For about 10 years now, I have been doing nearly all of my daily riding in an Aerostich Roadcrafter Classic 1 piece suit. With this experience under my belt I thought that perhaps you’d like to know a bit about the suit and how it has performed. The short answer is “remarkably well” with only a couple of reservations.
So let’s talk a bit about the suit itself. With its “armor” inserted, it’s big, fairly heavy, and at first not really easy to get on and off. Are you put off by this? You shouldn’t be, because here’s the complete story about the suit.
It’s made of highly abrasion resistant 500 Denier Cordura (i.e. heavy weight). Although not as abrasion resistant as leather, it’s pretty damn good. It’s also incorporates man’s single greatest accomplishment in textiles since the first diaper and that is Goretex. I am convinced that Goretex was a divine miracle of some sort. Water resistant (nearly water proof) and breathable, this fabric can keep water out and breathe (letting hot damp air out) at the same time. If you have ever ridden in the rain on a warm/hot day and you are wrapped in the sauna of an non-breathing rain suit, you know the miracle that Goretex represents. You stay dry and cool.
There are some bugaboos however. Downpours of greater than an hour or so will ultimately overcome the Goretex fabric and you will get wet. Light rain or drizzle for extended times can be handled without issue and you will stay dry. One issue that does occur on a hit or miss basis depending on the suit is what’s been known as “Aerocrotch”. After extended periods in the rain, water can accumulate in the crotch area of the suit and ultimately soak through leaving you with a wet crotch. Uncomfortable for riding in and even more so when you arrive at your destination and you take off your suit with that “I just pee’d in my pants style.” Marvelous. Strangely, this doesn’t occur in all suits just some. I may have something to do with the fit of the suit. For example, my suit has Aerocrotch, My wife Kim’s does not. I’ve come to the conclusion that if the suit fits flat on your body when sitting, you won’t get Aerocrotch. If your suit is a little long on you and generates a bunched up area in your crotch, it’s probably best to get the suit refitted.
I do note that Aerostich redesigned the zippers of the one piece Roadcrafter suit and they claim the Aerocrotch issue has been solved. They offered retrofitting of old suits with the new zippers and I was so satisfied with mine that I sent my suit out for the new zippers. Unfortunately for me, Aerocrotch still is a problem.
There are plenty of vents to let air in. There is one that opens across the entire portion of your back and one under each arm that travels from mid-bicep to mid ribcage. There are also two hip vents just behind the hip pockets. As a result, as long as you are moving, you can get quite a bit of cooling air through the suit. Our experience has been that you can be comfortable in the suit as long as you are moving into the high 80s, low 90s. However, if you consistently must travel in a lot of stop and go traffic with temperatures in the high 80s or greater, you might want to seek another option.
The suit has many pockets and you can carry just about anything you could possible need in this suit. There are two velcro closable on the thighs of the legs, a large zippered compartment on the chest, one on the left arm and two large pockets where pants pockets would normally be.
The neck and wrists are adjustable for size (and air flow) with velcro tabs. Options galore exist for the suit including clear map pockets for thigh, arm, made to specification sizing, extra comfort neck material.
After you learn how to put the suit on, it is really, really easy to get on and off. Literally, you can get the entire suit on or off in less than 30 seconds. Really. When you first get the suit, you feel very clumsy putting it on or taking it off, but as you learn how to get in and out, and the suit softens up (it is a bit stiff when you first get it – sort of like blue jeans) you’ll put the suit on or take it off just as fast as you take off all your other clothes. It really is that easy. With this suit, you can ride to your destination with protection and spend the remainder of your day walking around in your street clothes.
All in all, I really, really like these suits. They have served me well in my travels all over the world including our rides on and off pavement. If you consistently ride in very hot temperatures in stop and go traffic, the regular Roadcrafter one piece suit is probably not for you. However, Aerostich also produces a Roadcrafter R-3 and R-3 Light suits that offer less abrasion and protection but are reportedly cooler and lighter weight. Check in later for my review of the R-3 Light.
So what does this all boil down to? If we were to use a star rating system, we would give the Aerostich Roadcrafter one piece suit 4 stars with one star being deleted for the unfortunate Aerocrotch.