It’s something the majority of us riders use every time we swing a leg over a bike: A riding jacket. I know for me personally riding without some kind of armored coat feels almost like I’m naked. Next to my helmet it’s one of the things I really put a lot of time and research into before buying as it’s a daily accessory and has already saved a great deal of my skin and bones throughout my motorcycling career. And with prices not always being cheap, having multiple options sometimes isn’t an option. That’s why getting something high quality with proper fit is a must.
For a couple years now I’ve been using the same jacket day-in and day-out, and, well, it’s getting downright beat up. But since it was something I loved so much and it fit so perfectly, giving it up wasn’t easy. That was until Dainese’s Gran Premio jacket showed up at the office. The retro styling caught my eye right away and after trying on the Euro size 48 they sent I knew my trusty ol’ girl Betsy could possibly be put out to pasture. But not so fast. It still had to pass the daily-commute and long-distance riding tests, an area many others have tried and failed. I’m quite picky.
The jacket’s first-rate build quality is noticeable just lifting it off the hanger, as the thick leather and removable thermal liner feature the utmost quality and the double-stitching in several key areas shows an attention to detail as well as emphasis on safety. And speaking of safety, removable CE-approved and figure-molded armor is featured in the elbows and shoulders with an opening in the back for the addition of a hard back protector, which is sold as an accessory.
After hundreds of miles in the saddle the Dainese Gran Premio only continues to get more comfortable.
Stretch panels throughout the inner arms as well as Velcro straps at the waist allow for a range of fitment, though the adjustability is limited so we recommend you go somewhere to try the jacket on first to assure proper sizing. Once the right size is attained, though, the Gran Premio is extremely comfortable, especially as the leather gets broken in after a few long rides. I’ve worn it for hundreds of miles now and it only continues to soften up and become more form-fitting. As a result it passed the daily-commute and long-distance tests with flying colors.
Ventilation wise it features some perforation along the sides of the jacket under the armpits, which does well to expel air and keep it from ballooning up at speed on the freeway. That said it does very little in the way of actual cooling, as there are no forward-facing zipper-type vents or front ventilation holes. In mild-to-moderate temperatures this is nice, keeping one warm on chilly morning commutes to the office or canyon road jaunts, but in the heat of the California summer it’s just plain too hot. We would have liked at least some front zipper vents for when you get stuck on a hot ride, but one can’t have everything, and with the heat we get here in Cali anything short of a fully-vented coat can be downright miserable.
However, in the winter months and part of spring/fall the jacket is perfectly suited to SoCal’s climate, as it also features a removable thermal liner, so even some very frigid temps can be dispatched with ease and comfort.
With all of the aforementioned features and its amazing build-quality, plus perfect fit now that it’s broken in, the Dainese Gran Premio has officially become my new workhorse jacket. Sadly Betsy has officially been retired. I do opt for a full-vented jacket in the scorching summer months, but otherwise I continually find myself wearing this stylish retro-looking Italian protective gear more often than not.
I can see Betsy in the corner giving me the evil eye, but with the top-notch quality and near perfect fit it’s almost impossible not to reach for the new kid on the block. Not to mention Dainese prides themselves on being leaders in protection, something I value quite highly as I’ve had enough injuries and lost enough skin already.
At over 600 smackers the Dainese Grand Premio is far from cheap, but as they say, most of the time you get what you pay for. Case in point. Want retro-stylish looks and comfort to match, not to mention first-rate protection? Look no further. That is, if you’ve got the cash.
Product: Dainese Gran Premio Pelle Jacket
Color Options: Red/White/Black, Silver/White/Black, Blue/Black, Red/Black, Solid Black
Buy it Now: Dainese