Dainese: A History of Racing and Innovation

Aug 23, 2013
by Matt Wragg  
If you're relatively new to mountain biking, then Dainese may not be a name you associate with the sport. Yet, not so long ago, they were at the forefront of rider protection. We take a dive into the company's history to explain why they are a name you should know, both because of their history and their future.

  As you enter the Dainese headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, the first thing you see is the wall of history. It charts each of their landmark developments since Lino Dainese founded the company in 1972. The names of mountain bike racers like Nico Vouilloz and Phillipe Perakis sit proudly alongside all-time motorbike legends like Valentino Rossi and Eddie Lawson on the wall.

4 deacades of close collaboration with the fastest men on motorcycles.
  For four decades Dainese have provided protection to the fastest motorcycle riders on the planet.

Lino Dainese writes on the white walls some words that should be inspiration for others. this is not all the new ideas are good all the good ideas are new Dainese first introduced this pad in motorsport
  Lino Dainese's words on the wall of the headquarters: "The new ideas aren't always good, the good ideas aren't always new." In their search to produce the best protection possible Dainese look for inspiration in history and the world around them, as well as the latest science and medical research.

  In 1981 Dainese introduced the world's first dedicated spine protector. Within the company it is called "the lobster" because the inspiration for the design came from a lobster's shell. In 1992 they were the first to introduce this kind of protection into mountain biking.

1992
  During a motorcycle trade fair in 1992 a Swiss rider, Phillipe Perakis, approached Dainese with one of their safety jackets he had modified himself to use on the bike. Stitching carbon fiber plates to the jacket for downhill racing, he explained the then-emerging sport and told them that at the time there was no specific protection available for riders. His description caught the imagination of Dainese and this was the product of that first collaboration - the first ever mountain bike-specific safety jacket. Motorbike riders might recognise the shape of the shoulder armour as it is very similar to the Airbag system that is now common in Moto GP racing.

1994
this was Perakis. Old DH glory who first worked with dainese to develop a protection for downhill with a particular attention to preserve the collarbone
  Petrakis' race armour from 1994.

  Each of the racers' suits were tailored specifically to them, and in the Dainese archives they still have the measurements for all of them.

WC racing
Vouilloz.. The first world champios jersey.
  In 1992 Dainese started working with a young, French racer by the name of Nico Vouilloz

ACC and CG
  Along with Nico, they also supported Anne-Caroline Chausson and a young Cedric Gracia.

skin suit paradise Corrado Herin syntesi Verlicchi. Corrado back in the 90 s was one of the fastest guy around and was able to win an overall world cup in 97.
  Back at home in Italy they sponsored Corrado Herrin, who wore this skinsuit in 1997 when he won the World Cup overall.

Shaun Palmer Pants
  It wasn't just Europeans they sponsored - Shaun Palmer also used their protection. They worked with him for both mountain biking and in boardercross.

THE ARCHIVE. this room with a distinctive smell mixture of lether oil sweat and race history contains all the pieces that Dainese made for their Pilots since day one.
  In the mid-2000s Dainese pulled back from mountain biking, refocusing on their motorcycle line and leaving the action sports to the side. They never left the sport, but they scaled back the development that in the decade before changed the way we think about protective gear.

faces and details. here is were the creatives develop new ideas and inspirations to find the newest and better solution for protection
  Since last year, Dainese have been rebuilding their mountain bike staff, and bringing new energy and new people in to put themselves back at the forefront once again. Their approach has not changed though, as they examine the world around them to find ways of keeping riders safer on their bikes.

www.dainese.com

We will be bringing you an exclusive first look at their rebirth in mountain biking from Eurobike in just a few short weeks. If history is a guide, then we can surely expect something special from the Italian legends...


Must Read This Week

110 Comments

  • + 93
 I remember times in the 90´s when it was fashionable to wear the latest protection gear, and how this stuff developed and always got better.

