(Santa Fe, NM – May 14, 2009) Italian protective gear manufacturer Dainese (Die-neh-zeh) has partnered with parts and accessories supplier BTI for exclusive distribution of its MTB product line to North American bike dealers for the 2009 season.

Dainese, which has been in business for nearly four decades, is arguably the leading designer and manufacturer of protective gear in the sport of motorcycling. The company has been a driving force in the development of safety standards and maintains several high profile racing sponsorships. Many people are surprised when they learn the breadth of Dainese's product development; name-check the company online and you’re likely to find a video of its innovative D-Air racing airbag in action or the space suit prototype they developed in collaboration with MIT for NASA’s upcoming Mars missions.

In the early nineties, Dainese became interested in the burgeoning world of downhill/freestyle MTB racing. The young sport shared many similarities with motocross, but there were important differences too. For mountain bikers, freedom of movement trumped other concerns. Dainese looked to nature for inspiration, taking design cues from the lobster’s carapace, the armadillo, and detailed studies of human geometry in motion. Dainese brazenly mixed carbon fiber, silicone, leather and advanced plastics in unexpected ways to achieve precisely the right amounts of elasticity in some areas and rigidity in others. Riders familiar with the evolution of Dainese’s freeride / downhill armor offer high praise for its light weight, superb fit and range of articulation.

When sponsored rider Nicolas Vouilloz won the World Downhill Cycling Championship in 1999, the manufacturer saw this as a measure of its success. Dainese's race program continues to be a fertile testing ground for the company's R&D, keeping them at the forefront of the sport's development. In the US, BTI and Dainese are sponsoring two Commencal-USA riders, Joanna Petterson and Erik Nelson, for the 2009 season. The company's human powered range has grown to include protective gear for snowboarding, skiing and water sports – a division which they call ‘No Impact’.

Dainese’s motorsport popularity has allowed them to open retail niche stores at sixteen locations worldwide. However for distribution of its bike-specific gear in the US, Dainese is turning to the experience of independent bike shops to reach potential new customers. The recent agreement with Bicycle Technologies International recognizes the distributor's extensive history with the downhill/ freeride category and its position as a top tier supplier for US bike dealers.

BTI’s 2009 wholesale offering of Dainese apparel and protective gear includes a selection of armor, gloves, hats, shorts and jerseys, approximately 95% of the manufacturer’s lineup. BTI’s collection of Dainese products can be viewed at www.bti-usa.com . Dainese products may be purchased retail through participating bike shops throughout North America.

Dainese’s global manufacturer website for motorsport, bike and other human powered activities is www.dainese.com