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Field Tested :: Dainese Riding Gear and AGV AX9 Helmet

Dainese has a well-deserved reputation for quality motorcycle apparel for all types of riding. I’ve seen the results of a friend sliding down the freeway at 60 mph in a Dainese jacket. Though shredded, the jacket didn’t wear through and the rider was unscathed. This review examines three garments and an AGV helmet (AGV is part of the Dainese organization) from the Italian company. While I didn’t assess crashworthiness, a wet Southern California winter did allow a thorough rain test.

Dainese Splugen 3L D-Dry Jacket

The Splugen is a handsome traveling jacket sewn from 600 Denier polyester oxford with separately wearable liners for wet and cold weather. Twin waist belts, four sleeve straps, and two elastic hem cords tailor the fit, and six exterior pockets hold plenty of cargo. Two on the chest zip closed, two lower pouches, and two at the back seat with Velcro. The jacket’s mesh lining harbors a waterproof pocket.

Dainese gave the Splugen excellent ventilation, starting with a full-length mesh vent behind the storm flap over the zipper and a novel neck vent at the nape. The arm vents and two “Uno Touch” chest ducts are also effective. The latter open with a single finger, but aren’t easily closed while riding. In addition, they let in air even when closed.

The Splugen’s two liners are a breathable D-Dry rain/wind blocker, and a thermal liner. While they kept me warm and dry, I was disappointed that neither is as suitable for wearing alone as other separate liners I’ve had. For example, the sleeves on the thermal liner are not insulated completely. Another design hiccup is the jacket collar’s limited adjustment range. Fortunately, it snaps out of the way if desired.

Dainese employs their Pro-Armor level 2 protectors in the Splugen’s shoulders and elbow-forearms. Light and flexible, the Pro-Armor remained comfortable over a wide range of temperatures. As equipped, the Splugen satisfies two standards, class A of EN 17902-3:2020 for impact abrasion protection and elbow/shoulder/knee/hip under EN 1621-1:2012. However, it also has sleeves for optional back and chest protection. I sourced the Dainese Pro-Shape G1 back protector ($63.00), which is nearly unnoticeable in use. Overall, the Splugen is a well-made, completely functional, and comfortable jacket with a few weaknesses. It is offered in two colors and 11 sizes.

Dainese Carve Master 3 Gore-Tex Pants

Dainese made use of several modern materials when creating their Carve Master 3 pants. Gore-Tex weatherproofing underlies a body of micro-nylon/elastomeric Mugello fabric, with abrasion-resistant Dainese 3D Stone nylon protecting the knees. The result is a functional, comfortable garment with a little stretch and ample zip-open space for donning boots. Velcro straps permit tailoring the fit around footwear.

The Carve Master 3s fit me well and allow several inches of Velcro waist adjustment should I want to tuck in a shirt or fill the empty hip armor pockets (I did). A zip-in thermal liner, which fits better inside my boots than outside, effectively defeats cold weather. Zippered leg vents offer comfort on warm days.

Although Dainese markets the Carve Masters for sport touring, I found them quite suitable for adventure touring as well. Removing the Level 2, Type B Pro-Armor knee pads provided plenty of room for my knee braces, even with the thermal liner in place. My only criticism is the small, zippered pockets, which are barely large enough for my wallet and pocketknife. Otherwise, these high-tech pants are a rock-solid, go-anywhere garment. One that kept me bone dry in a hard rain. Choose from 10 sizes and two designs.

Tempest 2 D-Dry Unisex Thermal Gloves

The Tempest 2 D-Dry gloves have everything I need in hand protection. Dainese crafts them from a 4-way synthetic material covers the palms with synthetic suede and adds genuine leather to the index fingertips. The latter are touch-screen sensitive. Meant for cold weather, the Tempest 2s have the same waterproof D-Dry lining as the Splugen jacket, plus a Fiberfill lining for warmth. Dainese protects knuckles with molded TPU Comfortech, and an elastic/Velcro strap cinches them at the wrists. Pre-curved fingers are the final touch to ensure a good grip on the bars and stave off hand fatigue.

The Tempests held their own in the rain, keeping my hands dry on an un-faired motorcycle. My hands were also warm until the temperature dropped to 50 degrees, wet or dry. Any colder, and my spoiled SoCal fingers wanted more insulation. To their credit, the Tempests took on temperatures into the mid-80s without toasting my hands. They are completely comfortable gloves that I reach for often. Sadly, they have been discontinued. However, Tempest 2 D-Dry short ($119.00), and long models ($139.00) are available, as is a women’s version ($139.00).

AGV AX9 Helmet


The AX9 is AGV’s adventure touring helmet. Constructed from carbon, fiberglass, and aramid fibers, it features a four-density EPS foam interior and meets both the DOT and the more stringent ECE22.06 helmet safety standards. The AX9 uses a classic double D-ring retention system. Inside is a soft, functional headspace to keep riders comfortable on long days on the road or trail. Wicking fabric lines the top and cheeks, while the neck roll resists water, to prevent drips down a rider’s nape. All liner parts are washable.

Two brow vents with corresponding rear exhaust ports provide good ventilation, aided by a large chin vent. All of this worked as designed over an 8-hour riding day both on and off the pavement in 85-degree weather. The PinLock-ready face shield provides a wide-open view of the road ahead and to the side. Removing it allows riding with goggles while detaching the large visor gives the AX9 a streetier look and feel. I experienced some visor vibration on both an un-faired dual-sport and my Ténéré 700 with its aftermarket windscreen. Your aerodynamics will vary. AGV offers the AX9 in six sizes, from XS to XXL, spread across three shell sizes.

$630.00 | Jacket

$520.00 | Pants

$770.00 | Helmet

Read more: Affordable Helmets

Images: Dainese, Arden Kysely

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Arden’s first motorcycle was a Yamaha Enduro, obtained while in high school. It set the stage for decades of off-pavement exploration on dual-sports and adventure bikes. Camping in the middle of nowhere became his favorite pursuit. As a former whitewater river guide and National Park Service seasonal employee, Arden believes in wilderness, wildlife, and being kind to the earth. A self-taught writer who barely passed English classes, he has contributed adventure stories and tested motorcycles and accessories for Rider Magazine and other outlets for nearly 30 years. In that time, he’s worn out two KLR 650s and is currently following the road to the middle of nowhere on his Ténéré 700 and an aging but reliable DR-Z 400S.