It helped me many times to walk away without a scratch after gnarly crashes, and today some worldcup racer just wear kneepads and a helmet, and for some kids it is not cool to wear protections...strange world
  • + 20
 I also don't understand why so much people (not the wc racers) just wear a helmet and kneepads. But.. it's their body they are destroying.
  • + 14
 A lot of times, it's just a mental game. Wearing full body armour restricts my movement and it stays there at the back of my mind - not good when you need your full concentration on the track, the trees, the rocks, the roots, etc, that's coming up at you at speed. There is nothing out there, that comes to mind, that is cooling, non-restrictive, but protective, that I can think of.
  • + 9
 I don't know but.. i also can concentrate on the track, the trees, the rocks, the roots with my body armour. But, like i said, its their body.
  • + 12
 I ABSOLUTLY LOVE DAINESE! On my Ducati or my NomadC, Dainese has saved my azz more times than I can count.
Although, I still love a free ride(no armour) when the trail or street permit it. FOREVER D!
  • + 4
 all i can say i walk away from some ,it kept me in the game,and every one is different,but for me when when i had it on i could just focus on all those things in my sight,so if you bring up restricts just don't were a helmet,free ride it like old school,think ya it might save you or not,but every rider is set in there style,safety gear has come along way,just look back.
  • + 20
 Actually, most people don't realize that a good percentage of the WC guys are wearing armor underneath their jerseys... even the top guys.
  • + 2
 Stil got my old Dainese body armor (don't wear it any more), but back in the day it was actualy cool to wear all that protection.
  • + 9
 Considering all the shoulder injuries you would think more protection up there would be a no-brainer, but the youth today is very impressionable and refuse to acknowledge the consequences. The injuries simply are not worth it later in life. Most of the old guys I see riding DH use alot more protection, that tells you if you want to do this long term be prepared.
  • - 26
flag driftmonster (Aug 23, 2013 at 6:09) (Below Threshold)
 most of the time when im wearing my body armor i feel as if im doing something i shouldn't be doing . why suit up to prepare for a crash . just don't crash .

besides the few major times i crashed i was wearing a padding .the pads did nothing . bones were broken; knee ,skin pads moved and i still got scrapes,bruises . so now its just a DOT helmet , Leatt, knee pads and gloves. all 4 pieces work and they work well without restricting movement or moving when i do crash .
  • + 32
 ^ "just don't crash"?? Crashing is part of the sport. if you never crash, you're probably not even riding.
  • - 18
flag driftmonster (Aug 23, 2013 at 8:09) (Below Threshold)
 or you just ride within you comfort zone . kinda like how you avoided every wooden jump feature in your "featured video".

and im sure my comfort zone is defiantly considered "riding"
  • - 2
 SNAP
  • + 18
 16 year olds think a D3 /Leatt or D3/ knee pads combo look way cooler than a full safety jacket. It's funny because when you're 30+ you tend to think of function/safety before fashion, but I'm certainly not 16 anymore.
  • + 5
 I still wear a padded jacket, knee pads and padded short... It may not be cool, but I think making your buddies end their day to take you to the hospital is less cool.

@driftmonster - By your logic since I have had 2 concussions wearing helmet (one moto and one DH) should I no longer wear a helmet. The helmet obviously did no good.

If the pads restrict your movement, you need to find a better fitting setup. The only movement my pads restrict are movements that would result in body parts being torn/dislocated.
  • + 12
 yup and if you never crash, thats because you don't ride hard enough!
  • + 6
 @drift monster. I skipped 1 jump on jump off and one boner log, (both of which I've already hit). They're not difficult nor are they all that fun. I was setting myself up for the 35 foot tables after hitting the biggest drop on the mountain, we can get into an argument about who goes bigger, but its a waste of time. On another note, if you're always riding in youre comfort zone, then you'll never improve.
  • + 2
 @driftmonster. You want the vid where I hit them?
  • + 1
 I have been a teacher now for many years overseas and I can honestly say that children(male/female)bounce left/right/&centre. Its different for others because we learnt how to take hits(even though it sucked)and collect our "paper"prize.
PS. Keep pushing the sport! Passion... never dies!
  • - 19
flag driftmonster (Aug 23, 2013 at 10:23) (Below Threshold)
 based on most of your logic. why not wear a suit wrist guards , ankle braces or a suit of armour ? you should all ride to the mountain with your gear on because if you could crash your cars the the extra padding might save you from getting a boo boo . oh and dont cross the street bc statistically more people get hit by cars then crash bicycles.

