracts with ESA and NASA for spacesuit base layers. We know you’re downhill speed is close to that of a space shuttle at the speed of sound, so rest assured, you’re new DH kit will hold up.
Dainese’s High Gravity or HG line is designed for DH riding without being overly bulky. The HG Jersey 1 is a very fitted, knit jersey that reminds me more of a classic road jerseys than a modern DH jersey. But hiding in the threads are some key features: Two fabrics are used on either side of the fabric, the one next to your skin is hydrophilic, attracting water to it and away from your skin. The exterior yarn is hydrophobic, expelling water as quickly as possible. The blend is 65% polyester, 35% polyamide, the mix comes out feeling more like a wool than nylon, and has a very durable finish. Interior seams are flat and do not rub at all. The sleeves and body are heavily tapered and fitted, but stretch is abundant allowing armor under the shirt if desired. Be aware however, the fit is definitely “Euro” so if you’re a regular pad wearer or on the larger size, we suggest you order up to get away from the skin-suit look.
Outstanding material design is the continued theme with the HG short. A ripstop nylon/spandex 4-way stretch material makes up the majority of the short. Key areas have SuperFabric, which is a low friction, carbon coated material that is a bit heavier duty. The design is again, well fitted with a slight flare at the knee to ensure the shorts fit over any knee pad. Dainese went the extra step with these shorts with small details like a longer front of the knee to prevent a gap above the knee pad and a non-zippered stretch fly.
When I first saw the kit I was taken back to classic colorways that are reminiscent of the early days of mountain racing in the Alps. Being the closest to an XC rider we have on the Loam Wolf crew, I preferred the fitted style and function of this kit. The jersey is fairly tight in the arms and upper torso, but leaves room for a slim fitting elbow pad or back protector if desired. The jersey is ultra comfortable, again feeling like a merino wool shirt rather than nylon. The knit is much different than your classic jersey material, very stretchy while breathable and tough. I spent a few days in the July heat riding park and even a day on the pedal bike without sweating through the jersey.
The shorts are a bit looser than the jersey in fit but keep up in the performance department. Breathability is outstanding. The one zippered pocket is just enough space for your park pass and phone, so things won’t be bouncing around. These shorts are unlined, which suits the old iron taint well. Both trail and DH kneepads fit with no problems or gaper gap and never hung up on the short.
First lap out in this kit, I did go down hard in a corner on my elbow and hip. I was sure I ripped the lightweight jersey, but to my surprise it was in perfect condition. Despite some pretty decent dirt rash on myself, the kit was no worse for wear. After a few washes and some good use, things still look brand new. My wife specifically told me she liked the kit on me and she usually doesn’t care much for MTB kits. She may be biased though, so 5/5 for partner approval.
If you like classic, understated style and are looking for a more fitted kit, Dainese has you covered with the HG line. I could not be more impressed with the performance and feel of these products. The jersey is comfortable and well fitted while the shorts don’t leave anything to be desired. These pieces will be in heavy rotation for a while.
HG shorts – $139.99
HG jersey – $89.99