Living with the Roadcrafter

Gear -

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Living with the Roadcrafter

As a motorcycle commuter, I spent almost all my money on gear in the quest for comfort, warmth and safety. When I first started commuting, I thought the Roadcrafter was a wildly overpriced eccentricity reserved for gray-bearded BMW riders. As I spent more and more time uncomfortable, cold and wet on my motorcycle, I started to wonder if maybe those guys on the BMWs were on to something. When my Roadcrafter finally showed up in the mail I could hardly contain my excitement, but there were many dissenters to my new theory that this suit is the one piece of gear every daily rider should own. Now, I’ve convinced the biggest critic of them all.

Turns out I’m not the only outsider. When you buy a Roadcrafter, it ships with a printout of an article written by Steven L. Thompson back in the 80s. He writes about being laughed at for wearing appropriate gear. First, after walking into a roadside tavern wearing leathers in 1967 and again at a D.C. motorcycle shop wearing an Aerostich. Thompson closes his piece by saying: “Most American riders today have the political and economic freedom for any kind of self-expression they wish. What they lack–still–is the social freedom for that self-expression. You don’t get that freedom by talking about it. You get it by exercising it, by ignoring the yahoos in the tavern, smiling at the waitress, sitting down in the booth and ordering your food. Do that long enough, and one day the yahoos are wearing what you wear.”

I gave up trying to tell everyone how cool this piece of gear was, and just started wearing it. I’ve been wearing my Roadcrafter nearly everyday since it showed up back in August. From trips to coffee shops and parties to learning the secrets of APRC to a 10 day, 3000 mile West coast Goldwing trip, the versatile Roadcrafter has kept me protected and comfortable.

A few days after I returned from my trip, I got a text from (Wes’s old roommate) Sean MacDonald: “How are you liking the Roadcrafter? It’s been getting cold in the AM and I’ve been thinking of trying to get one.” For a minute I thought hell may have frozen over. I figured the best course of action was probably just to give him mine for a few weeks. The result? Another text:

“We definitely aren’t quite the same size, but this suit is the jam.”

Photo by Sherman Thomas

Safety
I’ve already covered TF3 extensively here. With TF3 armor covering all your pointy parts (elbows, shoulders, knees), a massive back protector, TF5 (or SAS tech) hip protectors, and a TF4 chest protector (also helps keep you warm), it’s hard not to feel safe. The TF3 armor isn’t CE approved because of its shapes, but it provides more coverage than normal armor and it’s a lot more comfortable.

Armor handles impact protection and Cordura handles abrasion. You may think this fabric is outdated or in some way inferior, but it does the job, and actually stands up to abrasion on asphalt even better than Kevlar in real world tests.

Longevity
When I first started riding, I wore jeans and a beat up old leather jacket. I always wore a back protector underneath, but that was about it for armor. I used my bike to get to work everyday and it didn’t take long before better riding gear was all I could think about while I froze for 45 miles on the ride home each night. In my first year and a half of commuting, I think I spent more than $1,500 on riding gear. First was one-piece leathers, race boots and better gloves, next was a two-piece textile suit and waterproof boots. It was nice stuff to start with, but eventually fell apart with daily use. That’s not going to happen with the Roadcrafter.

Comfortable when you ride, comfortable when you get there
Step in, zip up, get on the bike and go. It’s as fast to put on as a jacket, but protects your legs too. I use the right fore-arm pocket to hold my gas card, and a silk scarf lives in the right chest pocket when I’m not wearing it. The small pocket on the left contains extra ear plugs and a quarter for swapping shields on my XR1R. The left thigh pocket is a good home for a garage door opener. The right chest pocket and the large thigh pockets are built hold lots of stuff. You can fit a dozen eggs in the long chest pocket, an FZR400 chain slider, or a pair of flip-flops.

When I first got my suit, the knee armor was too high and caused some binding, in addition to positioning my knee pucks too high. After a few rides, I decided this wouldn’t work so I sent Aerostich an email. They’d encountered this problem before and the fix was 2″ added above the knees. The suit fits great now and my pucks are in the perfect place. Riding in it is remarkably unremarkable. You’re in complete control of how much air gets into the suit and it never hinders your movement or causes you discomfort. Even if the weather suddenly changes by 20º, you simply adjust the vents and collar and continue riding.

