Let’s be blunt – if nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi uses it, it must be good.
His motorcycle apparel of choice? Dainese, an Italian company that’s been providing protection for riders since 1972. Their moto says it all: “Providing people with head-to-toe protection in dynamic sports.”
And one of the most dynamic sports is moto-racing, especially road racing, where the famed, almost alien-like Dainese can be observed on many of the top riders who sometimes hit the pavement at speeds around 200 mph.
Protection is crucial in this sport, and riders have to put their faith in established companies, such as the well-known Dainese. And like many well-known companies, the Dainese name grew from a history of pursing only the best in safety.
During this constant pursuit, the company has invented products such as the back protector and knee sliders, and developed existing products with the introduction of innovative technologies and materials. During this development, Dainese relies heavily on competition for their R&D.
Their D-Tec (Dainese Technology Center) technicians transfer the extreme experiences gained during races into a collection offering the most suitable product for all types of motorcyclists (racing, touring, city).
Because of this type of research, it was Dainese that introduced carbon fiber and Kevlar protections for gloves, boots and suits, a design that’s been copied by almost every name in the industry.
Over the years, motorcycle safety apparel has taken on many different forms, but Dainese’s current idea of safety means “protection, comfort and reliability, elements which are knowledgeably balanced to create products capable of effectively meeting the needs of different users.”
Dainese Historical Timeline
• Dainese is founded.
• First studies for design of the Dainese logo.
• The first products are leather pants for motocross, followed almost immediately by the first suits. Innovative design and the use of color mark a true revolution from the conventional style of motorcycle clothing.
• Elastic inserts are added to improve the comfort of suits.
• Dieter Braun is the first pilot officially sponsored by Dainese in MotoGP.
• Giacomo Agostini starts racing with Dainese.
• At the end of the 70s Barry Sheene starts collaborating with Dainese, introducing a new concept of protection: the back protector and composite protections.
• Driving style changes and Dainese test the first Knee Sliders, in collaboration with top riders. The first motorcycle gloves are produced.
• Kenny Roberts, the great “King Kenny” also known as “canary” for his yellow suit, wins the 500 cc World Championship three times with Dainese.
• Freddie Spencer wears the back protector for the first time and suffers no serious injuries during a bad accident at the Kyalami track.
• At the same time collaboration with the many-times champion Anton Mang begins, to test the new pre-modelled suits, which conform to the correct posture of the rider in the saddle.
• In the early 80s Dainese produces the “porcupine” Knee Sliders.
• Paris-Dakar: Dainese protects the drivers challenging the desert in this famous rally, with its route through the rocky environment of Tamanrasset, the sands of the Ténéré desert and the beaches of Dakar.
• In the mid-eighties protection takes another step forward with the introduction of the back protector: knee sliders take their definitive form.
• Toni Mang wins the Word Championship title in the 250 cc class with Dainese.
• Dainese develops the first generation of back protector in collaboration with designer Marc Sadler.
• Dainese produces its first motorcycle boots.
• The aerodynamic protective hump is introduced in professional suits.
• Eddie Lawson wins the World Championship title in the 500 cc class with Dainese.
• Philippe Perakis, one of the pioneers of downhill mountain biking, introduces Dainese motorcycle protections to the biking world.
• Dainese Safety Program (later renamed D-Tec) is inaugurated: in this R&D technology center engineers, technicians and physicians work together with the aim of developing increasingly high performance gear and equip it with technology, studying not only materials like leather, but also extending the range of action to other products such as helmets, gloves and boots.
• Kevin Schwantz wins the world championship title in the 500 cc class with Dainese.
• In the 90s Velcro is introduced to fasten knee sliders to the suit.
• Carl Fogarty wins 4 superbike world championships with Dainese.
• Dainese produces its first motorcycle helmet.
• Kristian Ghedina, Debora Compagnoni and the “Blue Avalanche” (Italian National Alpine Skiing Team) use Dainese back protectors for the first time during a World Championship competition. From now on all athletes in this sector will use the important back protector.
• Dainese starts to apply know-how acquired in the motorcycle sector to protect other sports, such as mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding: the No Impact Division is created.
• Max Biaggi wins 4 world titles in the 250 cc class and tests the Dainese Full Pro glove, with carbon fibre and Kevlar protections, for the first time.
• Kevlar-carbon fibre gloves save the hands of many motorcyclists.
• Boot- suit fastening system. The new boots and new Pro-tech suit have a new interior fastening system which improves protection against excessive twisting of the foot.
• Dainese presents the T-Age suit, which has some revolutionary innovations to improve comfort and level of protection (V-shaped front opening system, wider elastic inserts).
• Second generation back protectors are integrated in the Safety Jacket.
