Go Aerostich, go black

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Near elbow down on The Snake. 3,000 miles on a Honda Goldwing. Alone in Death Valley on a 636lbs motorcycle. Through water, in town, in the cold, in the hot desert. “Looks like moderately armored Prada,” according to our buddy Alan. Now you too can dress like two-thirds of the HFL staff; Aerostich is adding a version of the Roadcrafter allegedly inspired by Sean’s custom suit to its catalog. The Aerostich Stealth Roadcrafter is black on black on black with a black logo.

Alan’s comment sums up the reason why you likely don’t own a Roadcrafter already. Essentially the perfect suit for any type of riding, it’s weighed down by an image that’s more fat and old than stylish and young. Our photos and the RideApart episodes were the first time Alan had ever seen one look good.

The thing with the Roadcrafter is that you could have been reaping its benefits all along. Every suit is available as a custom order, not only tailored to your measurements, but available with options like forward-rotated sleeves and patches for knee pucks, both of which facilitate the kind of sport riding you see here.

A bit skeptical due to the whole fat old man thing, I’ve been borrowing the Roadcrafter while Sean is injured. It’s totally won me over. I’ve worn it through all night rides with temps in the 30s to 90 degrees + in Death Valley and everything in between. It’s comfy, incredibly safe, works in any weather or temperature and is crazy easy to take on and off. In all black and tailored to our svelte dimensions, it looks damn good too. Don’t fool yourself, there is no alternative. If you can’t afford one, start saving. The Roadcrafter will make your riding safer, more comfortable and more convenient. Just remember that we did the all-black thing first.

Want one like Sean’s? His has 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.

  • BMW11GS

    I’ll be honest i’m 23 and have hideous blue and yellow aerostitch. I was real sensitive about the comments at first but then I realized how great it is and the level of respect I get from non-riders who see me as gearing up for “battle on the mean streets.” Now I don’t care what I look like on the bike because I can just take it off as soon as I get where I am going and no one has to be the wiser. The black one is an aspirational purchase though. Maybe when I get a new job…

  • markbvt

    I’d actually really like to get the Aerostich Transit leather suit. Pricey though…

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      This is more versatile and more convenient. Just as safe if not more so because it’s a one-piece. You could (ie the rules allow) do trackdays in this thing.

      • http://cynic13th.livejournal.com/ cynic

        I have done trackdays in mine… You do get some looks though, but going to the riders meetings in shorts and a t-shirt, while everyone else is sweating in half off leathers made it well worth it.

  • Paul

    A super useful suit that does the things you say and its a great company to deal with over the phone. But because its not as snug as a leather suit, the armor, while generous in size, moves around, especially on impact. I was wearing my roadcrafter last week when a taxi took me down on the FDR. Ive got 3 new screws in my elbow that I dont think would be there if I was wearing rukka merlin (which admittedly is really inconvenient to commute in). This is just one personal anecdote, but I pass it along.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Sorry to hear that. Custom tailoring is really important. Sean’s suit is nice and snug and doesn’t allow armor movement.

      Also, welcome to the metal club.

      • rvfrules

        Given that Aerostich is a mail-order company and custom-fitting isn’t an option for many of its customers they really should incorporate velcro tabs on the arms that can be cinched down for a custom fit. Wouldn’t be that hard.

    • dan

      Paul – one of our friends mentioned seeing some debris on the FDR but we couldn’t find anything about the accident. They said they saw a motorcycle boot on the road. Was that you? I ride the FD all the time, where did it occur? Glad you are okay.

      • Paul

        Hey Dan – a few bikes passed me while i was waiting for an ambulance. It was just past 53rd st. By the way the FDNY and the emergency room at NY Cornell could not have been better.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Ouch. Sorry to hear that Paul. And I’m glad to read the broken bones list is relatively short. You weren’t on the Jack Pine were you?

