In the early days of Whistler Bike Park, you would be hard-pressed to find a rider NOT wearing Dainese’s protective gear. As the market for pads and protection became more competitive, that dominant position faded, but Dainese came to Whistler in 2022 with the goal of reclaiming a leadership role in ATV protection.
I checked out several items from their 2023 catalog, including a whole range of knee pads, pants, and head-to-toe protective gear for kids. I was delighted to see Dainese continue to evolve on their Pro-Shape 2.0 padding, a highly breathable yet protective concept that was inspired by the flexibility of human skin cells.
Dainese 2023 – knee pads:
Dainese’s most protective knee brace I checked was the Rival Pro. In a crash at high speed, the slip reduces the force of blunt impacts, which is why Dainese added a rigid metal cap to the Rival Pros. The cap, in fact, comes from Dainese’s experience on Moto GP tracks, where sliding a knee is a cornering technique!
The small metal cap and surrounding padding have 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 pedaling, these knees seem like a great option for enduro racing or rougher terrain.
The Rival Pro knee pad is available in black only, with sizes ranging from XS to XL. They sell for $119.95.
Several years ago, I tested the Trail Skins 2 and was quickly won over by their innovative and breathable Pro Armor padding. For 2022, this line continues, and the Trail Skins Pro follow a similar design to previous models… which is good, because I loved mine!
Along with their updated Pro-Shape 2.0 patella padding, the Trail Skins Pros feature thin, semi-rigid pads strategically positioned inside and outside the knee area. Velcro straps and silicone grippers at both ends ensure a secure, non-slip fit, and the inside of the knee joint has been left open to prevent bunching.
The Trails Skins Pro are only available in black, 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 Air Skins might be a good choice. This pad offers the same Pro-Shape 2.0 knee padding as the models above, but skips 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.
Trails Skins Air are only sold in black and are available in sizes XS-XL. The MSRP is $74.95.
Dainese designed the Trail Skins Lite with bikepacking in mind, and as shown in the photo above, they can be rolled up (with their included straps) for compact storage. The Trail Skins Lite are very thin and very flexible knee pads that offer a light level of protection. The padding inside is heavily cut like the Pro-Shape padding, but is much less stiff.
Your only color option is black, and sizes range from XS to XL. The Trail Skins Lite retails for $64.95.
Dainese’s clothing is divided into a few lines and offers riding pants in their HGR and HGL styles. The “R” in HGR stands for “roughness”, so these parts are the most durable options. Pictured above is the HGR pants, which was designed with pedaling in mind. Their main fabric is a tough nylon, but it offers four-way stretch.
The HGR and HGL pants both feature Dainese’s Slide-Fit waist closure system, a slim and neat design that forgoes bulky buckles and offers three waist positions. The HGR pants are available in black or sand, in sizes XS-XXL. MSRP is $179.95.
The “L” in HGL stands for “lightweight”, so of course it has a lighter main fabric than the HGR pants. Compared to the HGR model, the HGL pant has a more articulated fit around the knee, and the lower cuff features both a stretch panel and a zip opening.
HGL men’s pants are available in sizes XS-XXL, with black or gray color choices. The HGL pants are also available in a women’s model, with sizes ranging from XS to XXL and in black or taupe colors. They sell for $139.
Dainese’s pants and gloves feature their Hook Button system, allowing you to easily attach your gloves to the waistband of the pants for added convenience. During Crankworx I caught a rider walking around Whistler Village with his gloves clipped to his pants!
Dainese is delighted to offer head-to-toe kits for young riders, including protective gear featuring the same technology as their adult models (not to mention size adjustment so that riding gear your child can grow with them). The helmet shown above is the new Scarabeo Linea 01, a lightweight full-face helmet specially designed for young riders. Dainese has obtained the highest international safety certifications for this helmet, and it is available with or without MIPS liner.
Dainese sizing starts at 50-54cm; yes, it’s about an adult size XS but apparently the groms have big heads! To ensure a proper fit, the Scarabeo Linea 01 comes with interchangeable thicker/thinner neck guards and control pads. The helmet liner contains antibacterial bamboo and is removable for washing. Dainese has kept this helmet nice and light for young necks at 620g.
The Scarabeo Linea 01 MIPS is only available in black, but the non-MIPS model is sold in three colorways. The non-MIPS version sells for $179 and the MIPS-equipped model sells for $219.
In addition to the Scarabeo Linea 01 helmet, Dainese offers a full line of clothing for young riders, as well as upper body protectors (our model wears the Scarabeo Pro Tee), knee/elbow pads and padded undershorts.