20 years/20 questions - Dainese
Dainese take the hotseat
TO CELEBRATE THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF DIRT WE’RE SPEAKING TO THE BRANDS AND RIDERS THAT HAVE SUPPORTED US THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. WE’LL BE ASKING 20 QUESTIONS ON THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY IN THE KNOW. CHECK OUT OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY BOOK THAT’S AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER HERE.
Dainese have been protecting two-wheeled racers for years and have enjoyed success in downhill from the vintage age of Chausson and Vouilloz through to modern day legends-in-the-making like Danny Hart.
We grabbed Giovanni Fogal, product manager, to get his thoughts on mountain biking past, present and future.
20 Questions - Dianese
What achievement of the company are you most proud of?
Being the original pioneers in cycling body protective gear and having one of the richest histories in two-wheeled racing
What has been you biggest product development?
We’ve been innovators since the company’s inception in 1972, introducing countless technologies and features, many of which are now industry’s standards. In the last 15 years many efforts and resources have been employed in the development of D-air®, the intelligent protection based on air bag technology that is now well established in motorcycling and recently introduced in ski racing. Maybe cycling will be the next one?
What was the brand working on 20 years ago?
In 1996 our protective systems were becoming industry standards and world class athletes like Nico Vouilloz, Ann Caro Chausson, Cedric Gracia and many more were taking countless podiums wearing our gear.
What is the direction of the company setting up for the next 20 years?
Dainese has a strong mission to advocate and deliver safety to people exposed to traumatic injuries in dynamic sports. This will not change. We imagine a near future in which the riders will no longer have to choose between protection and comfort and they will be fully protected by a thin layer of air.
What influence has Dirt had on your company?
Dirt has always been a reference in the media/publishing realm, especially for their ability to depict and represent mtb as more of a sport, a true culture that must be understood by industries professionals.
What has been the biggest lesson the company has learnt in the industry?
Progression. Our brand is involved in many dynamic sports and I have to say the way the boundaries have been pushed further by both athletes and engineers in 20 years I hardly see it elsewhere.
What do you dislike about working in the bike industry?
Working on something I love from behind a desk rather than in the saddle! ;-)
Give us a story from your wildest moment in mountain biking?
Hitting the cliff drop in Black Rock Oregon after positive peer pressure from freeride legend Paul Bas and photographer Tim Zimmerman. At the time I had literally just finished my internship with Dainese and I was just meant to supervise a photo shoot.
Your favourite or most memorable Dirt Cover?
First issue of Dirt France in 2014. An up and coming Lolo (Loic Bruni) was in the cover rocking our gear.
What would you like to see from Dirt over the next 20 years?
Keep fuelling our passion and engage more people to ride bikes.
How were you first introduced to Dirt?
For my 15th birthday my sister gave me a yearly subscription. She lived in London at the time and it was impossible to find printed copies in Italy. I still have all those issues.
Press releases or journalism?
Journalism. People are looking for compelling content, hearing opinions so they can start enriching discussions, not just reading statements.
Who have been your favourite riders of the past 20 years?
Paola Pezzo, Nico Vouilloz, Steave Peat, the Fro Riders.
What Rider has most pushed the boundaries over the past 20years?
If I see what riders like Semenuk or Macaskill do these days, it’s pretty insane.
What has been your favourite or most memorable race?
This year Danny Hart’s winning World Champ run in Val di Sole. Our team was there and we held our breath from top to bottom. Stepping with Danny on the top of the highest box after 14 years (last time it had been with Nico Vouilloz) meant a lot for us.
What does the next 20 years bring for Mountain biking?
I can say what Dainese will bring: solutions that will support the progression of the sport by keeping riders safe and confident and enhance their athleticism at the same time. And I dream of a less MX inspired gear aesthetic for DH athletes, a true identity has to be built.
What’s your opinion on E-Bikes?
We can’t deny they are probably the current most important driver of economic growth in the bicycle industry. But it needs to be more than a fad. The sport will benefit only if e-bikes will become a way to engage effectively with those people who will become the next generation of bike enthusiast.
What life lessons has Mountain biking taught you?
Practice makes rider perfect. I evidently don’t practice enough.
What’s been the most questionable thing to come out of Mountain biking
Probably way too many incompatible standards
Who doesn’t get the credit they deserve in the industry?
Product developers and engineers. They are in the labs behind the stage blending science, technology and expertise so we get the best and enjoyable experience on the trail.