Review: Dainese's AWA Apparel Delivers High Performance With a Price to Match

Dec 20, 2018
by Paul Aston  
August Aston Product


Dainese released their new AWA range of apparel last year, which stands for "All Weather Activity." The apparel is intended to not only be ideal for trail rides in all conditions, but also for any other outdoor sports you might do.

The complete AWA range features most clothing items you might need for a whole year, but for this review we focused on the Hybrid jacket, the Zip Jersey 3, and the Wind Jacket. These three items are designed to be lightweight, packable, and work together in a 3-in-1 layering system. Everything is made in the EU, in either Italy or Portugal, and partly because of that does not come cheap. The Hybrid Jacket costs €179, while the Zip Jersey 3 and the Wind Jacket cost €99 each.


Dainese AWA Hybrid Jacket

August Aston Product



The Hybrid Jacket is designed for 'stop' and 'go' portions of a ride, so it's ideal for keeping you warm when refueling, dealing with mechanicals and cold weather rides. Most of the fabrics are sourced from Polartec, with the down-like material in the lower core area called Alpha Direct, which is used to keep your core temperature up and provide protection when riding into the wind thanks to its high denier outer layer.

Polartec Power Grid material is used for the shoulders, back and sleeves to quickly wick away sweat. The result of this is a top that occupies the middle ground between a warm jersey and a jacket, while being light and taking up very little space in a bag.




AWA Hybrid Jacket details
• Alpha Direct insulation
• Polartec Power Grid quick-absorbing fabric
• Sizes: XS - XXL
• Weight: 300g (claimed)
• Price: $199.99 USD / €179.90
www.dainese.com



August Aston Product
The raised fabric sections on the inside of the Hybrid Jacket help remove moisture.


August Aston Product
Less insulation on the back to keep cool on long climbs and a set of pockets on the Hybrid Jacket.






Dainese AWA Zip Jersey 3

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This is a slightly heavier weight jersey with a half-zip, which is perfect to help regulate temperature by opening it for long climbs and closing when you cool down.

The fabric uses a different weave for the front and back, optimizing moisture removal. The inner side against the skin is hydrophilic (likes water) and the side exposed to the air is hydrophobic (doesn't like water); the idea is that the material draws sweat away from the body and moves it away to evaporate in the air faster than it normally would do, leaving you dry. There is also a trio of pockets on the back, perfect for carrying a small amount of gear for short rides.




AWA Zip Jersey 3 details
• Alpha Direct insulation
• Polartec Power Grid quick-absorbing fabric
• Sizes: XS - XXL
• Weight: 180g (claimed)
• Price: $109.99 USD / €99.90
www.dainese.com




August Aston Product
Half-zip to help with temperature regulation.


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Three rear pockets with buttons to keep your cargo where you left it.






Dainese AWA Wind Jacket

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This is an extremely lightweight minimalist windproof jacket, perfect for keeping a chill wind off and keeping warm on long descents. The DWR coating of the fabric means that if push comes to shove it will fend off light rain showers.

Thanks to the lightweight design and the ability to pack it within itself it takes up a small amount of space, so is easy to keep in a bag or even a pocket for a change in weather. It's well cut to prevent any flapping in the wind with lycra gussets at the neck, wrists and waist to allow it to fit snuggly and keep drafts out, while not restricting movement.


AWA Wind Jacket details
• Lightweight DWR treated fabric
• Sizes: XS - XXL
• Weight: 300g (claimed)
• Price: $109.99 USD / €99.90
www.dainese.com




August Aston Product
Storage pocket visible at the neck.


August Aston Product
Lycra gussets to keep drafts out without restricting movement.






Performance

Donning the AWA kit for the first time is a pleasure, every item fit well and they were all supremely comfortable and flexible. I used all size medium products and the fit was on the slim side, but even with all three layers worn at the same time my movement was not restricted. The products all have a high-quality feel and it's clear these are not 'print your name here' off-the-shelf products. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but I had endless positive comments about the styling, and much prefer products that blend into normal life over ones that scream "look at me, I'm a mountain biker." That said, I would happily change the yellow of the jacket to grey or black.

Everything dries incredibly quickly and never seems to hold sweat or water, even directly out of the washing machine the items were borderline dry when cotton t-shirts came out wet. I have been wearing this kit since last winter – around 40 days worth of riding in all conditions and everything is in one piece, with no rips, pulls, or fading.

I rode with this setup in temperatures ranging from 3-4º C (37-39 F) up to around 30º C (86 F). Of course at the higher end of this scale, I was only wearing the Zip Jersey 3 and it was relatively cool and airy, although long-sleeves weren't ideal. I wouldn't want to wear this setup below the cooler end of this scale, when full winter gear is clearly needed. The three-piece setup works ideally from 8-24º C (46-25 F) in spring and autumn conditions; a ride where you might start on a frosty morning which quickly warms up when the sun hits, or a wet afternoon ride that may drop cool towards dusk. The layering system and packability of the jackets mean its easy to add or remove a layer and store it somewhere, the Wind Jacket is small enough to fit in most pockets.

The Hybrid Jacket was the most important product for me of the three, as it offers something that is hard to find from other brands. The insulated front panels really help to block chilly winds, especially if you end up on a fast road connection, but the lack of padding on the shoulders and back keep you at a well-regulated temperature even when wearing a pack. If you start to get too hot, opening the front zip pulls the insulation away from your body to cool down. The windproof jacket was helpful for fending off chills, puddle splashes and light showers, and if you need more heavyweight protection from the elements there is a fully waterproof 3Layer jacket in the same range.

