A Day With AGV And Dainese

Back in the ’hood, so to speak, for a look at the Italian apparel-maker’s latest riding gear and an overview of its future plans.

AGV/Dainese North America hosted the Bonnier Motorcycle Group this past week at its new Costa Mesa, California, headquarters, located nearly equidistant between the Pacific Ocean and its D-Store Orange County showroom. By chance, this same single-story building for seven years housed the Cycle World photo studio. Longtime staff photographer Jeff Allen was happy to be back on familiar turf.

While those offices looked pretty nice at that time, the multi-national AGV/Dainese staff headed by VP of Operations Roberto Sadowsky has decorated the place with a welcoming richness typical of many Italian companies, including three coffee makers! Capper, of course, is the delicious smell of freshly minted leather riding jackets and racing suits hanging in the large warehouse.

“Every day, we are reminded of the drive Mr. Dainese has always had with his baby, the company that carries his name,” Sadowsky said. “We have been growing in the United States, so it was time to step out of our D-Store, where we had our offices in the back. It’s a little thing, but it was strategically important to show who we are.”

Nicky Hayden crashed race suit

Dainese came to the US many years ago, opening a fancy store in New York City. The small staff soon realized Manhattan was too expensive and far away from the motorcycle industry. What began as a two-man operation on the East Coast now employs 30 people with three stores: D-Store Orange County, D-Store San Francisco, which opened in 2007, and the latest, D-Store Chicago. More retail operations are planned, Sadowsky says, but wholesale remains the main distribution channel.

Of course, the "heart" of the company is in Vicenza, Italy. "We try to replicate here a couple of cool ideas to remind us about our mother company and its R&D department, which is the biggest in the industry," Sadowsky said. "Our warehouse is very basic, unlike the one in Italy, which is state of the art. It's one of the best logistics centers, not only in the sporting-goods industry, but in every industry in the northeast of Italy."

Our meeting took place in the conference room, which doubles as a showroom. “You have seen the D-air, which is the latest of many innovations that the company had,” Sadowsky said. “We started with the knee slider, the back protector, the hump. Mr. Dainese and his crew have invented almost everything that you see in motorcycle racing.”

American Dainese riders display

D|air is a "very challenging project," Sadowsky said. "We are an apparel company. We are not Toyota or Honda. Our budgets are limited, so it's taking time." Dainese has worked closely with Ducati to wirelessly integrate sensors for its street-specific upper-torso airbag system into the latest Multistrada 1200 S D|air.

“Our core business is motorcycling,” Sadowsky concluded, “but we’re also pretty big in Europe in skiing and mountain biking. And we are now finally looking into expanding those two categories here. We will be hiring dedicated people for that part of the business.”

In the accompanying gallery, you’ll see photos of some of the new products in four categories—street leather, street textile, retro, and adventure-touring—to which BMG editors were treated. Look for reviews online and in print in the coming weeks.

Dainese North America.

Nicky Hayden crashed race suit.

American Dainese riders.

Numo Evo Stinger ($299.95)

Diesel Full-Jack Green Matte Black ($189.95)

Horizon Racer Green ($399.95)

Corsa Velocity Italy ($799.95)

AX-8 Evo Naked ($379.95)

Stripes Evo ($599.95)

D-Stormer D-Dry ($499.95)

Laguna Evo ($499.95)

Valeta GTX X-Trafit ($159.95)

Mig ($89.95)

D-System Evo D-Dry ($329.95)

TR-Course Out ($299.95)

Axial Pro In ($499.95)

Street Biker D-WP ($179.95)