In a closet that contains an awesome Aerostich Roadcrafter, Alpinestars and Vanson race suits, and an Icon Overlord 2-piece suit, this jacket is quickly becoming a favorite piece. What does the Dainese Greyhound Pelle have over all those amazing pieces of gear? It's a classically styled leather jacket that works as well for a night out as it does on a bike.
Photos: Ashlee Goodwin
At a glance, it's easy to mistake it for something sold by Vanson or Schott. This Dainese is quite a bit different though. Rather than trying to recreate the past, the Greyhound applies that traditional aesthetic to a modern, armored riding jacket.
Gone are the snap down collars, thick, heavy leather, and frustrating failure-prone zippers of those old-school jackets. Instead, Dainese uses soft leather that looks amazing, fits comfortably and requires no break-in. This isn't the usual PU coated stuff that race suits and most riding jackets are made of though; it's a high-end leather jacket that will easily scuff and scratch so you've got to be nice to it. Conditioning it will alter its feel and appearance. The Greyhound's super smooth zipper runs full length to the very top of the collar. Zip it all the way up when you're chilly, or open up a little on hot days. It's comfortable either way. The leather on the inside of the collar has obviously had some sort of special treatment applied, making it incredibly pliable and soft, though Dainese doesn't share their exact technique.
Instead of two-panel tubes for arms each has six panels, one of which is an ingeniously shaped piece with nearly invisible perforation for the inside of your elbow and shoulder. There's more of that perforation (always custom shaped to the panel in Dainese jackets) just below the arms on the body of the jacket too. With the liner removed it works decently well up to 90º heat on the freeway, but really shines when you're cruising around town at night with the liner in and another layer over a t-shirt. The inside of your elbow and around the underarm where most jackets bunch up is where you'll get warm and sweaty and the nearly invisible perforation takes care of it.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this jacket, and the biggest thing separating it from normal riding jackets, is a fit that makes this jacket look great with or without armor. The cut is more like that of a fashion jacket, and they've left barely enough room for shoulder armor. Once you arrive at your destination it only takes about 30 seconds to pull out the shoulder armor (velcro) and back protector (zipper compartment).
The cut of the arms successfully hides the harder to remove elbow armor, and the six panel sleeve design disappears into the folds and creases of the leather at night. With the armor out, the only things to give you away are the small metal Dainese logos set into each shoulder and DAINESE stitched across the upper back. Recently, it was the only jacket I hauled along to San Francisco and served me well both at fancy dinners and all day riding.
There are more comfortable jackets to ride in, and there are more fashionable jackets to stand around and look good in, but none that work so well at both.