My motorcycle jackets just weren’t cut out for off-road duty, and you could tell. The two Alpinestars jackets in my closet—a GP Tech and Oscar—are great for track/canyon riding and for hopping from bar to bar. But they’re hot, heavy, and the GP Tech has too much armor to provide an adequate range of motion when riding technical trails. Dainese saw my predicament and sent me the brand’s latest D-Explorer 2 jacket. After some months testing it, the Italian has quickly become my go-to motorcycle jacket.
Dainese’s D-Explorer 2 is from the brand’s adventure lineup and comes in a snazzy red, white, and blue colorway. I’m a sucker for vibrant colors. It’s a textile jacket with a removable liner designed to keep you warm during colder months and cool during the summer and spring. Zippered expansion joints, as well as two chest sections provide even further cooling with mesh behind the zippers for air to pass through.
CE-rated armor is laid along the jacket’s forearms, shoulders, and spine to ensure your safety, and Trixior D-Tec engineered textile is laid over the armor so that the fabric doesn’t catch the pavement. It has a ton of pockets for all manner of necessary items, and Dainese used Gore-Tex fabric to keep it water resistant and dry when rolling through a thunderstorm.
My initial impression of the D-Explorer 2 upon pulling it out of the box was that it was heavy. The overall heft felt too substantial to make it an everyday riding jacket, let alone something you’d want to strap on for a trip around the globe. But after throwing it on, the weight sort of melted away. Wearing it distributes the weight unbelievably evenly. I won’t say you forget you have a jacket on, but it feels lightweight and airy.
Riding with it is great. After a few adjustments, it hugs your frame wonderfully. The jacket doesn’t feel too bulky nor too slim. At the start of my test, I felt as if it could take a hit and protect me pretty solidly. I didn’t think I’d test Dainese’s armor and build quality, but it’s me we’re talking about.
When shooting the Zero FX, my photographer asked me to do a slide for the camera. The first few sets were fine, but we both knew I could do a more aggressive slide. We placed the bike exactly where we wanted, and I gave him bigger and better slides. And then the inevitable happened. I gave it too much gas, lost the rear end, and low-sided, hitting the ground with my shoulder, hip, and ankle. While it wasn’t a hard hit—may have been going 10 mph max—the D-Explorer 2 shrugged it off. I can’t see any damage or even scuff marks from the fall. The armor did its job. I bounced back up and struck a pose.
It’s also super comfortable in hot weather. Even when the mercury skyrockets, I don’t feel uncomfortably warm or as if I’m sweating too much, and that’s with the expansion joints closed. With them open, it feels like I’m riding in a T-shirt. I also don’t feel too cold during some of the night rides I take.
My only complaint is with how the armor attaches to the inner jacket. It’s removable and Velcros in place, but when taking it on and off it can sometimes pull away from the jacket’s lining and make it super awkward to remove. It doesn’t affect the jacket’s performance; it’s more just an annoyance. A better solution would be for there to be a pocket that the armor slots into and Velcros in place. That way you’re not catching it all the time.
Let’s talk about the price. There’s no getting around that right now it’s $664, thanks to a sale from our friends at RevZilla. It usually retails for $829.95. That’s an expensive jacket, but when it comes to motorcycle gear—especially the gear that affects your longterm health, safety, and continued riding—I’m not put off by higher price tags. Based on my experience with Dainese’s D-Explorer 2 jacket and the fact that it’s become my EDC, the price is right for what you get.
For those looking for a new jacket they can tour with, go off-road, or just take on their daily ride and feel safe, secure, and keep out the elements, the D-Explorer would be an excellent addition to your closet. And it’s on sale right now. How could you pass it up?
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