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Any ride, any weather: The Aerostich Roadcrafter R3

Posted By Jerry Riederer (#135671), Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Like most riders, I have accumulated an assortment of riding gear over the years. Various jackets, pants, insulated liners and rain covers now fill more than half of our mudroom closet. Any time my wife expresses frustration at the sheer volume of waterproof/windproof/coldproof/reflective/padded/breathable fabric preventing the closet door from fully closing, I point out that different riding conditions require specific pieces that help ensure my safe return to her loving arms. This explanation had been working well to justify my penchant for buying the next, newest thing. That ended the day I came home wearing an Aerostich Roadcrafter R3 suit. More than 15,000 miles later, I have yet to open the mudroom closet for another garment.

The Roadcrafter is an unlined, one piece suit that is designed to be worn over any base layer, from street clothes for a ride to the store or office, to comfortable riding clothes for a long day on the road.

Roadcrafter R3 01

Clearly Aerostich is not a company that rests on its laurels. The Roadcrafter 3 (R3) is the third generation Roadcrafter suit, and as such utilizes the latest in materials, craftsmanship and features. The 500 denier Cordura® GORE-TEX® fabric shell is cut on a computer-guided machine and then sewn and seam sealed for consistency. All zippers are rubberized (think drysuit zipper) to keep the rain out. The oversized shoulder, elbow and knee pads are made of Aerostich’s proprietary TF impact armor. The pads are removable and each armor attachment point is adjustable to allow the fit to be fine-tuned for comfort and to ensure it stays in place for best protection. Optional hip, spine and chest armor is available for further protection.

Fitted with nine pockets, the Roadcrafter has a place for everything. In fact, there are so many pockets, that I discovered one that I did not know existed two months after I started using the suit. I personally love the pocket located near the right wrist, which is a great place to keep money for tolls, etc.

Road testing this suit took considerable time (and miles) in order to really appreciate all of its features. Having now ridden with this suit for an entire year and over 15,000 miles, I can honestly say that I no longer give much consideration to the weather conditions in preparation for a ride. I look at the temperature to decide on my base layer and how much venting to open, then hit the road.

While I have yet to find any protective clothing that keeps me from feeling too warm when temperatures get above 85 degrees, I was surprised that the one piece R3 was comparable in comfort to flow-through mesh gear. When I wear a wicking tee shirt and shorts as a base layer and open the vents fully, I can ride all day in relative comfort. Anecdotally, I am under the impression that I don’t dehydrate as quickly when I do long rides in the suit. I can't determine whether this is due to reduced airflow over my skin, or perhaps just my imagination, but I have done some long days in this suit, including an Iron Butt 1000 around Lake Superior, and I do notice a difference in fluid demand.

In cold weather it’s all about the base layers. The R3 essentially removes windchill from the equation with great, glove friendly, hook and loop closures at the wrists, ankles and cozy collar; just layer to your liking and ride. On a recent 320 mile ride to the Canadian border, my on-board thermometer never read above 34 degrees and got as low as 31, but my comfort and safety were assured with the right layers, which included a heated liner under the Roadcrafter R3. When an electric heated under layer is in order, the Roadcrafter accommodates with a thoughtfully located rubberized port through which you can thread your power cord.

Roadcrafter R3 02 Whatever the temperature, rain gear is no longer a consideration when preparing for a ride. The entire suit is constructed of totally waterproof, American-made mil-spec 500d Cordura® GORE-TEX® fabric. All zippers are seam-sealed, rubberized and rainproof, so you’ll stay completely dry, even during the wettest conditions. I really put this suit to the test on my trip to the MOA Rally in Hamburg, New York, last summer. We rode the 350 miles from Sudbury, Ontario, to Hamburg in weather that vacillated between a steady rain and intense downpours for the entire day. While it would be a considerable stretch to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the day’s ride, I can honestly say that not a drop of water got through the Roadcrafter.

I like to visit motorcycle dealers and rally booths where I can look the latest in riding gear. A review of the country of manufacture tags on these garments, regardless of quality or price, reads like a travel journal for a Far East adventure: made in China, made in Cambodia, made in Korea, made in Indonesia. Every Roadcrafter is made in Duluth, Minnesota. Mine was made by Mary. In fact, riders are encouraged to stop by the factory, meet the dedicated craftspeople and see the production facility. A must-visit destination for any riders passing through Duluth on their way around Lake Superior, they will find a nice rider lounge, generously supplied with bottles of water, maps and camaraderie.

Roadcrafter suits are available in an impressive range of standard sizes. Add to that the ability to get custom alterations and you will be hard pressed to find a better fitting piece of riding equipment. Over 30 standard color combinations give you the freedom to make your suit truly your own.

I typically like to make comparisons between products in order to form the basis for a review, but this suit is in a class by itself. More a piece of safety equipment than riding apparel, its function-first design is bold and revolutionary. I can honestly say that I ride more now because the Roadcrafter makes it easy to wear “All The Gear All the Time.” I get dressed in clothes for a business meeting, zip on the R3 and throw a leg over, instead of climbing in my Camry and driving to the office. The Roadcrafter R3 costs $1197. There are too many options and features to cover on these pages, so visit Aerostich on the web for all of the details.

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