Aerostich Roadcrafter Motorcycle Riding Suit Review
[This Aerostich Roadcrafter Motorcycle Riding Suit Review was originally published in the November 2008 issue of Rider magzine]
Some products, over time, become the standard by which others are judged. The Aerostich Roadcrafter Motorcycle Riding Suit is one such piece of technical riding gear. In my consumer-enthusiast years leading up to working at Rider, I read many reverent anecdotes and product reviews about the Aerostich suit, affectionately referred to as a ‘Stich. Wearing an Aerostich suit is like a secret handshake or thousand-yard stare, conveying tribal membership to sympathetic mile burners, adventure tourers and hardcore commuters. As a ‘Stich owner, I’m a believer, too.
Designed by Andy Goldfine, proprietor of Aerostich/Riderwear-house and organizer of Ride to Work Day, the Roadcrafter celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. With each passing year, the suit is further refined based on feedback from riders all over the world. The Roadcrafter envelopes the rider like a spacesuit. Constructed of waterproof and windproof 500-denier Cordura Gore-Tex fabric, the Roadcrafter provides a formidable shield against the elements. Thicker and heavier than many textile suits, staying cool can be a challenge in hot temperatures despite the underarm and back vents. For a more breezy ride you can partially unzip the sleeves, chest and inner legs, but doing so too much compromises crash protection. The Roadcrafter does not have a zip-in quilted liner; since it is designed to slip on easily over street clothes, layer with long underwear or fleece for additional warmth.
Although every textile suit trades some abrasion resistance for comfort and convenience, the Roadcrafter is well-constructed with 1050-denier ballistic nylon at the shoulders, elbows, forearms, knees and shins and TF3 armor pads at the shoulders, elbows and knees. I recommend buying the $70 optional full-length TF3 back pad, which helps protect kidneys, spine and coccyx areas. TF3, a visco-elastic foam that is lightweight and comfortable (it breaks in with use), provides high-tech protection. According to the Roadcrafter’s detailed owner’s guide, TF3’s “resiliency changes depending on the speed of impact, much like a hydraulic shock absorber. The faster the impact, the stiffer it becomes.” More TF3 at the forearms and knees, please.
Novel features abound on the Roadcrafter: hook-and-loop strips accommodate optional, removable left forearm and thigh map window pockets (I use the forearm pocket for earplugs, keys and gas receipts); side zippers provide access to street pants, which makes it easy to retrieve keys or a wallet; the ultrasuede collar lining is comfortable and wraps the neck fully to keep out wind and rain; and adjustable tabs and zippers fine-tune the suit’s fit. There is a wide strip of 3M Scotchlite reflective material across the back and down the legs, plus nine external pockets (the right chest pocket is large enough to hold a two-liter bottle of soda; the right forearm pocket is perfect for gas cards or toll-booth cash). One of the Roadcrafter’s most well-known features is the ease of ingress and egress. One zipper runs from the left inner ankle up to the throat, and another zipper runs from the right inner ankle to the crotch. The ‘Stich Hokey-Pokey goes like this: grab the Roadcrafter by the lapels as if engaging it in a fight, hop on your left leg while sliding your right leg in, zip down, do-si-do and shake it all about. This convenience, along with the other handy, protective, comfy features, means the Roadcrafter is often the suit of choice for motojournalists when many other gear options are within reach. That’s a solid endorsement if there ever was one.
The Roadcrafter comes in a wide range of suit and ballistic nylon colors that can be mixed and matched. Sizing accommodates almost any body type with short, regular and long options for suit sizes 36-52 (regular only for size 34); custom alterations and features are also available along with complete repair services. Standard machine washable, made in the U.S.A. and sold directly from Aerostich only. Prices are $797 for the one-piece suit (tested) and $847 for the two-piece suit, and worth every penny.
For more information contact Aerostich/Riderwearhouse Catalog, 8 S. 18th Avenue W., Duluth, Minnesota, 55806; (800) 222-1994; www.aerostich.com