bikycycles art cerous biznusses and you must always beez gonin da fastests and gettin KOM so pad up and let it rip!!
  • + 8
 now you just look like an idiot. well here it is, riding the old boner on power hour. www.pinkbike.com/video/328491
  • + 5
 For all the people which are saying "Just don't crash", "I can't concentrate on the track with it" or "I don't have the movement under the protection and it's too hot".
I had a crash 6 weeks ago at the Bikepark in Leogang, no i didn't wanted to crash. It was at a bigger table, no one saw how i crashed and i can't remember it because i got a severe concussion. I wear a Full-Face Helmet, Body armour, Knee-Pads and i don't wanna know how it ended without the body armour. My Helmet saved me from a broken chin, with it i "only" got 4 stiches on it and it's ailing. I still have problem to chew and i can't open my mouth completely. My body armour saved my complete body, right shoulder and my right arm. I don't want to know how it would look without it. The armor has some serious damage and deep scratches and i still have pain in my right shoulder. My knee pads saved me from even more scratches, also my dh-shorts.
What i want to say with it is that something like that without the full protection could have cost me more than just a few stiches, i may would not me able to ride again. People which don't wear are in my eyes irresponsible to themself.
  • - 23
flag driftmonster (Aug 23, 2013 at 13:04) (Below Threshold)
 GAy
  • + 2
 @Kona-Stinker-Dude: Wow! Nice trail! Where is that?
  • + 1
 Yeah I learnt the hard way with a tree or 3. After a Ti plate and some screws holding my shoulder together, 3 years later it's still a pain in the @ss.
  • + 1
 @cool3 It's Highland Mountain Bike Park. Track is NE Style
  • + 1
 Heb is right. But the bottom half is power hour
  • + 2
 When I went to the Fort William world cup this year I was lucky enough to get a gondola ride up with Stevie Smith and his mechanic. He was saying that he doesn't wear much body armour because it's like mentally setting yourself up for a crash which isn't what you want in a race run.