Any negatives? The pockets on the back of the zip-jersey were next to useless for anything heavy, the button closure mean that you could lose small items, and the fabric is too flexible and stretchy to even keep a smartphone in place without bouncing around, but I did use this pocket to store the Wind Jacket ready for an emergency and it will take some light cereal bars comfortably. Pockets would also be handy in the Hybrid jacket, and something more useful in the Wind Jacket, too. The price is also a contentious issue, at nearly €380 for these three items it's some of the more expensive clothing on the MTB market.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Dainese AWA collection offers superb quality products that can be layered together to suit the majority of riding conditions. They cost more than your average MTB kit, but for those who desire a product that has more similarities to Rapha or Patagonia, these are worth a look. Paul Aston



45 Comments

  • + 60
 That's some ugly shi-ite right there
  • + 1
 The thought is probably to make it high visibility so you're easy to find if you have an accident descending. They still could have made it look waaay better than this though.
  • + 3
 On paper the AWA hybrid is exactly what I'm looking for right now but.....eeesh! Pity.
  • + 39
 looks like a......... condom
  • + 6
 Where mountain biking meets Rapha
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: I wonder if its lubricated? cos 110 bones for a pack'a'mack is definitely getting F'ed in the A
  • + 7
 @nojzilla: to be honest I am a bit sad because I always loved Dainese for being a company doing great stuff, both in terms of function and looks. Modern, classy, solid stuff. Even the moto clothing was just decent, you were paying more but it was a real deal. They were one of very few who made protection gear that didn’t look dorky. It looked pro to me. Those Oak knee guards with aluminium plate ughhh, they were sweet. But now they get more and more Enduro meh. And look what happens: they come out with Down Country collection...

Down Country, when you thoght that Enduro was like crossfit or lamer, now you get a mix of Pilates and Tabatha.
  • + 3
 with racing stripes for... her pleasure
  • + 12
 I only ride in Ralph Lauren gear, my wife rides in Prada. This is gear for peasants.
  • + 3
 Ralph Lauren? Is that the Brand that pretentious middle class people wear?
Im only riding in my Brunello Cucinelli cashmere gear....
  • + 1
 Hugo Boss boxer briefs for racing only
  • + 13
 rather be soaking than caught wearing that hideous looking AWA wind jacket
  • + 7
 Warning: spoilers in title
  • + 5
 Button pockets... forget ripping goggle tear off mid whip on a race run, 2019 is all about unbuttoning your stash pocket and popping a gilet on mid whip!
  • + 3
 I remember 20 years ago when jackets had the fit and breathability of garbage bags with shelves. Things have progressed....... I really like the idea of midsection insulation.
  • + 33
 Most people already have enough midsection insulation.
  • + 12
 They now have the look of a garbage bag.
  • + 3
 @colincolin: Thank God for IPA's
  • + 1
 A premium company and premium price tag that doesn’t list body or sleeve length in its size guide can stuff itself. Someone who cares about quality probably cares about fit. Or does Dainese really believe that the only variant between people of different size is their chest measurement?
  • + 1
 Dainese AWA Wind Jacket $109.99 USD / €99.90... for what appears to be not much more than a jacket made from plastic shopping bags! the kind of bags that you get nervous about if you so much as show the bag a tin of canned food, attempt to carry anything heftier than a bog roll, and it will give up and split.
It's only saving grace might be that if you bought one, you could pop it over your head and keep it there, in the hope of suffocation for being such a utter tit for buying it!
  • + 1
 Sick and tired of expensive apparel being pedalled (pun intended) to us normal Joe's and not fecking dentists. Bikes have gotten away with being so expensive due the endless credit / monthly payment facilities available. That however is not going to fly with apparel and these guys need to get a grip (not intended)!

Dakine is one brand who seems to give us good, high quality, nicely designed unfussy riding gear at a wholesome price.

The others, sort your shit out.
  • + 3
 When road cycling kit looks more like mountain biking kit... and mountain biking kit looks more like a window display in TopShop...
  • + 5
 Deflated puffer jacket...
  • + 2
 I used to like Dainese, but they need to hire some real Italians in the design department like Pininfarina, Lampredi, or even Bertone.
  • + 2
 "Let's put the model in front of a fun graffiti background! Ok, model, stand there like a mannequin with wet hands. Perfect!"
  • + 5
 Ewwww looks like shit
  • + 1
 Some more affordable mountain biking clothing! And I totally agree Not Good Looking stuff at all, model looks like a robot in the blue jacket...
  • + 2
 Now you can dress like a hipster roadie without dressing like a hipster roadie.
  • + 3
 Finally! Reviewed gear for the common ma...nevermind.
  • + 1
 I have PB price shell shock. Hard to even know what's expensive anymore.
  • + 4
 Ugly AF
  • + 1
 Apologies, Endura should also get the same accolade as Dakine. Keep up the good work.
  • + 1
 What has happened Dainese?
So you need too make some changes of anyone in charge of producing this crap
  • + 1
 This could be ugly but hey at least the price match it ...........with Louis Vuitton clothing prices.
  • + 1
 KWay are a much better jacket product and don’t look like an overused condom...
  • + 1
 High end, high price! All the same when it hits dirt, ripped and destroyed! DWR goes away after a couple of washes!
  • + 1
 Storage pocket at the neck??? Ummmm..... Oookkkaaayyy
  • + 1
 Good looking gear but 380€ is a lot. That’s like $500 Canadian Eek
  • + 1
 The fit doesn't look very good. They need a new pattern maker!
  • + 1
 Who designed it……………………….STEVIE WONDER??
  • + 1
 not cool and aerodynamic Smile
  • + 1
 Try xbionic. I'll never buy something else.
  • + 1
 Makes high end brand name and ends it in "ese."
  • + 1
 Daineezy fire yo

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