Aerostich Roadcrafter Motorcycle Riding Suit Review
Review by Troy Siahaan
[This Aerostich Roadcrafter Motorcycle Riding Suit Review was originally published in the February 2007 issue of Rider magazine]
These days the world of riding gear can be a confusing jungle. There are so many companies making everything from summer gloves to heated jackets it’s nearly impossible to figure out what to wear.
A while back I settled on a leather racing suit for everyday wear, even off the track. Partly because of a pre-Rider ignorance of other products, but also because I felt—in the event that I went down—that leather would protect my hide against road rash better than textile. And the stares I got from little kids who thought I was some kind of superhero called “Alpinestar” were priceless!
Now that I’ve been with the magazine for a few months, I’ve noticed that my cow suit has a few shortcomings. Leather racing suits are meant to fit tightly to your body, which means you can’t wear much underneath. Fine if you’re on a racetrack, not so much if you’re riding to the office. Also, leather doesn’t do well in the rain. Most importantly, the one-piece design of my suit made it a chore to go to the bathroom! A change needed to be made.
Enter the Aerostitch Roadcrafter motorcycle suit, a staple in the motojournalist’s wardrobe. Constructed of Cordura nylon with ballistic nylon reinforcements, both the one- and two-piece versions can be worn over street clothes. It’s available in 25 sizes including short, regular and long, and in a myriad of different color combinations. Little long in the torso? No problem. Gained a few extra pounds? Don’t worry. There’s probably something in Aerostich’s warehouse that will fit you. If not, supply Aerostich with your measurements and it will make one just for you.
I was lucky enough to fit into a Roadcrafter Aerostich had on hand, with only minor alterations. The original one-piece suit’s full-length entry zipper makes putting it on and taking it off a snap, and the first time I donned it I noticed that everything was exactly where I wanted it. With other suits I have had to remove the armor and adjust it to my liking. Not the Roadcrafter. Its armor is a viscoelastic padding that is spongelike to the touch but instantly becomes firm upon impact. The suit has these pads in the elbow, knee and shoulder areas, and I noticed that the padding conforms to my body for a comfortable fit while riding.
At first I was apprehensive about wearing a suit that wasn’t leather, but textile technology has made big strides. A Gore-Tex liner and special water-resistant outer treatment makes the Roadcrafter nearly waterproof, though it can leak a little through the leg zippers in an extended downpour. Other features include highly reflective striping on the back, front pockets and ankles. Underarm and back vents help keep you cool on those warmer days, although I would like to have lower body vents as well. And the suit features no less than 10 pockets in various sizes, with zippered access to your pants pockets, too. While the convenience of having that many pockets is nice, I always make sure not to load them with anything that might hurt in a fall. Optional features include an armored back pad, hip pads and clear map pockets that attach to either a leg or sleeve.
After I familiarized myself with all the nuances of the Roadcrafter, I wanted to know if it solved the shortcomings of my trusty leathers. Can I wear normal clothes underneath? Check. Can I wear it in the rain? Check. Is the suit easy to put on and take off when I need to answer nature’s call? Check! With a sweater underneath it’s good for just about any cold temperatures I care to go riding in. Near as I can tell, its only downsides are too much warmth for really hot weather and the suit doesn’t look especially trim worn off the bike, as it’s designed for riding.
The Roadcrafter is a well-made and well-thought-out suit for the masses who don’t mind paying for excellent protection for their everyday ride as well as touring and sport touring. And I still get admiring looks from kids, too. The suit retails for $727. Custom models will vary.