I personally only wear knee and elbow pads for DH because when I have worn full body armour it's like I get a sense of "S*** this is serious" and don't take as many risks.
  • + 4
 Hey, at least we have left the skin suit era of World Cup racing
  • + 1
 I don't think they're gonna start soon
  • + 0
 oneindustries.com/bike/guards/exo-elbow-forearm these don't look too bad, neither do the raceface charge guards, could tuck them under a long sleeve jersey but my stance on protection is I'm going maybe 30-40km/h max on the tech here on the shore and coming from road where I've gone past 90km/h with no protection other then a helmet and sunglasses so it's not that scary to me, if I hit a tree I'm young and I'll bounce but that said my riding is generally just steep fast shit, I never do big hits, only thing I don't understand is non leatt users, they're in style so you won't look stupid (unlike a pressure suit) and they're comfortable so why not wear them?
  • + 1
 Leatts are expensive for us young ones haha. I'm exactly the same way about hitting stuff, if I crash I bounce, roll. and keep going. Eventually we all go down a bit too hard tho and that's what body armor is good for. While I'm young it's jersey, full face, and knee pads haha
  • + 4
 Todays youth who dont protect themselves are just tomorrows paraplegics. Breaking your bones may not seem like a big deal now but wait til your older and in chronic pain. Dont be retards.
  • + 1
 I admit, I was a 16 yo. dumbass once too, but to say I have learned a lot since then would be the understatement of the century.
  • + 1
 @HebMT: thanks, mate! Smile
  • + 1
 why not strive for and promote some lower profile body armour. Stuff that is flexible, breathes well, looks good while still providing protection for when shit hits 'er! I've seen the knee pads and neck brace kids wear knee pads on an XC ride (they call it "enduro"). So it's definitely a fashion thing...
  • + 2
 I'd wear super thin stuff but honestly I doubt it helps much, a foam pad won't stop me from breaking a bone so why would I wear them?
  • + 1
 @Josh-is-Ace - in my eyes, its stupid.i do understand smith because, like you said, you don't need some shit in your brain for a RACE RUN, but then he should not waer the helmet and knee pads.. i mean it protects your body if you crash?! But i never get set up mentally for a crash when i wear it i just know i am FULL protectet now. And also as a hobbyrider.. oh man, yeah, you may not think about a crash without the protection but when you crash like me without that, then you eat the whole cake of pain!
  • + 3
 Gotta be honest the guy that said 'I'm young ill hit a tree and bounce' is an idiot. No pads won't save your life necessarily, but they can be the difference between hospital or continuing your ride. Its like saying to a moto gp rider 'just wear some knee pads and make sure you slide on your knees when you come off who needs leathers?' Crashes dont always work that way, hence why you end up off the bike not controlled and keeping on goin. Broken arms and legs heal, broken backs, necks, heads and even to an extent anything with a joint will screw you up in the long term. This is an example of where learning the hard way is not the best idea. Also look at the amount of younger dh riders with injury holding them back, im not saying more pads would if helped but ive never heard some one crash and wish they were wearing less armour becuase its uncomfy
  • + 2
 motogp and downhill... apples and oranges?
  • + 2
 You still see kids on the road with 500's and shorts and a tee. Good luck is all im saying
  • + 1
 @driftmonster, i completely understand u as ive said the same thing ALOT of times, but sometimes crashes arent avoidabl, just last week i launched off a jump to clear a 35 footer, and mid-whip a gust of wind camd real hard, blew me sideways and wouldnt let me recover from the whip.
  • + 3
 Way to be a hypocrite on that one driftmonster. All this bs abt no pads and now what , just pushed right over cuz stinker called ur bluff?
  • + 1
 Just had a simalr experienc at mamoth, 35 ft table and windrift caught me, no concusion, but im almost sure that withought my pads, i wouldnt have a left elbow, a jagged rock section right next to the landing (great setup) almost took my arm and head off, luckily i was able to swim out an extra foot or two in mid air to avoid paralasys
  • + 2
 some of the best rider's are some of the best crashers,thats how you learn is when you push your limit's no one wants to crash,but its nice when you have things to keep you some what safe,so you can keep on playing the game we all love,just thank all the guy's test pilots>that came before us.
  • + 1
 Preeeeach! Haha, but its really true more than half theanyone gets hurt is they arent good crashers. Only myself and two other friends fall often enough and welll enough wile hauling to be prepared for eating crap when it comes. One of myfriends fell resp bad for the firsttime at 16, he went into shock, litteraly. And by my standards was pretty easy as far as hard crashes go. It all goes to show if you are let to fall and get hurt growing, u will utimately be a great rider
  • + 11
 I can't think of Philippe Perakis without thinking of this photo: livedoor.blogimg.jp/pedalmafia/imgs/8/0/8024b0dd.jpg
  • + 1
 YES.....DCD!!!! Amazing pic...those days don't seem that long ago!!
  • + 6
 Live about 5 minutes down the road from the headquarters, I have always wanted to stop by and see if I can get a tour. Same with Campagnolo, they are nearly across the street from Dainese, but they run a tight ship.
  • + 3
 When I first started riding DH one of my buddies loaned me his Dainese body armor, chest, back and elbows. Platty can be hard on a first timer, I am sooo glad I had it that day! It fit awesome, and wasn't as hot as I expected it to be.
  • + 6
 PLEASE BRING BACK VIKING BIBS!
  • + 2
 I recently found a pair on ebay for around $80. best $80 i ever spent...
  • + 2
 stoked to see dainese coming bacl into the game...still got my dainese from 02 and wear it every dh ride i do...i like how people say it obstructs them..but when it feels like a second skin no interruptiions on my movement abilities.. suit up and keep shredding ! welcome back dainese...i will buy a new suit for sure
  • + 1
 I used Dainese equipment in my first years of motorcycle roadracing, my first suit was a sweet Kenny Roberts replica. I crash tested there stuff on more than one occasion and it always saved my ass. I wore there stuff until I got sponsored by Kushitani, if I had to pay full price I would of wore Dainese til I quit racing...awesome stuff and I cant wait to see the MTB stuff !
  • + 1
 good to see one discussion without arguing and negative comments about the product....that means...dainese rules...i had also dainese body armor when i started to ride....never had better body armour after that one....hm...maybe i should buy new one....
  • + 5
 Wow, that first dh shot... what are those bars, like 20" wide!
  • + 2
 Always have and still do love my safety jacket I got about ten years ago.... Saved my life more times than I can remember! Walked away from just about every crash I ever had with it on.
  • + 1
 It's so weird that so few MTB companies are from Italy. Okay, we have Formula, who are in a resurgence with OEM-ing quite a few Specialized products, we'll see what Marzocchi does in a few years and on the road there are plenty of frame manufacturers, plus there's Campagnolo. But still, there are no high profile MTB frame manufacturers from Italy...
  • + 1
 MDE bikes?
I thought MSC were Spanish?
  • + 1
 your are right
  • + 1
 MDE are small time, Nicolai like.
  • + 1
 always heard good things about the complete Dianese suits (apart from needing stitching as they ripped easily during crashes), but could not afford one, and just used my moto Fox roost-guard with a Dianese kidney belt (5 plate spine protector), barged some trees and north shore stunts with that combo and walked away..