And when you eventually arrive at your destination, the suit comes off just as fast as it goes on.

One size doesn’t fit all
I think everyone should own a Roadcrafter, but they’re somewhat complicated to buy. The Roadcrafter comes in four different varieties: one-piece, two-piece, lightweight or ultra lightweight. The first three are constructed of 500 Denier Cordura Gore-Tex (strong, waterproof synthetic fabric) with 1050 Denier Nylon ballistics (really strong and thick synthetic fabric) on the shoulder, elbow, forearm, knee, and shin. The ultra lightweight gives up the ballistics. They all have the same back and underarm vents, pockets everywhere and 3M Scotchlite reflective. TF pads are included in the one and two-piece suits and are a $100 option on the others.

Why opt out of reflectives and order the darkest colors possible? I lane split whenever there are cars around and I’d honestly rather not have drivers see me most of the time (for those other times, I use retina-searing HID lights). People freak out, swerve into other cars and generally give me dirty looks. The forward rotated torso and arms make things more comfortable on sportsbikes and the knee pucks let me ride as fast as I’d like without having to worry about chewing up a knee if I come in a little hot. A&G leather pucks are also the smoothest I’ve ever ridden with.

Will you opt for the black-ops special like I did? Probably not. Unless you’re a Southern California dwelling hooligan, there wouldn’t be much point. I use my unique situation as an example of both what can be achieved with Aerostich’s custom options and why you should consider the riding you will be doing before ordering. If I lived in Portland, I’d have probably opted for the Roadcrafter light with hi-viz ballistics. Where lane-splitting is an illegal and risky option for getting around town, you need drivers to see you. When it’s dark and raining, that’s even more important.

The Roadcrafter lightweight loses the inner liner to drop some weight, has trick magnetic collar clasps, and a helmet holder clip. Its lighter-weight shell is two-thirds as abrasion resistant as the original road crafter, but with the optional (for $100) armor its plenty safe. It also has its own special options: Chest pad velcro (I glued my own) and rain covers for your boots (think of them as a feety-pajama conversion kit). It’s available in any colors you want so long as they’re a combination of grey and hi-viz. $667

I chose the one-piece because I ride in all types of weather, go on long trips and because I wanted the suit to go on and off as fast as possible. Living in Los Angeles means I hit 70mph just about every time I get on a bike, so I like to have knee armor as well as chest and pack protectors. I also wanted custom options that are only available on the one or two-piece. My suit has no reflectives ($49, I know, it costs more money to get less), a forward rotated torso ($60, and only available on new suits), forward rotated arms ($85, also only available on new suits), knee pucks ($60 for the velcro, plus $49 for A&G leather pucks), TF4 chest protector ($75, doubles as extra insulation from the wind), competition back protector ($120, velcros in place, use the strap to keep the suit roled up when you get where you’re going) and stealthy black on black colors.

Yes, it’s a large, upfront expense, but I already spent that much looking for a silver bullet to no avail. The Roadcrafter isn’t perfect, but once I’m able to wrestle mine back from Sean MacDonald, I’m going to keep wearing it in any weather, every day for years and years to come.

Aerostich

  • Kirill

    I found myself wishing I had one while freezing my balls off on the Northern California coast back in August. Definitely getting one before I do another long trip.

  • Scott

    Sold, I have a nice jacket with armor and a zip in liner, nice gloves, even got the extra lip you put in a full face helmet to close the gap under your chin. None of this keeps you very warm on a cold night wearing jeans. Never realized what big heat sinks legs were and doubling up jeans on cold nights isn’t cutting it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

    Makes me miss mine.

    In the prior article, I mentioned the Teiz suits. I had an opportunity to see them in person and I’ll say this: their new Power Shell suit seems to be pretty damn good and they’re great about customization. I wouldn’t consider the cheaper suits to be serious Roadcrafter competition, but the Power Shell has merit.

