There’s always a continual struggle for me to find the right balance between safety and comfort in a jacket, particularly for warm weather riding. This new Dainese Air-Frame Tex Jacket address the gap between ventilation and safety, giving you both in a single, stylish package.
Leather, whilst offering good overall protection, can be just too hot and restrictive and, some of the textile jackets out there may keep you cool, but often look like a neon advertising hoarding and come with a series of fiddly zippers and poppers that are near impossible to use and all too often break or jam.
We at RideApart make no excuses for saying that we like a lot of what Italian motorcycle apparel company Dainse has to offer. It’s sometimes more expensive than its competitors, but you’re paying for more than 40 years of expertise in designing and manufacturing top quality riding gear with the emphasis always on rider protection.
As RideApart’s Cruiser Editor, I have no need for some of the sophisticated sport bike leathers (I wouldn’t know what to do with most of it anyway) but I wanted to find something that suits my needs and my style of riding and the fact that I like getting on my bike and heading off into the deserts of California on some really, really hot days.
My previous mesh/textile jackets have been ok-ish. Some came equipped with armor in key areas of the shoulder, back and elbows, but the confusing systems of zippers, flaps and inner linings has often made them a real pain to wear. My biggest grumble has been the use of cheap zips that snag on a jacket’s lining material and then are nigh on impossible to operate when you’re wearing gloves and are on the move.
And, on my last mesh jacket, the material would always get caught in the zip locking the zipper firmly in place. I’d then have to get off my bike and sit at the side of the road trying to fix the problem. And more often than not I couldn’t sort it and would have to ride feeling like I was being boiled alive in a jacket that was supposed to be ventilated but was on permanent lock down.
Dainese suggested the best option for me was to try its 2013 Air-Frame Tex. And on first sight I liked the look of it. There’s minimal logos – just the Dainese name on the chest and if you go for the all black versions you hardly notice the corporate name across your chest.
There’s a mesh fabric layer over the top part of the rider’s torso, along the shoulders and it runs down to the elbows and also over the upper back. This works well with the inner perforated lining that helps wick moisture and gets air circulating around the body. Inside there’s also removable nylon windproof vest that you can probably best disregard on hot days except maybe on really cold mornings, when it keeps a cushion of warm air around the body.
The round collar and each of the cuffs are finished in a leatherette-type material that looks good and is complimented by the use of stud fastenings at the wrist and neck instead of zips. You also get a pair of sleeve volume adjustments on the forearm and upper arm so you can get a tighter or loose fit on your arms.
There’s also composite armor (certified to EN1261 Standard) for the shoulders and for the elbows. On the back you get space for a G-type back protector with a pocket already built in, but that additional piece of armor will cost you extra.
Overall it’s a jacket that has been well thought out as you hardly notice you’re carrying any of the armor even when you’re off the bike and walking around.
There’s also a couple of reflective strips on each arm that, although they look small, do actually work well at night and make the rider just a little more visible.
Compared to a regular motorcycle jacket, it’s bit limited on carrying capacity. There’s a pair of zippered side pockets on the outside of and a smaller inner pocket. But you can’t carry much in any of them.
A really nicely made textile/mesh jacket, which has some sensible features. We like the fact it’s understated.
The straightforward ventilation system works well and keeps the wearer reasonably cool even on wickedly hot days.
High quality fastenings that are simple to use so you don’t have to fumble around with snagging zippers when you are on the move and whilst wearing gloves.
Is it going to save your hide in a crash? Thankfully we’ve not had to put it to the test yet. It appears very robust, well made and has good impact guards in all the right areas. Hopefully it will do its job.
Not a lot. Storage space, or pockets, is pretty small.
Inner liner is more of a wind chill deflector.
Don’t buy this jacket without trying it. You may think you’re one particular size but with most of Dainese gear you really, really need to go and put it on to check that it’s going to fit and work for you.
At $269.95 the Dainese Air-Frame Tex is not cheap but, for what you get and the quality of the product, we think it’s actually a pretty good deal. There are seven color option/combinations so you get a good selection to pick the jacket that really suits your taste.
Dainese makes top quality riding gear. Period. The Air Frame Tex doesn’t change the world of mesh, hot weather riding jackets but it does offer good protection, simple design features and is well thought out and very well made. Based upon that last point alone we think it should last you a good few years of riding. And it’ll keep you cool.
RideApart Rating: 9/10