In the early days of the Whistler Bike Park, you’d be hard pressed to find a rider NOT wearing Dainese’s protective gear. As the market for pads and protection got more competitive that dominant position slipped away, but Dainese came to Whistler in 2022 with the aim of re-taking a leadership role in mountain bike protection.
I checked out several items from their 2023 catalogue including a whole lineup of kneepads, pants, and head-to-toe protective gear for kids. I was stoked to see Dainese keeps evolving upon their Pro-Shape 2.0 padding, a highly breathable but protective concept that was inspired by the flexibility of human skin cells.
Dainese 2023 – kneepads:
Dainese’s most protective knee guard I checked out was the Rival Pro. In a high-speed crash sliding reduces the force of blunt impacts, so Dainese added a rigid metal cap to the Rival Pros. The cap, in fact, was derived from Dainese’s experience on Moto GP tracks, where sliding a knee is a cornering technique!
The small metal cap and surrounding padding has been dubbed Pro-Shape 2.0 Hybrid padding, which is highly flexible and leaves 45% of its surface area open for airflow. Very protective but designed for pedalling, these knees look like a great option for enduro racing or rougher terrain.
The Rival Pro knee guard is available in black only, with sizes ranging from XS-XL. They sell for $119.95.
Several years ago I tested the Trail Skins 2’s, and was quickly won over by their innovative, breathable Pro Armor padding. For 2022 this line lives on, and the Trail Skins Pro follow a similar design to earlier models… which is good, because I loved mine!
In addition to their updated Pro-Shape 2.0 kneecap padding, the Trail Skins Pros include thin, semi-rigid pads strategically positioned on the inside and outside of the knee area. Velcro straps and silicone grippers on both ends ensure a solid no-slip fit, and the inside of the knee joint was left open to prevent bunching.
The Trails Skins Pro come in black only, in sizes XS-XL. Their retail price is $94.95.
For riders who hate hot, bulky pads but need a decent level of protection, the Trail Skins Air could be a good choice. This pad offers the same Pro-Shape 2.0 knee padding as the above models, but skips on some other features to keep things slim and light. The Air model forgoes the Velcro hem straps and side padding seen on the Trail Skins Pro.
The Trails Skins Air are only sold in black, and come in sizes XS-XL. MSRP is $74.95.
Dainese designed the Trail Skins Lite with bikepacking in mind, and as the above photo shows, they can be rolled up (with their included straps) for compact storage. The Trail Skins Lite are a very thin, very flexible kneepad that offers a light level of protection. The padding inside is heavily cut-out like the Pro-Shape padding, but is much less rigid.
Your only color option is black, and sizes go from XS-XL. The Trail Skins Lite sell for $64.95.
Dainese’s clothing is divided into a few lines, and they offer riding pants in their HGR and HGL styles. The ‘R’ in HGR stands for ‘roughness’, so these pieces are the most durable options. Pictured above is the HGR Pant, which was designed with pedalling in mind. Their main fabric is a tough Nylon, but it offers four way stretch.
Both the HGR and HGL pants feature Dainese’s Slide-Fit closure system at the waist, a slim and trim design that forgoes bulky buckles and offers three sizing positions. The HGR Pant is available in black or sand colors, in sizes XS-XXL. MSRP is $179.95.
The ‘L’ in HGL means ‘light’, so of course they feature a lighter main fabric than the HGR pants. Compared to the HGR model, the HGL pant gets a more articulated cut around the knee, and the lower cuff features both a stretch panel and a zipped opening.
Men’s HGL pants come in XS-XXL sizes, with black or grey color choices. The HGL pant is also offered in a women’s model, with sizes from XS-XXL and black or taupe colors. They retail for $139.
Dainese’s pants and gloves feature their Hook Button system, so you can easily clip your gloves to the pants’ waistline for carrying convenience. During Crankworx, I did catch one rider walking around Whistler village with their gloves clipped to their pants!
Dainese is pretty stoked on offering head-to-toe kits for young riders, including protective gear that features the same technology as their adult models (not to mention size adjustability so your kid’s gear can grow with them). The helmet shown above is the new Scarabeo Linea 01, a lightweight full-face specifically designed for youth shredders. Dainese attained the highest international safety certifications for this helmet, and it is available with or without a MIPS liner.
Dainese’s sizing starts at 50-54cm; yes, that’s pretty much an adult XS size but apparently groms have big heads! To ensure a good fit, the Scarabeo Linea 01 comes with interchangeable thicker/thinner neck rolls and check pads. The helmet liner contains antibacterial bamboo, and is removable for washing. Dainese kept this helmet nice and light for young necks at 620g.
The Scarabeo Linea 01 MIPS comes in black only, but the non-MIPS model is sold in three colorways. The non-MIPS version sells for $179, and MIPS-equipped model retails at $219.
In addition to the Scarabeo Linea 01 helmet Dainese offers a complete line of clothing for young riders, plus upper body protectors (our model is wearing the Scarabeo Pro Tee), knee/elbow pads, and padded liner shorts.