    • Devin

      Thanks for the update man.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

        Ghazi at Teiz offered to let me borrow a suit as a test run, but I immediately ran into some health issues. So, I had to pass. He’s a great guy and was very flexible about my questions about customizing. Here’s what I can say from trying the Power Shell prototype on:

        - The material was stiff with significant layering over the main zipper. It bunched up at the zipper by my waist/crotch. That was uncomfortable and he suggested it would get better as the suit broke in. It was clearly brand new, so that’s possible. The weight and material felt solid. (I tried on a Lombard and the material difference was very noticeable.)

        - I’m not sure how 100% comparable the base suit is in versatility. The Roadcrafter is fairly waterproof. Not perfect, but mine did a great job shy of a serious storm. The Power Shell doesn’t have a waterproof lining outside of a few of the pockets. They advocate just getting an external rain suit as it works better for stopping rain and, without it, the suit flows more air. Similarly, there’s no thermal lining but one can be bought separately – and it’s very nice.

        - Where the Aerostich has a large back vent, the Power Shell has a large back pocket. I’m not sure how that would impact venting, but it seems less useful than the vent.

        - The prototype suit was grey, blue, and red. A bit too much going on. Thankfully, you can specify whatever colors you want.

        - I believe it comes with a Sas-Tec CE level 2 back protector included already, which is a nice savings.

        I’m definitely considering it and, hopefully when I’m riding regularly again, I can take him up on the demo offer. If you’re in the Dallas area, I recommend getting in touch with him. Very gracious guy.

  • JaySD

    I got a used one that is just a smidge tight on me but the price was right 140 bucks shipped. Troll the ADV rider forums if you just want to try one out.

    I will so buy my own custom fit one at some point but this works for now. I can’t believe how easy it goes on and off (once I figured out the left leg zips from ankle to crotch and not the other way)

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    I just picked up a Belstaff Trialmaster jacket for about $330 shipped from eBay. I wear it with a wool sweater, Icon chest protector, RevIt windcollar and Alpinestars Drystar gloves. Only complaint is that the gloves aren’t as warm as I expected-after riding, my hands are chilled like they would be after holding a cold beer. Not the safest choice but neither is riding a ’71 Triumph Tiger when it snows here in upstate NY…

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I think you’d be really surprised at the difference real riding gear makes.

      • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

        I bookmarked this article. will be looking at ADV Rider and eBay when the time comes…

    • Myles

      Pick up a pair of the thinnest “cold gear” Under Armor gloves and wear them under your a*. Changed my life.

      • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

        +1 for layers. I got some cheap fieldsheer liners for like $5 that do the trick down to about 45.

      • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

        I snapped up some silk glove liners from a ski/snowboard shop. Same idea, incredible difference.

    • http://www.TroyRank.com Troy R

      A spare battery and some gerbing stuff goes a long way. Especially the gloves. Super comfortable without being overly bulky and cumbersome.

  • ike6116

    You’re in LA.

    Froze?

    Please. It was 27 degrees this morning on my commute.

    East Coast Elitism aside, Ill be giving these guys a look.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Between the beach and Los Padres or the San Bernadino range, both on the outskirts of greater LA, elevation shifts ~5000ft. Heavy snow and ice? You betcha.

      • kashani

        +1 for Grant.

        I froze my ass off driving an NC35 from Vegas to LA a couple years back through the San Bernadino range. I put every bit of clothing I had with me on to keep from freezing. I was also snowed on going through the pass too. Ranks as one of my most fun least fun times.

    • Sean Smith

      Coming home from Santa Clarita to San Gabriel down the 210 freeway, it was pretty frequently in the 30′s. Factor in 100mph wind-chill that equates to something like 11º.

  • Adrian

    Grrrr. You just had to, didn’t you.
    I’m dying to get a one-piece — just absolutely not in the budget for a while.

    (Insert primal scream here)

    Good review, tho!

  • super20

    I love mine. 8 years and a couple of cross country trips later I still get funny looks when I walk into a roadhouse in WV to grab lunch but I’m too old to care. The suit has held up amazingly well. It’s going to get replaced this winter only because I ride a bike with a much more aggressive riding position now. The replacement? Another Roadcrafter with forward rotated sleeves and torso. I think Sean has sold me on knee picks as well.

