The Dainese HGL Pant is a great all-round set of mountain bike riding trousers that work well in a range of conditions, and packed with features to boot
Dainese is an Italian company better known for its arm and knee pads, but it also has a range of riding clobber, including this new HGL Pant.
It’s built from a lightweight Nylon fabric that has a little bit of stretch, so it moves with you, but Dainese also uses lots of interlocking panels to create a contoured fit, especially round the knee. I compare this to the difference between a four and eight-panel Lycra short; it’s more expensive, but the fit and resulting comfort is superior.
Dainese also tapers the leg to stop anything flapping into the chain, and creates a bit of slack in the knee, so you can easily squeeze a full knee pad underneath without it becoming too tight or pulling unevenly.
A lot of pants I test have Velcro waist adjusters, but Dainese has ditched those in favour of a custom Slide-Fit closure system. Essentially there’s a male and female part to this fastener – a circular tab pushes into an anchor point and then slides across. There are also two other positions, which offer a degree of fine tuning. Obviously, you can’t micro-tune the fit in the same way as Velcro, but with everything mounted on the front, there’s less bulk at the waist, and no Velcro to irritate your skin or snag your clothes in the wash.
I like a pocket on my trousers for car keys and a phone, and the HGL has full-size zipped hip pockets. I can get my hand in them easily, and the liner material is also soft touch, so shouldn’t damage a phone screen.
Other details include elasticated ankle cuffs, again to stop flapping, full-length zips on the calves, so you can actually get this pant on and off easily, and an integrated Hook Button on the back of the waist. This is compatible with Dainese gloves and allows you to clip them into place at the café stop, so you don’t lose them. To be honest it’s a bit of a non-feature because you can just as easily put your gloves in your pockets and, if the back of the trouser is covered in mud, I’d prefer to do that anyway.
The nylon material is windproof and also gets a full DWR (durable water repellent) treatment. Water did bead nicely on the surface, but with no taped seams, it’s not fully shielded from the elements.
For me the HGL really hits the riding sweet spot – a trouser that’s light enough for summer use but has enough protection for those early season rides where it’s a little bit colder, or the trails haven’t fully dried out.
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Like all Dainese gear, the quality is top drawer, but you do pay a little bit extra for it – the HGL is twice the price of an Endura MT500 pant for example. That said, it works well in a wide variety of conditions and is one of the best fitting trail pants I’ve tested – it’s snug in all the right places while also having excellent freedom of movement.