Gear: Aerostich Roadcrafter

One encounter with the Real Motorcyclist is usually all it takes to permanently burn into a rider’s mind that to wear an Aerostich is decidedly uncool. But did you know that, if you were so inclined, you could order up a suit without the garish colors and reflective panels, and have the the fit altered to suit sportsbike ergonomics? Or that you can even get the suit with a back protector, chest protector and awesome leather knee pucks?!

Don't believe me? Head over to their Roadcrafter alterations page and have a look for yourself. The first time I saw that options list, I couldn't believe it. A waterproof one-piece riding suit that's comfortable from 30 to 100º, has armor in all the right places, doesn't stand out, goes on and off nearly as fast as a jacket and, best of all, will never keep me from confidently planting a knee. The only catch? Those options add $364 to the $887 sticker price.

Putting on race leathers makes most people feel like a superhero. Swaddled in leather and massive armor, you just feel invulnerable. You get that same feeling stepping into a Roadcrafter, but instead of taking five minutes, it's actually Clark Kent quick. Assuming you already have boots on, step through the right leg hole and put your arms though the sleeves. Next, line up the main zip up by your neck and run it down to the bottom of your left leg. Zip the right leg closed and the suit is on. You don't even have to sit down.

When you arrive at your destination, repeat the process in reverse and enjoy walking around in regular clothes. Stash the suit in a closet or on the bike. If you don't have a top-case of panniers, just roll it up, run a cable lock through one of the arms and lock it to the bike. Forget about finding the perfect compromise between style and functionality; now you can wear whatever you want underneath full protection.

The fit of the suit initially seemed too baggy, but all the armor is in the right places and it goes right over street clothes. Velcro adjustment tabs at the wrists ankles and waist work like a charm and only need to be setup once. Get things the way you like them and then just use the zippers.

On hot days, zip open the wrists, armpits and back vent and leave the collar open. I was able to comfortably wear my full-gauntlet Kushitanis inside and air flowed right up the sleeves. It's not quite as cool as a mesh jacket when it's 100º and sunny, but it's certainly not uncomfortable.

The knee pucks are easily the best feature though. If I had to pick out any one thing that shaped my riding skills into what they are today, I'd say it was dragging my knees five days a week for two years on my commute. It made the hassle of changing in and out of leathers twice a day worth it, but it was still a giant pain in the ass. Having pucks on an over-suit that goes on in a few seconds means I never miss an opportunity to have some fun because I'm just wearing jeans.

Owning a suit like this makes it easy to use a motorcycle as your day to day transportation. You just zip it on and go. You'll be warm when it's cold, dry when it's wet and protected when it's hot. You'll be comfortable and no one will even have to know you're a motorcyclist.

I just got this in the mail a couple days ago, but have already done GMR and the road up to Crystal Lake on it. Look for more complete coverage once I’ve got some real miles on it.

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