Is it worth the money? ($1100.00 Canadian, at 2009 exchange rate)
As I am a bit of a procrastinator, it took me a while to make up my mind to buy an Aerostich riding suit. About 20 years in fact! Over the years I have used various types of gear; Belstaff, Leather, Cordura, long and short jackets, bibbed and non-bibbed pants, all do the job but all have their problems.
My desire was to have a riding suit that I could take off in seconds, warm, waterproof, well vented, comfortable and offers good protection. Along with all that, I didn’t want it to be too hot in the extreme heat. Tall order. What I have chosen is the two-piece zip together Aerostich Roadcrafter. After wearing it for a year, does it meet my needs? Well a big Maybe.
I don’t think it possible to meet all needs with just one outfit but this suit comes very close. Is it warm? Yes, if one wears an electric vest and liner with it. The suit can be closed off at the neck and cuffs to seal out the wind. Comfortable? Yes, it’s available in all sorts of mix and match sizes or can be custom ordered. When new, it is very stiff and takes a long time to break in and when it does, it takes on your body shape and feels much better. Waterproof?
To a certain degree, yes, however, the old problem with the crotch is still there, if riding a naked bike. I have found the same problem even with rain suits. Well vented? Yes, as long as one is moving. There are vents under the arms and in the back that work well but the armour does limit these somewhat. Once stopped, it’s a matter of getting it off as fast as possible, which is very easy to do. Unzip two zippers and in moments you stand there looking very dapper in your shorts and riding boots. To combat this look, I wear lightweight pants with zip off legs, which makes for a more acceptable look when going into a store or restaurant. Cool in the heat? Well in my wisdom I bought a black suit so I am asking a lot, but I find it no hotter than my leathers. I drink a lot of water and wet myself down often. I find I can handle the heat by getting an early morning start and stopping relatively early in the afternoon. Good protection? Hopefully I don’t get to find out. I did go for the hip pads but don’t like them as they interfere with getting into the inside of the suit. I also have the back protector with the standard shoulder, elbow and knee armour.
After using the Aerostich for a year, I think it is the best riding outfit I have ever owned. 50 years of riding and I’m getting closer to having all the right gear. Now it’s time to look at helmets.