Gear: Dainese’s Adventure

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Heading out into the middle of nowhere is one of the best things you can do on a bike. It also exposes you to extreme weather and, often, extreme danger. This is the gear Dainese’s made to handle both.

I first wore this gear on AltRider’s Taste of Dakar. That eant a day out to Nevada on the highway, two days off-road in the desert, then a day on the highway back to LA. Temperatures ranged from the low 40s during the last few miles of the nighttime ride out there to mid-90s in the desert during the day. I’ve since worn these items, together and separately, around Southern California, exposing them to some wet weather and non-ADV bikes in the process.

AGV AX-8 Dual Evo Tour Helmet ($450)
Already our absolute favorite dual-sport/ADV helmet, the AX-8 Dual range is this year expanded with this new Tour model. That model incorporates new graphics and thicker internal padding.

We’re big fans of the AX-8 both for its edgy looks, extreme light weight, peerless vision and affordable price. The base model starts at just $400 and they all weigh just 1,400 grams for a size medium. Compare that to the 1,642 gram, $730, Snell-standard Arai XD4 and I think it’s apparent why we strongly prefer the ECE-rated AGV.

One of the big problems with this helmet, though, is in its padding. Previously, that’s been very thin, meaning the AX-8 must absolutely fit you perfectly, down to the last millimeter, to be comfortable. Now, with a little thicker padding, it should expand the range of heads its applicable to. Still, we’d try before buying.

The rest of the AX-8’s benefits remain. It absolutely will not fog under any conditions, ventilates extremely well, is stable even at very high speeds on the road and peripheral vision through that visor is also astoundingly good. We’re also fans of this new graphic.

Dainese Teren Two-Piece ($1,000)
Ever wondered why Dainese products carry such a premium? Two reasons: 1) nothing fits as well as a Dainese and 2) the level of innovation and clever thought that’s gone into everything they make is nearly ridiculous.

Even with both the waterproof (D-Dry, not Gore-Tex) and insulating liners removed, it kept me warm on the way to Nevada then, with the ventilation flaps opened, kept me cool in the hot desert sun. The latter was helped by the Teren’s light colors. Maybe it’s just me, but I find the grey and blue to be strikingly handsome.

That’s aided by the fit, which is slim and form fitting. Most ADV gear is baggy and inflates in the wind. The Teren jacket is equipped with adjustment straps on the biceps, neck and waist, allowing you to really dial in the fit. Cinched tight, this is one textile suit that doesn’t flap in the wind whatsoever.

Everywhere you look, clever features abound. Thumb loops hold the sleeves in place; clear pockets in the forearms are great for stashing ID, cash and other readily-needed items; elastic mesh pockets on the lower sides are perfect for carrying water bottles and there’s a large, flat tool pocket over your butt.

When you unzip, un-velcro and un-button (they’re serious about the flaps staying in place) the ventilation flaps, they aren’t just left to flap around in the wind, but button securely into the open position.

The pants are probably the nicest fitting motorcycle trousers I’ve ever owned. No bagginess in the ass and they’re form-fitting through the thigh and calf. That helps hold the GP armor securely in place. The integrated/removable suspenders are unnecessary, but do add some extra security and don’t impact comfort.

I’ve now worn this suit on everything from a superbike to a cruiser and its never failed to be completely comfortable and to work in any riding position.

Dainese Carroarmato Gore-Tex Boots ($370)
Unlike other Dainese dirt boots, these make use of a sole from a third party company. And those Skywalk soles do a great job both of gripping pegs and evenly distributing pressure throughout your foot. These are the first dirt-focused boots I’ve worn that were all-day comfy from the first time wearing them.

Italian for “tank,” the Carroarmatos incorporate strong impact protection in the toes, heel, both sides of the ankle and in the shins. Lock down the aluminum buckles and your feet are held in extremely securely. There’s also enough play in the Velcro fastening at the top of the boot to open them up and wear them over pants and cinch them down and wear them under.

The internal gaiter extends to the very top of the boot, meaning they’re completely waterproof all the way up. You can and I have stood in ankle deep water while remaining completely dry.

The protection of a serious dirt boot, the comfort and weather protection of a touring boot, all in a fairly affordable, understated, clever package. These are my new go-tos anytime there’s distance, dirt or wet weather involved.

  • stever

    Can you tell me how the knee and shin armor works with the Dainese boot? I’ve tried on some Dainese pants with another brand of touring boots. The shin guard either has to go over the boot on the outside, which angles it away from my shinbone, or it fits between the tongue and my shin with the pants outside the boot, which pushes the knee pad way up and out of place. The only way to get them into place is to stuff the pants into my boots, but that is not ideal for weather and comfort. I’m planning on cutting the shin armor down to length upon purchase unless you have any ideas.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      No problems for me at all, but that could be a height thing.

  • stephen

    looks great! how does this stuff compare to Klim gear?

    Any chance of seeing some reviews for the new Icon beltway/raiden gear?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Fits a million times better than Klim while being just as versatile and functional.

      Haven’t seen that Icon gear yet, I’m sure we’ll take a look at some point.

  • NY

    How do you think the Teren gear would do as daily commuting attire compared with your Aerostich? I like the fit and the looks of this Dainese two-piece a lot, but I’m still tempted by the Roadcrafter.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I like the way the Dainese fits and looks better. And it definitely vents better for dual sport riding. You just can’t beat the quality or the convenience of the Aerostich though. They’re two different suits for two different purposes.

      • HyperRider

        Just to make sure I’m on the same page here. When you say, they’re two different suits for two different purposes are you referring to the Aerostitch being more suited for commuting/touring and the Dainese being more of an adventure/off road suit? I’m looking at both option myself.

        Thanks!

  • GD201

    Hi Wes – I have been running a Dainese D-Dry City Jacket for 10 years and I totally agree with the fit of Dainese’s bike gear. Question: I’m 6’2″/ 200lbs. What size are you and what size jacket pants do you have? My jacket is a size 54 BUT I have put on a few pounds in the past ten years. Thx – Gavin

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I’m 6′ 2″ and 178lbs. I wear a size 50 jacket, not sure about the pants. I’m skinny dude.

      • GD201

        Hey Wes -
        One LAST question: can you wear the jacket/ pants with just the thermal liner attached to the shell, or can you only attach the thermal liner to the D-Dry layer, i.e.: you need to have all three components in the works? Tried on the jacket at a local dealer last weekend and loved it and forgot to ask this of the sales guy.
        Thanks again.
        Gavin

    • GD201

      Thanks Wes. One more question: can you pull the trousers over a moto boot? or do you have to pull the boots on after (are the pants too slim-fitting to pull over a boot?). Thanks again and now I will leave you alone and go for a ride.

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        These aren’t giant exercises in flappiness, they’re pants that fit you. No, you can’t put your boots on first. Do you put your shoes on before your jeans?

  • Brian

    I like the look of the Carroarmato boots, and they are on my short list of boots I am looking at for my next pair. I have a pair of Dainese Virunga’s that I am retiring/replacing. I was looking at a pair of the Sidi Adventure’s, but the pricetag had me hold the reins in till I was 100% sure. More pictures of them would be awesome if you don’t mind.

  • Kevin

    +1 on the Dainese fit and finish. But caveat emptor: I have a D-System D-Dry jacket and pant that got holes blown in them on one appx. 40 mph brief (like, 2 seconds) slide on asphalt. Fortunately the holes opened up right over the armor in my elbow and the pad around my hip.

    Keep in mind that not all these synthetics are made equal; $800-$1000 for a one-and-done is damned steep.