In the fall of 2006 I purchased an Aerostich Roadcrafter motorcycle riding suit. I decided to write a review of this suit:


Abrasion Protection:

For those not familiar, the Roadcrafter is a Cordura riding suit produced by Aerostich. The body of the suit (in “Hi-Vis lime yellow”) is made of 500 denier Cordura, and the shoulder/elbow/knee section is covered in a layer of 1050 denier Cordura. When deciding what riding suit to purchase, I considered this suit, the Kevlar offering from Cycleport, and, of course, leather. I decided against the leather option because of the weight, fit, and and general lack of high visibility options, and against the Kevlar offerings due to the very long production time and my desire to have a combination of a Cordura suit and Kevlar reinforced jeans/shirt/shorts under the Cordura suit. That said, I’m confident that any of these three options would have offered excellent protection.

Impact Protection:
There are impact armor pads in the shoulders, elbows, and knees, with optional pads in the hip area. The pads are made of a memory foam like material called TF2 that is quite comfortable and feels protective, and all pads except those over the hips have a hard plastic shell on the outside. The shoulder, elbow, and knee pads fit into pockets on the inside of the suit in each of their respective areas, and the hip pads Velcro into the inside liner of the suit. I have all 8 pads in my suit.

Weather Exposure Protection:
There is a Gor-Tex waterproof lining although the zippers are not waterproof. As someone who has zipped and unzipped the waterproof zipper on drysuits when SCUBA diving, I can say that the convenience of not having to deal with a waterproof zipper is worth the slight decrease in waterproofness.
The suit has 2 zippered vents under the arms, 2 near the hips, and 1 along the retro reflective strip that goes across the back. The vents provide adequate ventilation when open, and the suit is warm enough (with proper layering) when the vents are closed.

Visibility of the Roadcrafter:
For me, one of the biggest selling points of this suit was the Hi-Vis lime yellow color and the retro reflective strips on the back, front chest pocket, and ankles. There is obviously inherent risk in operating a motorcycle, especially around cars while in a densely populated area, and I live in the Chicago area. Although I’m sure the high visibility features of this suit don’t offer anywhere near the visibility I have when wrapped in 3,000 lbs of bright red metal and plastic like my car offers, studies have shown that high visibility protective gear does reduce the likelihood of being hit by a car. Reactions to the color have ranged from “Mommy, is he a firefighter?” (said by a little kid) to outright laughter (a cruiser rider), to nods of approval (another safety conscious sportbike rider), but it will be a cold day in hell before I base my motorcycle/car/house/etc decisions on the perceptions of other people.

Comfort:
Overall I have found the Aerostich Roadcrafter to be quite comfortable, and the comfort has improved as the suit has broken in. My only complaint is that the suit could have a little more room and flexibility in the knee area, but there is a trade off between comfort and crash safety, as the impact armor pads need to be held in place to be effective. I selected the 1 piece suit for a combination of protection and convenience reasons (1 piece = fewer zippers to worry about and a quicker suit up process). The Aerostich site claims that you can put the suit on in 10 seconds, once you get used to the process. While I’m not that quick yet, I can suit up in about 15 seconds. There are plenty of pockets – so many that you just might lose your keys in the suit by forgetting which pocket you placed them in :)

There is a Gor-Tex waterproof lining although the zippers are not waterproof. As someone who has zipped and unzipped the waterproof zipper on drysuits when SCUBA diving, I can say that the convenience of not having to deal with a waterproof zipper is worth the slight decrease in waterproofness.

Quality:
The Roadcrafter is constructed in the USA and the quality is excellent. I have not had any problems with either the suit or the accessories, and the company was a pleasure to do business with. They even produced and shipped the suit a full week ahead of the time they quoted me. This seems typical of what I have read about Aerostich’s quality and customer service.

Overall Opinion:
Overall I am quite pleased with the Aerostich Roadcrafter. The only improvements I would make are a pocket system for attaching the hip pads instead of the Velcro system that is used, and a some stretch material on the back of the knee pads to provide more comfort while in the sportbike riding position.