      • Paul

        Hey Grant – thanks. No I was on a Hyper SP, which was totaled. I broke a few toes as well, but all in all, feeling lucky.

        BTW, RideApart is really good. Take care.

        • Paul

          I’d like to update my comment. I was at my doctor this am and he said that it was more likely than not that the break I suffered was caused by the impact of my hand on the street smashing the radius up into the humerus. No suit can prevent that impact. I did also get a small hole in my roadcrafter suit right below the elbow pad and there was some arm damage associated with that too, but probably not the break. So I dont want to be critical of the roadcrafter suit, but definitely endorse going for the custom fit (which i did not).

  • http://respectthetrade.tumblr.com/ KR Tong

    “Aerostich Stealth Roadcrafter, because ‘fat old man’ is the new black.”

    • Kevin

      Hey skinny somethings: if you don’t auger it in first, you’ll make it to your 40s and 50s and get to listen to your younger generations say that same shit to you. Maybe you’ll still be skinny, but probably not.

  • Paul

    Fair point (I ordered a standard size because I could get it faster – bad call) – and thanks.

  • Devin

    But how will the popo’s mistake me for an innocent grey bearder and let me do an extra 10 above the usual without the hi viz yellow?

    • Sean Smith

      Just wear a white helmet and the cops will accept you as one of their own ;)

  • Devin

    Actual question: With the forward rotation options, does it interfere with your natural body positions on more upright bikes, such as the Adventure bikes you were on?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Not at all.

      • contender

        This is a question I was having as well. I switch between my TL and Uly. While I think the torso rotation would be a good thing I can’t decide if I should do the arms or not.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          I’ve used this suit with the forward torso and arms on everything from a Tiger 800XC and SuperTen to proper sportsbikes, it’s comfy everywhere.

    • Sean Smith

      The forward rotated arms help everywhere. The torso makes it so I can get into a tight tuck on sportsbikes, and also get up over the bars offroad. The only downside is that it looks a little like I shat myself when standing.

  • Squid_Squidly

    Honestly, when it comes to full body motorcycle suits I actually like tacky colors.

    I mean yer already wearing a onesie, is making it all black really gonna make it any cooler?

    I’m still waiting for the day that I see a fieldsheer acid worm suit in something resembling my size on ebay. I feel like I’m prolly waiting for Godot on that one though.

    • Edward

      Amused by the Godot reference. Thanks for that.

  • moshaholic2

    This is cool. I’ve been having difficulty in finding a good non-leather “suit”.

  • John2

    I’ll admit I was struck by how slim the suit looked in the RideApart video; my two-piece High-Vis Roadcrafter is not nearly as nice looking on my old but not fat frame. Tailoring is one reason (I bought mine from a friend, we aren’t the same shape), but another is the two piece is bulkier in the middle from the overlap, etc. I always figured the two-piece would be more versatile but I never separate the pieces anyway. I now think the one-piece is closer to the ideal.

    • Ax

      A slim fit may look stylish but, if you intend to layer up in colder temps, a looser fit is more comfortable. I also prefer my two-piece because it allows more options (pants and jacket can be worn separately, jacket can be removed at stops, etc).

  • Holden and Annette

    I’ve been vacillating on a Roadcrafter purchase for a month. Wes, I acknowledge that the Roadcrafter is comfortable while riding at speed in dry desert air at 90 degrees. But stop-n-go traffic in the humid South Florida summer, on suburban roads with a limit of 45 mph (and real speed of around 50)? From comments I’ve read on message boards, the Roadcrafter is probably too hot for that type of riding. Your thoughts?

    • Nathan

      I’ve been jonesing for one since the first article. I live in Atlanta and am facing similar issues. I would love to start commuting everyday on my SV1k nekkid.

      • Anthony Wayne

        I live in ATL and wear mine during the summer, it isn’t bad at all.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Giant zippers in the armpits, legs and on the back let in plenty of wind. There’s a lot of group think on forums with loud mouthed idiots serving as opinion leaders. Sean and I have both ridden in this suit in very hot weather and it works as well, if not better, than any other full suit.

