Aerostich: Two-Piece Roadcrafter Suit
The Roadcrafter riding suit basically created the high performance textile clothing category here in the US. Just open any popular motorcycle magazine and youll likely see more Aero suites than you care to.
I first met Andy Goldfine, the creator of the Aerostich suit, many years ago when he was first starting out. Now if you dont know Andy you need to understand that he used to be, and probably still is, obsessed with creating the best possible riding suite on planet Earth. (What other suit do you know of that comes with a complete owners manual?) His early success, in part, comes from the fact that he used to hound the magazine editors relentlessly until they agreed to try his suits. Once they tried one they were hooked, and one thing led to another.
His determination shows in the materials used in every suit. Not content with off the shelf materials, Andy chose to utilize a 500 denier Cordura shell material with a multi layer Gore-Tex laminate. This material is made exclusively for Aerostich and its pretty much waterproof yet breathable so there is no swamp cooler effect inside the suit. The knees, shoulders and elbows are covered with an even heavier, 1050 denier, ballistic type Cordura for added abrasion protection. Each of these areas contains generous portions of removable as well as replaceable TF2 body armor, an excellent padding that stiffens upon impact to spread the pressure over a wider area. The only way to provide better armor would be to place hard plastic covers over the padding, but this would be less comfortable for street use. The only drawback to the TF2 foam is that it can become stiff in colder temperatures.
One of the suits most notable features is the quick entry zipper system, with one zipper running the length of the pant and one shorter zipper on the opposite leg. The heavy duty plastic zippers used are first rate and should provide years of use.
The pant features Velcro adjustable leg cuffs, oversized pants type pockets hidden behind Velcro closing flaps as well as zippered entry pockets for getting at you jeans pockets. Theres also a large zippered pocket on the front of the right leg and reflective strips at the lower legs.
The jacket features extra long sleeves with an excellent cuff system. Just adjust the Velcro closure once then all you need to do is use the zippers from that point on. The tapered road-race type sleeves stay put and don't ride up your arms in heavy winds like with some nylon jackets a very good design.
The fold down ultrasuede lined collar is better than most yet doesnt close as tightly as wed like for Winter riding. (wed sure like to see an optional add-on cold weather collar for this suit). For Summer, the collar is wide and allows good air flow when used in conjunction with the venting.
Up front there's a large main zipper with a wide Velcro closing windflap. In back, theres a large and very visible strip of 3M Scotchlite material covering the large zippered back vent, and an elasticized waist panel with Velcro adjustable tabs. These tabs can be adjusted to your liking and then be forgotten.
There are so many pockets in the suit that it take some time to remember them all. Theres two Velcro closing main pockets with handwarmer pockets positioned behind them, a huge zippered upper pocket, a right side sleeve pocket, a left side chest pocket we just couldn't figure out, and a large interior lining pocket. The large chest pocket will become your best friend out on the open road though we'd like to see this pocket hold items more securely if the zipper is mistakenly left open (and it will happen). Like the pants, the jacket features a nylon interior lining.
The jacket and pant zip together by way of a large full-circumference zipper (greater suit integrity), or you can wear them separately by adding the optional bib pant converter ($43.00). Theres also the choice of adding an optional ellips ($20) which ads about 1 ½ inch of extra material at the jacket/pant junction for more comfortable forward bending perfect for the serious sportbike crouch. We would be remiss if we didn't mention the optional back pad ($67) which easily attaches to the jacket lining by way of Velcro. The excellent long pad covers your spine well and is made of thick padding backed with plastic. If you're going to purchase an Aerostich suit, we highly recommend adding this feature.
All in all, the uninsulated Roadcrafter suit would have to be classified as a medium weight suit. A bit too heavy to be a light weight suit, and far too light to be called a heavyweight. In use, this translates into a riding garment just perfect for cool to warm temperatures. When the mercury drops, however, youll need to start layering to stay warm. Under these conditions the suit works well but still cant match the warmth offered by layering under a heavy leather jacket who's thick leather itself acts as added insulation.
For layering purposes Aerostich offers fleece garments made of some of the best material weve ever experienced. Were not hot on fleece under garments for layering up top, but Aeros extremely comfortable fleece pants impressed us with their comfort and warmth. The key here is that your legs arent in a direct wind blast like your upper body. Ive been wearing one of Aerostiche's nylon and fleece Darian jacket liners for years, and its been nearly indestructible great stuff.
In hot temperatures you can comfortably wear shorts under the suit due to the excellent protection the shell provides. Combine this with opening the large side vents, wide back vent, and lowering the front zipper and youll move large amounts of air over your body the key to effective ventilation. Even this has its limits in really hot temperatures but the venting is quite effective. We also like the fact that the large side vents can be opened or closed while riding.
As for rain protection, we tested our suit head to head with El Niño! Our first lengthy trip was up the California coast just as this weather phenomenon set in. Half way up the coast we hit rain that just wouldnt stop. Up top I had on an Aerostich nylon/fleece jacket and a Girbings electric vest with heated sleeves. With this arrangement I stayed dry for the first two hours, longer than Aerostich claims.
The suit feels a little heavy and stiff when you first put it on, but once you sit on a bike the suit comes into its element. The more you ride with this suit, the more you like it. With its excellent armor, venting and many pockets it becomes your best riding companion. With a large collection of riding gear available, its always a question of what to wear before each ride. More times than not the Aerostich is the garment of choice because of its armor, venting, water resistance, and ample pocket space. If you make the choice to step up to an Aerostich suit youll find that it will fill your needs as well.
As for Andy, I think he's achieved his ultimate goal - the ultimate suit.
Ups Downs Excellent comfort Sleeve zippers still bind Excellent armor Collar could close tighter Good venting Armor in knees can bind Water resistance . Company will repair suits . Options available .
Product Score Card
|Aerostich: Two-Piece Roadcrafter Suit||US - Suggested Retail $397/$347|
|Quality of Materials||10|
|Overall Score (1-10)||9|
|(product comfort range) >|
|Armor||Elbow/Forearms, Shoulders (optional back pad)||Optional hip pads, knee sliders|
|Pockets||Too many to list here!||.|
|Reflective||3M Scotchlite on pant and jacket||Good reflective on jacket|
|Shell||500 denier Cordura with Gore-Tex laminate||Great stuff|
|Ventilation||2 large side vents, large back vent||.|
|Colors||Numerous color combinations|
|Sizes||34 - 50 (alterations to the standard suit are available - i.e. longer sleeves, cuffs, etc.)|
|Availability||Available directly from Aerostich|
|Warranty||2 years against defects in materials and workmanship|
|Pricing||Jacket $397, Pant $347 / One-piece suit $667|
|Pricing||Back pad $67, Fleece pant $60, Ellips $20|
Eight South 18th Ave. West
Deluth, Minnesota 55806-2148
218-722-1927 / Fax 218-720-3610
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