  • Edward

    So my only complaint about this article is that the pictures, while nice, are a bit too….. arty. Like it’s nice to see close ups but I could also do with a straight up whole-body shot that’s not blurry.

    • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

      Arrostich has plenty of those on their site. I really appreciate the photo skills of everyone at HFL

      • DavidMG

        +1

    • Blaine

      It is a gear review. I would definitely like some informative and awesome pictures that follow any part of the story.

      • Sean Smith

        The Roadcrafter has looked the same for over 20 years, but we did do this shoot when I first got it. It’s linked in the article too.

    • FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
  • http://www.TroyRank.com Troy R

    I totally dig these and have been considering them. I found that touratech has a really similar competing suit. It’s quite a bit cheaper and I’m thinking about that. Right on the fence. All I know is that after 8 years of commuting everyday, I’m tired of the routine, and I’m tired of forgetting my rain gear.

    • Beale

      Touratech and cheaper are words rarely, if ever used together. What suit?

    • Mike

      Thats the thing I like the most about my combo of the ‘stich and Daytona goretex boots – don’t have to give a second thought if it rains, I’m already set.

  • Kevin

    The first HFL article on the Roadcrafter pushed me over the edge, finally. Initially I purchased the Roadcrafter jacket, but after commuting in NYC for 2 weeks, I now love this gear. I ordered the matching pants last night. I opted for the two piece for a bit more functionality, but they do zip together for the same effect as the 1 piece.

    Getting the perfect fit can take some time, but once you have it all set, how you like it to fit, it feels like a second skin.

    Now if I could only find a pair of gloves I love as much as this gear..

  • 10/10ths

    I’ve owned my one-piece Roadcrafter for six years. I commuted to work every day in it for four years before I changed careers and now no longer have to commute to work.

    I wear it for 95% of my riding. My Roadcrafter is my default riding suit. Your article pretty much covers it. The suit is a bargain when you realize it will last for at least a DECADE of daily use. The complete customization is epic.

    You have no excuse to not ride your bike every where, every day, in every kind of weather when you own one of these genius bits o’ kit.

    I live in Louisiana and ride from 110 degrees down to 30 degrees in this suit. Love it.

    • Scott-jay

      OK. Was your commute suburban stop ‘n go, grid-lock, free-way?
      I live in hot-humid climate, too. Its sometimes ‘get-damn-sweat-soaked-too hot’ in mesh gear & shorts on my suburban stop ‘n go commute.

  • zato1414

    I guess I will have to go for the safe and comfortable Road Crafter and add it to my collection of jackets and pants. It will work great for the Buell midnight ride home from work.

    The really important question is… will I look good when on the Softail?

    Really good write-up Sean, thanks.

    • Sean Smith

      Leave your gear at home and wear only a leather vest, fingerless gloves, jeans and engineer boots ;)

  • Ax

    My Roadcrafter (2-pc) just survived a deer strike in which I apparently landed on my face and left shoulder, then my left side, and skidded to a stop prone. The only noticeable damage to the suit was a hole in the right breast pocket where the buckle of my wallet was and some very minor tearing of the Velcro strip above the left knee. The suit no doubt kept me out of the hospital (and the helmet saved my life).

    • Michael

      Glad to hear.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      Wow. Glad to hear you’re fine. (Did you play the lottery afterwards?)

      • Ax

        Thanks, guys. Not exactly “fine” (broken pinkie, broken toe, possible broken hand, very sore knee, neck & shoulder) but, considering how much worse it could have been, yeah, I was incredibly lucky.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      holy crap, that must have been scary.

  • jason McCrash

    If only it was available in olive drab or something like the brown Falstaff jacket they sell.

    • Sean Smith

      Play around with the color picker. You might be surprised. Or, call/email and find out what’s possible.

      • ursus

        Lumberjack plaid?

        • jason McCrash

          I am built like a lumberjack and do live right next to Canada………. hmmmmmmm……..

          • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

            Awesome!