      • BMW11GS

        You do get a little moist (maybe im just a sweaty dude?) because the interior is sorta of an unbreathable nylon material however, I am of the opinion that you just open the vents and cruise cooler than the guys who wear t-shirt and even mesh jackets. Look at the Bedouin in the Arabian Desert, you don’t see them wearing faded “HD Riyadh” cutoff tanktops, shorts, and a summer weight “DOT approved” kifayas on their heads. Why? Because controlled (covered with well placed vents) evaporation is better at cooling than loosing all your moisture and then overheating through acres of exposed skin.

        • Gene

          Most of the Bedouin I see get a bad case of camel toe if they go knee-down, though…

        • JVictor75

          +1000 This is more or less EXACTLY what I tell my friends when they see me wearing all the stuff I wear. Sure it sucks at stoplights, but when you get moving again it’s pretty nice.

          • BMW11GS

            Whenever I tell the harley/less informed biker crowd this though, I usually get some garbage that goes something like; “but they’re riding around on camels and marrying their sisters and blowing up things.” I want to drop those people in the Empty Quarter and see how long they will last, then we will see what they think about desert people’s survival abilities.

    • Sean Smith

      You’ll sweat your ass off, but you’ll live. A better solution would be a cheap mesh summer outfit. Over pants that go on like chaps, gloves and a jacket that zips too the pants. Poke around rideicon.com for some ideas.

      • Ian

        I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned the motoport kevlar mesh one piece. I bought a pair of pants from them, and am very impressed with the quality and longevity of the piece as a whole. As a self confessed ‘sweaty dude’™ I need as much air movement as I can get.

        The only downside to the motoport stuff is it has the styling of home-made clothing.

        http://www.motoport.com/index.php?option=com_redshop&view=product&pid=38&cid=18&Itemid=15

        • Gene

          And the owner (of Motoport) is kind of a dick.

          • Brad

            I don’t know about your experience with Wayne the owner, but he always did the right thing by me. Great product.

    • Ax

      After living with my (black) Roadcrafter through two very hot and humid midwest summers I’ll tell you that it can be pretty uncomfortable when stopped at a red light but, when you’re moving even at slow speeds and some air is flowing, it’s fine. Soaking down your t-shirt with cold water makes a huge difference, too.

    • Barry

      In south-central Texas, it’s too hot for summer use. When asked, I describe my stich as “hot but not warm”. It’s still the best suit I own though in terms of overall utility. A Veskimo + ‘stich is totally workable, but you’ll still be sweaty. If you’re travelling a long distance in dry air, you can fill the thigh pockets with ice and that will help cool you down. For winter use, you need it to be slightly loose so you can layer up underneath it.

  • aristurtle

    “There’s something about this that’s so black, it’s like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.”

    Also, I can’t help but notice that they’re charging an extra hundred bucks for the “stealth” version when, as far as I can tell, the only difference is reflective delete.

    • John2

      It must be the $30 blacked-out Roadcrafter label…

      • Sean Smith

        And a “limited run of 500 suits.” Besides, it’s obviously more cool if it costs more.

  • JMcMahon

    Wes, have you been caught out in any heavy rain with this suit?

    I know the material and zippers are water proof but can they hold up to the mid summer biblical cloud burst?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yup. Remember I also spent about half a day doing water crossings for the cameras. Never once got wet.

  • miles

    I know you guys dont see much rain out there, but how’s the waterproofing? Borrowed my Dads a while back(probably 10 yrs ago) and the zippers were not waterproof. Not even close, and wet crotch is no good, unless its your lady friend on the back. Hard to justify a year round suit that can’t cope with rain. I assume they’ve fixed the issues, just curious since waterproofing is not mentioned.

