Product review: Dainese Air Crono mesh jacket
This is an entry-level jacket from Dainese that sits just one level above the bare bones, Air Flux D1. I've been using it daily for six months now and here's what I think.
What is it?
A majority of the Air Crono's construction is a durable feeling mesh material that spans across the entire chest and back as well as a couple of stretches down the side of the arms that faces the wind. Essentially most of wind facing surfaces are built in ventilating mesh. The rest of the jacket is held together by a material Dainese calls Boomerang fabric. It feels soft to the touch, light and fairly durable.
The entire front and back are large mesh panels, encouraging air flow
The inside is bare-bones. This is a strict summer jacket, and there are no rain or warm liners provided. The insides are lined by a soft perforated material that feels great on the skin, if you're wearing it over a T-shirt. A YKK zipper closes the jacket, and there are two velcro flaps: one at the collar and one at the base of the zipper to keep things secured.
The collar is perfectly sized and closes via velcro
The base of the sleeves have the word Dainese embroidered into white thread, and the back gets a great looking fabric patch with the Dainese demon symbol embroidered into the mesh, again in white.
The mesh panels are held together by what Dainese calls Boomerang fabric
This particular colour scheme is the black/tarmac/dark gull grey combination that uses a nice dark olive drab colour with some grey elements and small red detailing on the sleeves. It's unusual but tasteful. If you'd like something more traditional, there's also the black/black/dark gull grey scheme that is mostly black with dashes of dark grey. There's a small reflective strip on the back of the neck and a strip up the back of each sleeve.
Fit and adjustability
This Dainese fits snug and has a sporty cut. The sleeves have a nice pre-curve, and the wrists have a three-stage adjust via tough feeling button clasps. The waist can be adjusted via velcro bands on either side.
Snap-fit buttons adjust the wrist tightness. I find that the first position fits best
The fit is snug to the point that putting anything in either of the external side pockets will create a small bulge. There are no internal pockets, hinting at the sporty focus of this jacket. The jacket is also quite short at the waist, although it's a bit longer towards the back. This isn't really a problem and most wearers won't notice it. But being 6'1", I occasionally wish it were about an inch longer.
Waist adjusters fine-tune fit. The jacket sits so snug that putting anything in the pockets creates an unsightly bulge
Armour and protection
Armour consists of two sculpted shoulder protectors that stick to the jacket via two sticky velcro strips. The elbows are guarded by two long, well-shaped protectors that sit in their own pouch. The elbow protector extends almost all the way to the cuff which is great but getting it in and out of its zippered pocket is tedious. I just leave it in place, even when washing the jacket.
Sculpted shoulder protectors attach to the jacket via velcro and fit perfectly
Strangely, the back protector pocket ships empty, not even with a thin piece of foam. The Air Crono will accept Dainese's Wave protector certified to CE Level 1 (Rs 5,999) or the more advanced Manis back protector that complies with the higher CE Level 2 for impact absorbing capability (Rs 8,999). Velcro pockets in the side of the jacket will accept optional CE Level 2 chest protectors as well (Rs 4,999).
The back protector pocket ships empty. You'll have to buy an optional back protector
I, however, found a more affordable solution in the Alpinestars Nucleon back and chest protectors that both certify to CE Level 2 and fit quite well in the Dainese. Rs 6,250 for both!
Likes and dislikes
I really like the fit and look of the jacket. It's both aggressive and functional. The armour fits the body beautifully, and there's no fear of it moving out of position in an impact. The jacket is lightweight and flows air very well in our hot and humid conditions. Care is simple, and it dries quickly after the recommended hand wash.
The velcro on the collar extension tends to stick to the soft inner liner and slowly shreds the material when pulling it off. Simply exchanging the placements of the velcro would have solved this issue
I wish that it were more versatile. Being a sporty jacket, it doesn't have much in the way of stowage pockets, and a slightly longer cut would have been nice. A bigger irritant is that the hook side of the velcro on the collar has been stitched onto the collar extension. The problem is that it keeps getting stuck on the soft inner lining of the jacket when not in use and slowly shreds the material. If Dainese had just swapped the velcro sides, this wouldn't have been a problem. It's something I'm going to have to do now.
For Rs 17,999 in India at the Dainese store in Bengaluru, this jacket is far from cheap. I got lucky having got it for discount from the USA for about Rs 11,500. Still, it offers excellent quality, awesome fit and the cool factor of owning Dainese gear. Aside for a couple of minor niggles, it's a great jacket that delivers on the premium it commands.
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