  • Mike

    Aerostich Darien pants are my most important piece of gear, aside from the helmet . Waterproof and easily zips over whatever I’m wearing. Does well in a crash, too, as I’ve found out. Heck, I’m wearing them right now, since it’s a little chilly out after getting home.
    I didnt splash out for the complete suit for 2 reasons – fashion and expense. The pants were 300something and my leather jacket was doing the job ok. However if I was a true bad weather biker, the full suit would be the way to go, no question.
    Aerostich has an excellent rep for repair and customer service too, so when you F up the snaps or whatever, theyre super about taking care of business. Three thumbs up.

  • jonoabq

    I’ve had a grey/black two piece for years, love it. With the two piece and the bib/suspender zip on attachment you can wear the pants with your favorite leather jacket as well, which I often find myself doing in the spring and fall when rain is not in the forecast. Love the stich except for the hot summer months when I’ll grab for the perforated leathers almost every time.

  • Steve

    Wow, apparently the kool-aid was spiked today.

    OK, the Roadcrafter is a fine piece of gear. But to make it out as the only serious piece of gear on the market is flat out ridiculous. I love that Andy Goldfine has built this business from the ground up on quality- but for new riders starting out, or riders on a budget, he’s simply out of the realm of possibility. I’ve been wearing Tourmaster jackets, Fieldsheer pants, Oxtar boots, First Gear and Olympia gloves and no name rain gear for 8yrs now, and they’ve done fine by me in year-round Ohio weather, even through a bone-headed crash a few years back. A savvy rider with some outdoors sense can do just fine for one helluva lot less dough than Aerostich charges for ALL of their gear. If you’ve got the money then by all means go for it- but don’t do your readership the disservice of suddenly presenting this gear as simply ‘the only serious choice.’ Because it is far, far from that.
    I’m one of those ‘gray-bearded 50-somethings’ you mention, and I’m here to tell you, we’re not all led by the nose to this kool-aid trough. I ride hard and long, and while it would be lovely to have Aerostich gear, I’d rather spend the money on gas and tires, thank you very much.

    • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

      My gear all works fine but it takes so damned long to put on! My pants (with liner) is 5 zippers, a snap, and a hook. Either jacket is at least another zipper and snaps for the placket. Then earplugs, helmet, gloves. Quite an ordeal.

      Two zippers sounds pretty nice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

      Steve, I don’t see any quote in the article that claims the Roadcrafter is ‘the only serious choice.’ I didn’t see anything even calling it a ‘serious’ choice or ‘only’ choice. So, I’m not totally clear on what offended you.

      The Roadcrafter is a fantastic piece of gear with better materials and build quality than a lot of what’s on the market. It’s easy, versatile, and can be highly customized to a rider’s preference. For some riders, it’s ideal. All of that can be true, not crazy kool-aid, without saying all other gear is crap.

    • Sean Smith

      Sorry, I didn’t say that. I’ve got other gear too. Aerostich is obviously not the only choice; do a search for gear on HFL and quite a few options will pop up. Try that search on google and you’ll find that nearly anything you can dream up is already being produced somewhere.

      The point of this review is that even for a broke 19 year old mechanic, the Roadcrafter makes a whole lot of sense. If I’d known how well they work when I first started doing a steady 500 miles per week of commuting, I’d have saved up and bought one rather than spending more money on gear that ultimately didn’t last very long or keep my very dry and comfortable.

  • 10/10ths

    This “Kool-aid” stuff is hilarious, Steve, if you don’t want to own a Roadcrafter and don’t see the value, fine, but to say we’ve been duped by some sort of great marketing is insulting. “Led by the nose..” Really?

    Phsst, please!

    The ‘stich gear works great, lasts forever, can be custom fit to your body shape and size, saves your skin, keeps you warm or cool, carries your stuff, and is easy on and off in a flash–what’s not to like?

    You will save more money buying a quality piece once, than buying lesser alternatives over and over and over.

    Spread the cost of an Aerostich suit over ten years and it’s a steal.

    Cheers.

  • http://www.ninja250blog.com R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

    And it’s American-made! (At least the standard stuff. The lightweight/ultralight Roadcrafters are imported.)

    • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

      That is one thing that disapointed me when I received my Cortech (Tourmaster) boots recently. They are made in Pakistan.