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

      I commute daily in San Francisco with my ‘Stich. Waterproofing is fantastic. I’ve been through some really stupid rain and come out dry.

      • Ax

        +1. After a couple seasons you’ll probably need to re-waterproof it, though.

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

      I commuted daily in Seattle in my aerostich and the waterproofing was pretty flawless. Across floating bridges in high wind and heavy downpour the only thing that got wet was what wasn’t covered by the suit. Like Ax said, you’ll probably want to retreat it periodically, but it’s pretty damn good.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1495163355 Glenn Jaffas

      The current versions of the Stich have new zippers that are much more waterproof. There is a rumor out there that makes sense- “If it leaks, it’s because it fits poorly (too loose) and you are pooling water in a fold of fabric right on top of the zipper”

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

    I ordered a custom Teiz Powershell after a few extensive discussions. We’ll see how it turns out – also blacked out, sans the reflectives and the impact areas. Funny thing about the Stealth Roadcrafter – it seems to be more expensive than ordering a standard version and paying for the blackout options.

    • smoke4ndmears

      I ordered a Teiz too. Should be here in less than a week. All black with a smidge of hi-vis and knee pucks.

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

        @smoke – Which model? Powershell?

        • smoke4ndmears

          Yes, powershell. It should arrive the 12th, and I’ll be using it stead from there on. Will shoot you a short review after a few days Sean.

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

            I’m not sure if mine is included in this shipment or not, as I ordered it in custom colors and custom sizing, too. If I don’t get my tracking number today, then I’ll be waiting a few more weeks. And envious of you.

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

            Envy it is: my suit isn’t coming for a few more weeks. I would’ve been pretty surprised had it shown up this quickly. So, in the nicest possible way, you suck.

    • Sean Smith

      Curious to hear how that works out.

    • Holden and Annette

      Ben W, I would love it if HfL would allow you to write a review of the Powershell. I considered it and finally rejected it because I don’t like the look and it has too many features. Yeah, I sound like Salieri complaining that Mozart’s music has too many notes. But if Teiz made something without that backpack pocket and other doodads, maybe…

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

        I’ll definitely write something up – who knows what will happen? Either way, my suit would probably fit one of the guys just fine.

        I did a lot of talking with Teiz about the styling. Alternative colors go a long way. The company is extremely receptive to feedback and it shows.

        The backpack pocket won’t be useful to me, either. Beyond that, I don’t feel like there’s much excess in the features department. I’m interested in how the ventilation stacks up to my old Roadcrafter, since it’s such a different approach, and how long it takes me to adjust to the opposite zipper direction.

  • BigRooster

    I think I saw the Stealth in the new catalog I keep next to the crapper. I started wanting one after seeing it in the Ride Apart video. Perfect for commuting. Need to start saving up.

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

    The fact that the suit comes in colors other than all-black is actually part of what attracted me to the suit. Too much motorcycle gear is all-black.

    SO I GOT MINE ALL-GRAY. http://www.ninja250blog.com/media/35000-miles-later_01.jpg

    • aristurtle

      That doesn’t look bad. I keep thinking of getting one in black with grey ballistics, but that thousand-dollar price tag keeps holding me back.

      I wonder what one in bright, AGV-Dual-matching white would look like. (Probably like grime after a dozen miles, I suppose.)

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

        Could always keep an eye on the used market – just make sure you know what size you need ahead of time. I had a black w/grey ballistics, but it was a bit too short in the torso and was very restrictive in more aggressive seating positions. Other than that, I loved it.

  • Brad

    Nice, but I’ll stick with my BMW Atlantis 4 Jacket and pants. Waterproof, breathable leather, full armor,(adjustable knee armor) comes in every imaginable size. Beautiful charcoal Nubuck hides, not the shiny leather boy look. Less than half the price of the Rukka leather suit. Unless you look really close you would never know it’s from BMW. I wear it riding both my Ducati and Harley. Great product.