however, on rider recommendations, I bought the Dianese freestyle knee/shins and elbows guards:- f*cking terrible to be honest, constantly slipped down my arms and legs (having to pull them back up mid way during a run in a DH race!) and would not stay put during a big crash.

I am an average size so it was not an issue of fitment to my body. Still have scars 10 years later from using that equipment for DH races and FR


during my first trip to Whistler in 2004, discovered the Roach (soon to become Race Face) elbows and knee/shins guards, bought these and never looked back, fantastic fitting, tough and secure equipment. Ended up buying the sublime Race Face "Body Armour Jacket" 2 seasons later as the Roost had become too bulky for airtravel or transport when shuttling


actually gave my Dianese elbows and knee/shins away to some kid in the Whistler bike park during that first trip, he was very stoked, as I soon realized how darn expensive the big D was in Canada!
  • + 1
 I had the same, painful experience with the freestyle guards ... :-(
  • + 2
 I use the new black D knee and shin pads they are great. I used the older ones in the pic above back in the day crashed a 25 foot double jump and they saved my knees big time well worth the cash
  • + 4
 It is impossible to describe the smell of a set of this after a full season in hot climates like where we ride! Nasty
  • + 1
 Wash it..., they actually wash very well ( hand wash, not washing machine )
  • + 2
 I' ve been using Dainese protection for ever. Nothing more comfortable, durable, and safe. Saved my shins a couple of times...
  • + 1
 Yeah its soo cool just wearing a t-shirt, I look like a pro and wearing armour is for rookies it restricts my body when doing double frontflips. Mom bougtht me one but I dont give a f***
  • + 3
 Come on....its called sarcasm!
  • + 2
 I thought Nico might have got the nickname "The Alien" cause of the logo of the Dainese gear he always rocked back in the day.
  • + 2
 I still have dainese gear that i was bought ten years ago almost to the day for my 21st. The full lowers are beast and still super comfy to wear.
  • + 1
 Just wondering, how did this article show up much further down the page earlier but now it's the top story?