      I know it’s now a global economy etc… but Pakistan is run by assholes. Given the choice, I’d select a product made in the U.S, Europe, Japan etc.

  • mathew

    How does it stand up to the heat? I commute/live in LA too. I bought the Motoport Kevlar mesh suit with a liner thinking the Roadcrafter would be too hot when the temp gets above 85F.

    • http://www.ninja250blog.com R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

      If you’re on the bike and moving, 85 isn’t a problem. But if you’re off the bike and walking around, or sitting in traffic, 85 is pretty damn hot.

      • Mike

        What he said.
        I recall gassing up somewhere on Sunset in the middle of summer & I get the ‘Lemme ask you a question – isn’t it hot in all that..stuff?’ Only when I’m standing here talking to you , Bub.

      • mathew

        I ride 90% surface streets. I try to keep it under 50mph.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Why?

          • mathew

            I’m saying 50 in a 35, not 50 on the 5-freeway.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

      I found it good to go for commuting in Texas. Once temps go above 100, zip the vents closed.

      Sitting totally still for long periods wouldn’t be great, particularly in a blacked out model, and I wouldn’t want to wear it for extended periods off the bike. On the bike, all good.

      • Barry

        You must be constantly moving if you find it agreeable for commuting in Texas. I live in Austin, and my comment to most people about my ‘stich is: “It isn’t warm, but it sure gets hot”. I love mine, but it’s all about layering to stay warm in it. And if you have any stop and go traffic between about May and October, it’s totally unwearable. That said, it’s still better than the mesh Teiz I bought. It’s a sad ripoff of the stich, and just doesn’t work as well. A friend picked up the mesh Motoport suit, and it looks like it’s the real deal. On long desert trips, you can fill the pockets with ice on a stich, and still be dry. The water helps keep you cool. I haven’t tried my stich with a Veskimo cooling system yet, but I know it works brilliantly under my leathers.

    • wwalkersd

      The other respondents are apparently more heat-tolerant than I am. I have a Roadcrafter, but I rarely use it. There just isn’t enough ventilation for me when it’s hot, yet the fabric seems to flow too much air when it’s cold out. I think I’d like it a lot better if it had some chest and sleeve vents. The underarm vents just don’t get any air for me.

      I do like the easy on-and-off, and it’s my default suit for when I’m working on my bike and need to take a test ride for that reason. I don’t commute, so maybe I’m not the ideal customer.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

        Have you tried lowering the main/chest zip a few inches? I sometimes did that and it definitely helped.

  • jonoabq

    a stich (if worn) is still way cheaper than skin grafts.

  • Kahlil

    What boots was he wearing? It’s seen on the third and fourth picture of the gallery!? Anyone know?

    • Sean Smith

      Those are the new Icon Reign boots and they’re 100% awesome. Look for a review on them in the very near future. $160, amazingly comfortable, no visible logos, and easy to hide under jeans.

      • Tommy

        From one skinny jean wearin dude to another I gotta ask, they really fit under your pants well?

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Yeah, I hate to say it, but they’re actually really nice.

          • Tommy

            hate to say it cause its icon? haha.

        • Sean Smith

          Under Levi’s 511 skinny jeans no less. And when they’re under there, there are absolutely no visible logos, or even anything to give away the fact that they’re motorcycle boots with serious ankle and shin protection.

          • Tommy

            awesome. I’ll def take that into consideration.

  • Sébastien

    OMG, it’s probably the uggliest bike suit I’ve ever seen! Why those guys can’t make it a bit sexy?

    • wwalkersd

      Because it’s made to fit over your street clothes.

    • Sean Smith

      I actually consider the Roadcrafter to be the sexiest piece of riding gear I own. Here’s why:

      A custom built one-piece leather racing suit is pretty sexy. Just ask Wes about his Icon. They fit like a second skin, they’re high-tech, and scuffed pucks prove to anyone who cares that you’ve got skills. But when you squeak into a bar in leathers and race boots, the cute girls look at you the same way they would if you walked in wearing baseball gear, covered in mud, dirt, blood and sweat.

      And that’s because leathers actually are athletic gear. They’re not something you can easily change out of, walking in them is embarrassing (ever heard the phrase “smuggling plums?”) and they’re not appropriate for anything but the track or canyons.