  • Aaron

    Just got an Alpinestars 360R Drystar on close out a couple weeks back, sooooo nerdy it’s cool.

  • John2

    There’s a new black/black Roadcrafter 48S for sale for $599 at http://marketplace.ibmwr.org/ads/view/id/198963, if anybody’s interested and close to that size.

  • 10/10ths

    I’ve owned my one-piece Roadcrafter for seven years and wear it all the time. I live in Louisiana where it is hot and humid. The suit ventilates wonderfully. In the summer down here, you ride to work and it is 80 degrees by 8AM. On the ride home in the afternoon, you typically run into a pop-up thermal rain shower. This suits handles it all and zips off at the office in thirty seconds. Epic bit o’ kit!!!

  • Raubert Van Harris

    I was totally interested until I went on their website and priced one. Those are baby boomer prices!

    I found similar functionality in the Alpinestars messenger jacket ($100 on ebay with armor and back protector). You can pair it up with whatever pants fit your use.

  • DavidMG

    I’m not sure I’m a one piece sort of guy, I tried Olympia’s phantom suit for a few months. I tried to like it, I tried to convince myself that it would shine in the summer when I could just peel in and out of it and have civilian clothing underneath. I tried to turn a blind eye to all the fricken velcro and stiffness and poorly placed, stiff armour.

    One day I decided I’d had enough, I hated it, there was no point in carrying on this relationship. I put it on Craigslist one late night after I came to this epiphany.

    I was ecstatic to find an email from a potential buyer when I woke up the next morning. It was gone that afternoon. I’m glad it’s gone.

    If I ever try an other one piece again, it’ll probably be the stich.

  • Eric

    Any chance you guys could test some of the Teiz suits? I’ve been eying the Lombard for a while to use for commuting.

    Same idea, less than half the price and all…

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

      Eric – I live close to the owner of Teiz and spent a lot of time looking at his suits and trying them on. He’s a great guy and I’m impressed with what he makes and how he handles customer service. That’s why I ordered a suit from him that will arrive soon.

      The Teiz Lombard is not equal to the Roadcrafter. You shouldn’t expect it to be for half the price. The material is a generic type that doesn’t feel as robust. That said, it has generous armor throughout, thoughtful features, and excellent user reviews all around (tons of feedback at Advrider forums). Having owned a Roadcrafter previously, I didn’t want to step down in quality, but I probably would have been thrilled with it had I never owned the alternative.

      I’d take a Lombard over an Olympia suit any day. No question. The Olympia might use brand name materials, but the quality does not impress me. I’ve seen broken tabs/Velcro on suits sitting on the store rack.

      • David Dawson

        I’ve had a Lombard V2 that I crashed in at 40mph on NYE in 2010, not a scratch on me. Only bad news is the suit wasn’t really waterproof after that. I have a Roadcrafter 1pc now, and it is probably the best gear you can get for commuting other than the Teiz.

        The ‘stich leaks at the crotch and down the collar after about 45mins in moderate to heavy storm. As commuting gear its an excellent piece of gear. Easy on, easy off, keeps the road muck off your work clothes, plenty of pockets, etc. For touring, I’m going to go back to using a Klim Traverse jacket and Aerostich AD1 pants.

  • wwalkersd

    Black is too damn hot (and no, I don’t mean hot as in attractive). I HATE black gear, no matter who makes it. But you slaves to fashion go ahead and ignore basic physics.

    And what I’ve found with my red ‘stich is that it ventilates pretty well on an unfaired bike, but could use some front and sleeve vents on a faired bike. Maybe I just ride with my arms too close to my sides, but I don’t find the armpit vents all that effective.

    • Ax

      I almost got my Roadcrafter in red to match my bike — until I realized that, when the color fades, it’ll be a nice pink.