• Nicolas Vouilloz becomes world downhill champion: this is the first time that Dainese colours have reached the top of the podium in the most spectacular mountain bike discipline.
• In 2000 carbon and titanium protections are integrated in suits, while knee sliders are fastened to the knees by Velcro.
• The many times world champion and Olympic winner Lasse Kjus collaborates with Dainese in the development of the first ski helmets.
• Biaggi and Rossi follow in the footsteps of Lucchinelli and Agostini in 1976.
• Jacque is world champion in the 250 cc class with Dainese.
• Waldmann wins two world titles in Spain and England, wearing Dainese helmet, suit and gloves.
• Dainese unveils D-air®: this highly innovative system for the protection of motorcyclists is based on the totally new concept of air bag. The project is the outcome of long collaboration with an Israeli company specialized in the design of advanced technology systems: MERHAV APP Advanced Airbag Technology.
• The Procom system is introduced; this sophisticated instrument checks the effectiveness of new technological solutions devised to improve comfort in terms of temperature and humidity.
• Valentino Rossi, the rising star of MotoGP wears Dainese gear and uses the most innovative protective solutions for suit, gloves and special boots which limit twisting of the ankle in the event of a fall.
• Dainese confirms its interest in continuing to perform research for safety in dynamic sports with D-Mobile, the object of which is to provide motorcyclists with state-of-the-art solutions for protection and comfort developed together with great champions of the various disciplines. D-Mobile is the mobile version of Dainese’s R&D department, D-tec.
• Initial studies are carried out for a suit with elasticated inserts that conform to the rider’s movements.
• The integrated protection system is born.
• Wave, the 4th generation back protector, with integrated ventilation system is born.
• Valentino Rossi, the only rider in the world to have won titles in the 125, 250, 500 and MotoGP classes, wins the MotoGP World Championship.
• Dainese continues to collaborate with athletes and members of the Italian National Skiing Team: Giorgio Rocca, Karen Putzer, Lasse Kjus, Martina Ertl.
• With Valentino Rossi, Manuel Poggiali and Daniel Pedrosa, Dainese wins the World Championships in the 125, 250 and Moto GP classes.
• Dainese becomes “Safety Partner” for the Italian National Ski Team. Just as for motorcycling, the D-Mobile becomes a reference point for the safety of all athletes participating in the World Cup.
• Dainese launches the “Safety Research Project”: an in-depth study of rider-vehicle dynamics with Prof. Cossalter, of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Padua. The project is divided into two steps: the first is based on computerized simulation of the major situations that can cause accidents, while the second consists of providing motorcyclists with sensors that detect the human-vehicle dynamic parameters on motorcycles. Data acquired offer a fundamental input for development of the future D-air® and of the Procom project.
• Valentino goes down in history: he leaves Honda for Yamaha and wins his sixth World Championship with Dainese.
• Valentino becomes Dainese endorser for the company safety campaign.
• Dainese produces the “Sparks of Passion costumes for the opening ceremony of the 20th Winter Olympics in Turin; these express all the style, energy and passion for speed of the sporting spirit.
• Giorgio Rocca, wins the slalom in the 2006 World Cup with Dainese, and totals 5 victories in the 2006 season, placing Italy first in the World slalom classifications.
• 19/12/2006: during the stunt test organized on the Adria circuit, the D-air® racing airbag is activated on the track for the first time.
• The “I Dainese Me” campaign is launched with Valentino Rossi and Carolina Kostner to present Dainese’s brand values to the general public.
• Valentino Rossi achieved another landmark in motor cycling history when he notched up his eighth world title with Yamaha’s M1. At the same time, he continued to be actively involved in the development of Dainese’s new protective gear.
• Dainese became Official Safety Partner of the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, where it first collected data for the D-Air system with Guy Martin.
• Bouncing back from his nasty crash at Beaver Creek, Aksel Lund Svindal won the Overall World Cup and Super-G, going on to become Super-Combined World Champion at the Val d’Isère Championships.
• The Slalom World Cup went to Maria Reisch who also won the World Championship in the same discipline at Val d’Isère.
Dainese Current Riders
• Jorge Lorenzo
• Marco Simoncelli
• Valentino Rossi
• Stefan Bradl
• Yannick Guerra
• Simone Giorgi Grotzkyj
• Fonsi Nieto
• Marcel Schroetter
• Luca Vitali
• Lorenzo Salvadori
• Europe: Danilo Dell’Omo, Marco Borciani (Italy); Maxime Berger (France); Guy Martin (UK); Michael Ranseder (Austria); Joan Lascorz (Spain); Niklas Ajo (Finland)
• USA: Geoff May, Aaron Yates, Blake Young, Steve Rapp, Chris Ulrich, Martin Cardenas, James Rispoli, Tray Batey, John Jacobi, Steve Atlas, Mark Junge, Sammy Halbert