      Weren’t talking about racing leathers sexy? How about a perfectly broken in Vanson, Iron Heart jeans and big black boots. Just for fun, lets assume you’ve got on a well-fitted vintage flannel too.

      How could a few acres of armored cordura possibly beat the all-time classic riding outfit? Showing up to the bar shivering cold, smelling of road grime and with bird shit caked on your shoulder is not sexy. Whether you’re dressed that way because you’re trying to be cool, or because you don’t know any better, it’s obvious that you’re not prepared for riding a motorcycle.

      When you show up in a Roadcrafter though, you walk in wearing clean, warm, fashionable* clothes. You’re not wearing the suit because it took all of thirty seconds to zip it off and roll it up in the parking lot. Your friends who know you’re riding can see that you’re perfectly prepared and everyone else just sees a happy and confident person. That’s sexy.

      The only thing sexier than that is a set of well-worn leather knee pucks on your Roadcrafter. Think of it as having your cake and eating it too.

      *Subject to taste

  • Nik

    Nice. I was thinking about this a week or so ago and was wondering your thoughts. Every time I ride with my brother I’m jealous of his Roadcrafter, so easy to get on and off. Any plans to review their Combat Touring boots?

  • Robert

    I wear an Aerostich Transit, when ever I get on my VFR. I have owned the suit for three years and around twenty thousand miles, if it is worn out in ten years, I will not hesitate in buying another one. It is the nicest piece of gear I have ever owned.

  • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

    Great write up, and photos.

    I would love to believe that left knee puck got buffed down while on that tour-barge. When do we get a write up of that beast?

  • Devin

    How is the roadcraft for going to a restaurant? I’d want the one piece to commute into work with with my girl, but then if we wanted to go for dinner would we be stuck with these big snowsuits?

    Kind of leaning towards a two piece, but I love how easy a one piece goes on and stays warm. It doesn’t really get warm enough to overheat, cool temperatures is really the limiting factor.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

      They’re quick to remove, so you could stuff them on a separate chair or lock them onto the bike. I’d say a one piece suit is less of a hassle than wearing comparably two-piece gear.

    • kidchampion

      Devin, the one-piece is actually easier to exit than a 2-piece. You are stuck with one big snowsuit that is equal, or less, in size to 1 jacket and 1 pair of pants.

      I attended an airhead rally a few years ago and there was a guy that arrived in the wee hours of the AM. At 7AM, he was asleep on the ground aside his bike, in his ‘Stich, with a duffel as his pillow. I must say that is a great look for a 60-year-old man.

  • http://www.joelkvernmo.com/blog-2 JOEL

    My uncle gave me his nearly new Aerostich when I started commuting here in Seattle a year ago. I feel like an idiot when I’m standing around in it, but when I’m on the bike staying warm and dry and passing people wearing jeans in a downpour, they’re the idiots.

  • Rick

    I own a custom-sized 1-piece Aerostich Roadcrafter, and really wish it had some means for adjusting the upper arm’s fit- more contemporary suits and jackets (even Aerostich’s own Darien) use buttoned elastic straps or velcro tabs for snugging the sleeves and reducing tiresome wind flap.

    It’s a simple and very handy feature that Aerostich really should incorporate!

  • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub a hipster

    Now that you’ve outed me on here, I don’t feel so bad telling you in keeping your suit.

    You’d be surprised how much happier and more open to new things someone can be after getting someone like Wes Siler out of your personal space.

    The suit actually is pretty awesome. I wouldn’t hate a chance to the nice people whoade it as I have some design flaws i could bring up, but overall it’s kept my skinny ass warm on my morning commute. Yesterday it was 46 degrees when I rode to work and 86 when I road home and I was plenty comfortable in both.

  • Core

    Nice article.

    And as always the photo work is great. A bit artsy, but I guess that’s like adding spice to the dish, only makes it better, if done right.