Doing some shuffling to promote Dainese?
  • + 1
 Seriously. This was like 7 or 8 articles down the list and now it's bumped all the way up. I like their products and the company, but if this was done just to bring the story more traction for the company I'd like to know.
  • + 1
 I'm looking at some Dainese pads for next year. Not sure a suit is ideal for enduro though.
Looking cool is the last thing on my mind. I ride in 3/4 chinos and tshirts.
  • + 1
 Petrakis' armour from 1994 still looks sick. It looks much more comfortable and easy to move in than any of the crap being put out by Fox or 661.
  • + 2
 I've still got my Dianese top suit, yes its getting pretty old now - but still great protection, so comfortable
  • + 2
 they´re protection have the best ergonomics. for bike & motorbike. perfection!
  • + 1
 I haven't tried any protection from Dainese and I don't think it'll be anytime soon. It looks awesome, but it costs way too much.
  • + 1
 these guys make a sick full face helmet:
www.dainese.com/us_en/multisport-summer/d-raptor-graphic-2.html?cat=100
seems to be hard to find in the US
  • + 1
 They're almost non-existent in N. America sadly. I've had 2 D-Raptor helmets, one saved my life in Silver Star in 2008 and the newer one's just returned with me from two weeks in Whistler. My other half also wears a different design D-Raptor and she loves it, having had Azonic, TSG and Specialized helmets in the past. They're also light weight, very well padded and ventilated and with a semi-transparent visor, they don't restrict your vision as much as some trendier helmets. We're both always getting asked about them as they're pretty rare too. Can't recommend them highly enough. Hopefully Dainese will be re-launching them at Eurobike!
  • + 1
 oh man scope that valentino rossi kit from the fiat yamaha motogp team FTW!!!
  • + 1
 it's not often you get the chance to say this: Dainese saved my life. Several times!
  • + 2
 Is that a BOSS inverted fork I see...? pic#9 from the top
  • + 2
 Yes it was used on nicos v-process bikes back in the day. Which were apparently so advanced they'd still be competitive today.
  • + 1
 Great. So now when I get into a fight with some pink bike kid I can't say "do you even know what dainese is?" Anymore.
  • + 1
 Having said that, dainese was THE SHIT to own until some cool cats stopped wearing armour because they went on steroids. My whole career I always wanted a full 1 piece.
  • + 2
 Max's Camel Moto GP leathers
  • + 1
 I can walk today because of my dianese spin protection
  • + 1
 Copying Batman's armor I see
  • + 0
 I find it funny that it is not cool to wear protection but it is a lot cooler wearing it than being in a wheelchair?
  • + 1
 If you ain't crashin then you ain't thrashin
  • + 1
 Funny. Nowdays it's a full face, Leatt and gloves.
  • + 1
 Super SIC GP !
  • + 1
 $$$$
  • + 1
 do they make condoms ?
  • + 1
 Come on Dainese... ;-)
  • + 1
 Go Go Power Rangers!
  • + 1
 Dainese is the best!
  • - 2
 I would love it if more companies started making skinsuits again, love them so much and still use mine on my kona!!
  • + 2
 santini, castelli, champion systems, sugoi... skinsuits are kinda a 90s thing for mtb though....
  • - 2
 yeaaaah SkiNSuits LOOK AWESOME ! I think people involved in protection bussines should look into the scoooba diving industry MORE !
  • + 0
 scooba divers use a skin-suit - that way they are protected from sharks ! ..im just saying
  • + 5
 Aren't they illegal in the UCI now?
  • + 1
 Yeah, they rip too easily. Probably something silly like weight reduction as well knowing UCI
  • + 3
 Not sure if you are all being serious or not...
  • + 0
 hahahahahha
  • + 0
 Only good thing the UCI has ever done, banning skin suits. Because even they don't want you looking like a tool.
  • - 1
 UCI can go to hell
  • + 1
 yeah great idea, then we'll have no world cups dipshit

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2018. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.074353
Mobile Version of Website