A few months ago, we Motorcyclists received a memo from upstairs asking us to please make sure our riding gear was current for photo shoots. We've got an image to maintain, after all, and photos of editors in filthy, faded, five-year-old Aerostich suits don't cut it.
Like almost everyone else on staff, my go-to gear anytime I'm not on a racetrack is a filthy, faded, five-year-old Aerostich suit. So before last summer's Alps Challenge I updated my touring togs with some new pieces from Dainese. The Italian company has been making high-end moto-gear since before I was born, and it seemed like high time for me to give some a try.
Dainese's Zulu Gore-Tex jacket and 2L Gore-Tex pants are versatile pieces that promise comfort and protection in any weather. The sturdy jacket features an outer shell composed of Duratex PA 6.6 and Dainese's own Texas textile fabrics, with a Gore-Tex membrane to provide waterproofyet- breathable performance. Composite shoulder and elbow armor comes standard, and an internal pocket that fits an optional Dainese G1 or G2 spine protector enhances protection. The 2L Pants, which zip to the jacket for added security, use the same Gore-Tex membrane plus taped seams for superior weatherproofing.
Whether traversing the Alps or suffering the climactic nastiness of fall in the Midwest, I found the gear's ability to withstand extreme conditions impressive. The Gore-Tex shell especially proved waterproof as promised, even in extended showers, aided by the somewhat-clunky Idraflap front closure and unique, zip-and-fold pocket closures that effectively eliminate the two typically troublesome leak points.
There are some compromises, of course: There are no vents on the Zulu, which eliminates more potential leakage but also means you risk soaking yourself from the inside once temperatures rise above 70 degrees. Removing the zip-out liners helps, but this introduces another criticism: The bulky microdown thermal liners certainly keep you warm on cold jaunts, but the jacket and pants are puffy with the liners in and baggy with them out, especially in the small size I wear. Lastly, with just one internal and two external pockets on the jacket, and no slip-in glove pockets, I frequently wanted more-and more convenient-carrying options.
I brought my wife along on the Alps Challenge Tour. For her, Dainese provided its Tomoko ladies' jacket. The styling defi- nitely got props. Like much of Dainese's women's wear, the slim-fitting jacket is high-tech protective gear that nonetheless manages to look more like sophisticated street wear than misplaced ski gear, unusual in the marketplace. The M100 nylon/cotton shell looks smart but holds more water on its surface than the all-nylon Zulu, though it keeps that moisture on the outside thanks to proprietary D-Dry technology. The Tomoko also lacks vents, though it does offer twice as many pockets as the Zulu.
I'm not ready to toss out my trusty 'Stich just yet, but if the weather looks especially cold or wet-and the cameras are clicking- these Dainese pieces will be my first choice.
Dainese Touring Gear
Prices: Men's Zulu Gore-Tex jacket $499
Men's 2L Gore-Tex pants $349
Ladies Tomoko D-Dry jacket $399
Contact: Dainese USA
1645 Superior Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
An excellent choice for inclement weather, but lacks venting and needs more pockets.