  • Sam

    I admit to wanting one. Eventually I’ll pick up either a Roadcrafter or the Olympia Phantom. My housemate is going to check out the Phantom on Saturday and I’m going to tag a long. She originally wanted a ‘stich suit but the Phantom looks a lot better and is about half the price with lots of good reviews on ADVrider. Hopefully the damn thing will fit her. She had the hardest time finding gear that fits as most of the motorcycle industry hasn’t heard of a 6’5″ woman.

    • Brendan

      I’ve always wanted to date a woman who was taller than me…

      :p

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

      I think that folks who get the Phantom before experiencing the Roadcrafter have a far greater chance of satisfaction with it. I like Olympia gear, but the suits just don’t feel like they’re on the same level.

    • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

      Does the Phantom still only come in grey and neon yellow? That’s a big limitation.

  • Johndo

    I like the pictures, but it would be nice to actually see the suit well in some of the pictures :)

  • 10/10ths

    I ride to dinner all the time.

    Climb off bike, unzip one-piece in twenty seconds, roll up suit, put under arm and walk in.

    Or, use a small steel cable and a small padlock and set suit on seat and lock to bike.

    Simple.

  • AHA

    Roadcrafter has long been the top dog in the US but in Europe top quality, expensive textile suits seem a LOT more modern e.g. any suit from Rukka with GoreTex ProShell.
    They are lighter & slicker but it would be good to see some direct testing against the Aerostitch. Which are really warmer, drier, more protective and easier to live with, I wonder?

    • Sean Smith

      Rukka makes damn nice gear (just ask Grant) but they don’t make anything that’s designed to go on fast and work just as well for 10 as it does 1000 miles. Aerostich does make the Transit suit though, and it’s made from Goretex Pro-Shell leather, just like the Rukka Merlin. People seem to like it and it costs $1594, or nearly $2000 less than the $3500 Merlin. It’s not made in America, but it is made by an American company and stocked in Duluth by friendly people that can assist you with sizing and even a free exchange if you get the size wrong.

      • Jonny

        Sean, if you don’t mind me asking, what size are you and what size suit did you get? Aerostich look like they size for beefy ‘merkin mid-westerners, not malnourished teabags from across the pond…

        • Sean Smith

          I’m not any off the rack size. I ordered a 40L, and had 2″ added above the knees. I also had the torso tilted forward and the shoulders and arms altered for sportsbike riding. My best advice is to email Aerostich if you’re unsure of sizing, they’ve been making these things for a long time now and they’ll know how to get you fitted.

          • Jonny

            Thanks Sean…

  • 10/10ths

    So, here’s another “tired” argument against the ‘stich—”Not Modern, Old Tech.”

    When you lose your keys, and you search the house, and you find them under the sofa…do you keep looking for them?

    The “old tech” ‘stich works. Cordura works. The latest “super fabric” doesn’t actually improve the performance of the suit, it just costs more and looks cooler and sounds cooler.

    The beauty of the ‘stich is that you can put it on and take it off in thirty seconds, works in all weather and all temps, lasts a lifetime, can be custom fit to YOUR body, can be repaired after a crash, and when you get old and fat you can send it in and get it re-sized to fit your fat belly.

    And they are great folks who support riding a motorcycle every day, every where, for every need.

  • KLR_Pilot

    As Ax mentioned, I, too, had a deer strike at 60+mph wearing my ‘stitch. Actually, the deer jumped across the road, my bike went under it and the deer caught me in the chest peeling me off the bike backwards. After the 150 feet or so of sliding up the road, I pulled the dead deer out of the road, picked up the bike, inspected it for damage and rode home. I had a few broken bones (which I didn’t realize until the next morning when I couldn’t get out of bed and the adrenaline dump had subsided), but my ‘stitch was shredded. I, on the other hand, had no road rash to speak of. After contacting Aerostitch and sending photos of the damage to the Road Crafter, they told me it would be more expensive to repair than to buy a new one, which I did. After it arrived, I noticed on the invoice that Aerostitch had failed to charge me full price for the replacement (something on the order of a 90% discount). I called them to talk about the bill and was told that they were glad their gear did what it was supposed to, that I was alright and that I had replaced my ‘stitch with another one. That fact alone resulted in the sale of three additional Road Crafters to my riding buddies. A top-shef organization that will continue to receive my business.