The right gear can reduce the inherent risks involved with riding a motorcycle. The minimum motorcycle protection gear required by many states includes eye protection and a helmet, the latter being optional in some states. Even with both helmet and eye protection you’re still left quite vulnerable in a crash but also in day to day conditions such as cold, heat, rain, sun and wind.
Protection on a motorcycle comes down to barriers between you and the elements, cars around you in traffic and pavement in case of a crash.
A quality riding suit is a must-have barrier between you as a rider and everything above, below and beside you during the entire time that you’re riding. Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable moving objects on the road. It is our responsibility to take precautions to reduce the risks involved with riding. As I like to say, “I plan ahead for the crash and enjoy riding in the moment.”
About two years ago, I hung my old riding suit up in the closet. My previous suit was the “Chevy” of riding suits and was replaced with the Cadillac of suits. That’s the best way to describe the Aerostich Roadcrafter one-piece riding suit. The Roadcrafter has been around in similar shape and form for many years. The crew up in Duluth, Minnesota at the Rider Wearhouse put their personal pride into each stitch of these suits. That American pride shows.
The single best feature of the Roadcrafter one-piece is how quick and easy it is to put on and take off. Starting at the neck, a single zipper cinches the suite to your body as you pull it all the way down to your left ankle. That’s right, the zipper goes against the grain and starts at the top and zips down. It makes sense after you do it a few times. A second zipper closes the right leg. Simply step into the suit in your street cloths and within seconds you’re ready to straddle your steed.
My first suit was two pieces. It took a lot of time to put on both the jacket and pants. I found myself skipping the protection of the pants simply because they were too cumbersome and time consuming when you got on and off the bike. The one-piece suit forces me to wear the full protection neck to ankle.
The flexible TF3 pads located at the shoulders, elbows and knees provide safety and comfort. The unique TF3 pads are soft and supple to the touch when you’re just wearing the Roadcrafter suit. In an emergency, the pads stiffen up, supporting the joint and absorbing impact. Many products on the market are made of CE-approved pads, which are hard. The hardness wears through and they become uncomfortable in previous suits that I’ve worn. Let’s face it; if it isn’t comfortable you’re not going to wear it.
The 500 Denier Cordura fabric in the main sections of the suit and 1050 Denier Cordura in the shoulders, elbows and knees provide good abrasion resistance for the wearer. Aerostich stands behind their product so much that after a crash you can send the suit in to them to repair the damaged fabric. Try that with your Steven Tyler-like leather pants.
The GORE-TEX lining on the Aerostich Roadcrafter will keep you dry in light to moderate rains, depending on how long you’re riding in it. Hit a heavy storm and you’ll get wet. You’ll especially notice wetness in areas where water pools and along the zippers. I have personally found that the Roadcrafter keeps me dry 95 percent of the time. There were a few mid-west summer storms that soaked through. I doubt any gear outside of a latex applied directly to the skin would have kept me dry in those cases. There are riders that fault Aerostich for rain protection. I ride thousands of miles a year and I’m telling you that you’d be hard pressed to find better protection from the elements than the Roadcrafter or one of Aerostich’s other suits.
The single element that does impact me while wearing the ‘Stich is the sun. When the temperatures climb above 90 degrees Fahrenheit you cook inside the heavy protection of the suit. Any suit with more than a mesh fabric will make you toasty at those temperatures. Open the armpit and back vents, douse your T-shirt with water and voila, motorcycle air conditioning.
Storage is worth a pretty penny on a motorcycle. The Roadcrafter offers ample storage capacity with six closable pockets, two hand pockets (similar to everyday pants pockets) and easy access to your pants pockets. The large zippered pocket on the right side of the torso allows easy access to contents such as a map with your right hand remaining on the throttle the entire time. Beware, this pocket tends to get used the most and you can lose some valuable belongings if it doesn’t get zipped closed.
It seems that Aerostich has recently changed the cut pattern on the suits. The new design has a little extra length in the neck flap that fully closes the smooth ultrasuede collar. This is nice for extra breathing room and also for adding layers when the temperatures begin to dip.
The original classic design of the Aerostich Roadcrafter is like that of the iPhone. Many impersonators, but no real competition. With a list price of $800, it is easier to find a more affordable suit. You’d be hard pressed to find a better suit at twice that amount.
On a final note, I often use Aerostich as an example of a company that really takes care of their customers. The personal customer service that I have received from the Duluth crew is absolutely top notch and quick.