      • wwalkersd

        I’ve seen old ones faded to pink. Mine, bought in 2001 or 2002, hasn’t faded, but, then, I don’t actually use it all that much because of the poor ventilation. When I bought it, I had a red Ducati ST4, and it matched very nicely. Now both my bikes are blue, and it doesn’t look so great. I guess the one good thing about black is that it goes with everything, dahling.

        If I had it to do over again, well, I probably wouldn’t buy it in the first place, but if I did, I’d go with grey.

        • Jai S.

          Why would you probably not do it over again?

  • TuffGong

    Black is hot as hell and far too stealthy .
    I wear a DayGlo Orange vest from Conspicuity and have worn out several over the course of over 400k miles. I would not wear anything that lowers my profile and blends with the road.Black and silver being the worst of the bunch.While I have spent time in a loaner Stich,I have been in the accessories biz for a great many years and have generally been compelled to wear my own vended brands,I know the Stich to be as fine a piece as your money can buy. But go for anything that creates a silhouette against the road and sky…..it isn’t a fashion show,it’s survival…..

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

      I’ve never felt like black blends in. It might not stand out so much as hi-viz, but it’s a major contrast from the scenery/roads around here that are: green, brown, light gray, and tan.

      At night, it’s a different story, but that’s why I wouldn’t like a reflective delete.

      • TuffGong

        The road itself is your direct backdrop to approaching traffic.Black is a shadow,an absence of light. Look at the cars that approach you and see who blends. Keep in mind,that the larger you look the closer you appear to be and vice-versa. A single low headlight on a bike and a non-contrasting silhouette(body and head) create the impression of distance due to lack of size. Size is the only measure of distance to a car driver. If you look big,you are close,if you look small,then it is safe to pull out….tall,wide,bright makes an impression….and an impression is what you you want to make…they don’t need to know the model of the bike or even that you are a bike,just a blip on the radar can be the difference.I always felt like if I was hit and could still walk,I had an excuse to smack someone around wearing my vest and bright helmet,PIAA running lights etc.etc….fortunately hasn’t happened yet(33 years,400k+ miles……)Lots of tickets, however……

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

          My feeling continues to be: if I’m in a situation where my safety relies on a driver paying attention to me, I screwed up.

  • Pete

    First guys to do the all-black, huh? I bet you invented the question mark too. That’s all I need is for people around LA to start thinking I take my inspiration from Sean “smug ha” Smith…

  • rvfrules

    Been using a RC for the past decade. Good suit overall but the zippers leak like a sieve in heavy rain and the collar closure design lets too much air flow in, ok in summer not so good in winter. Would like to try a new one to see how good the new waterproof zippers are.

  • http://www.karinajean.com karinajean

    granted I do veer towards the power ranger but I would love an all WHITE ‘stitch. I have a couple of white jackets and not only do they look freakin’ cool when they’re nicely dirtied and broken in (forget ever getting them clean, they’ll be dingy in no time) but the white fabric is reflective enough to stay a tiny bit cooler in the summer – even at stop lights.

    I DO, though, think to myself: NO WAIT YOU ARE SAVING FOR A ‘STITCH every time I want to buy a cheap jacket. which is, sadly, often. #gearhorse.

  • Roy

    I have used a one-piece Roadcrafter since 2003 (blue with silver accents). My mistake: not getting the forward-rotated sleeves. Any bike other than one where you sit bolt upright requires you to pay the extra $80 or so for forward-rotated sleeves.

    Also, as an attorney, I have observed that insurance defense lawyers use the motorcylist-plaintiff’s lack of conspicuity against them with the jury– how could their cager client have been expected to see the black-clad motorcyclist? Unbelivably, this argument works. You can take the argument away by wearing conspicuous gear.

  • Jon Skarimbas

    It took me years to justify the cost of my two piece Black/Grey Roadcrafter. A month after I got it I said ” I should have gotten one years ago”…and 19 years later I still wear it 9 out of 10 times I ride, and it looks and performs better than new.

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