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Aerostich Roadcrafter Light on the Way

What’s my favorite, most-used item of riding gear? That would be my Aerostich Roadcrafter suit (see MD’s review here), the third I’ve had since 2000 (and that’s only because one was shredded in a crash and I got too fat for the second). It’s a durable, functional and useful product, but aside from adding Gore-Tex a decade ago and occasional updates to the armor, not much has changed since it was first sold off of Aerostich founder Andy Goldfine’s pushcart back in 1895 (or is that 1985?). I love it so much that despite its foibles—it’s hot in summer, the waterproofing isn’t ideal, and it’s kind of pricey compared to made-in-China textile riding gear—it’s still what I wear on 80 percent of my rides. But how nice it would be if those issues were addressed…sigh…

Well, be careful of what you wish for—meet the Roadcrafter Light. Goldfine (who doesn’t like the spotlight, but I feel it’s key here) spends weeks on the road, testing and improving his products, and this must be the cumulative result of hundreds of thousands of miles. First off, the suit is made of the lighter 200-Denier (a Denier measures the weight of the thread used to weave fabric—it’s not a direct measure of thickness) used to make the Darien Light jacket and pants, which reduces the weight of the garment by two pounds and lets the user roll it up into a compact 7-by-15-inch bundle (without armor). The optional soft TF3 armor is now vertically adjustable, and there’s a double layer of fabric in high-impact areas—not the protection offered by the standard Roadcrafter, but close.

Waterproofing has been improved. A new zipper design (Andy Goldfine will tell you everything you need to know about zippers, and then some) is claimed “absolutely” waterproof, but there are also new vents to keep things cool on hot days. By the way, this super-duper zipper can be retro-fitted to your old Roadcrafter, and starting this year, all Roadcrafters get the zipper.

Other features include a special rain-resistant pocket for iPods and other electronics, a mini-carabiner attached to one pocket to help you carry loads when you’re off the bike (ever attempt to roll your bike out of somebody’s way while trying to carry your helmet?) and a snap on the back of the collar to help hold it open on hot days. The collar gets a rare-earth (!) magnetic tab to keep it from flapping open, and fold-away rain covers (a $57 option) are ready to protect your boots the next time you’re surprised by a downpour. An optional chest insulator ($32 or electric for $97) helps keep you warm. And for the really minimalist, an Ultra Lightweight version does away with the additional fabric panels on shoulders, elbows, etc.—it may be all an urban commuter (or mostly off-road adventure tourer) needs.

Finally, this improved suit is $667 ($797 for the special-order Ultra Lightweight), over $200 less than the old Roadcrafter (add $100 for armor). And yes, it is made overseas (Vietnam, to be precise) to keep the price down, but the overseas-made Aerostich products I’ve seen are indistinguishable from the Duluth-made ones, as far as I can tell. I’m hot to test the new suit and will tell you how it works. In the meantime, check it out yourself by ordering one of the fat Aerostich catalogs to peruse by calling 800/222-1994 or going to the Rider WearHouse.

20 Comments

  1. Bill Vick says:

    I was a kid in the late 60s, early 70s. We lived next to a big cemetery. I can remember the 3 salvo CRACK of the 21-gun salutes like it was yesterday. Lots of em. Products made in Vietnam? I don’t think so. Just can’t do it.

  2. Ken Springhetti says:

    Ive been riding in my 2001 Custom fit Aerostitch Road Crafter for 10 years now. I scotchguard it once in a while, mostly so it doesnt fade. I recently updated the padding, as it was fraying just a little.. 10 years. TEN YEARS later, the thing is like new. I’ve lived in it,camped in it, ridden for days in a row in it on crotch rockets, cruisers, BMW Tourers and various dirtbikes.. I’ve even gone skiing and snow-mobiling in it!!! It’s far and away the best One Piece suit on the market. I have a lot of gear, a lot of bikes and ride a lot of miles in New England, year round. Against Vanson Leather, Wilson Leather, TourMaster 2 piece suit, Moto Port Jacket / Pants, various other Joe Rocket / Dainese / Fieldsheer pieces, the Road Crafter is my go-to gear. If its over 95 and Im on a fully faired tourer, I’ll wear a mesh suit, but other than that, I always pick the RC for comfort, fit, weather, and of course, safety.

    Its rough, its tough, its 100% better quality than anything but the Vanson Leathers.

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  3. bp says:

    I know lots of people looking for work here in the USA, I don’t know about buying something, crap or not, made in vietnam and then shipped around the world burning all sorts of oil, just to keep from paying an american to do the job here.
    really heartbreaking.

    well at least we can sleep well knowing what great leaps we’re making for vietnam’s economy.

    • Gabe says:

      Let’s not judge Aerostich too harshly, please. The company makes it a point to keep much of its manufacturing here, in stark contrast to every other gear manufacturer that uses cheap Chinese labor. It’s not as if the company is a huge conglomerate making massive profits–are you sure it could even stay in business making its products here?

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  4. Glenn S. says:

    YEAHHHHH!!!!!
    I am a longtime Aerostich wearer, and I have been BEGGING them to make me a lighter-weight suit for years. I live in Kentucky, and ride mostly in this area. It gets downright muggy here, and a lighter-weight suit will be much appreciated.
    Now I know what my next present to myself will be.
    Thank you Andy!

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  5. Dave says:

    Aerostich makes great stuff. If you scothgard them once a year they are very good in the wet. They are easy off and on wear like iron very well made. I have been riding for years in all conditions and it is the most versatile and best garmet I have had

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  6. bikerrandy says:

    After reading the reality of heat/wet conditions ownership, I’m glad I never got an Aerostich suit, no matter where it’s made.

    I’ve used an Israeli DuraTrak 3/4 jacket that’s fabulous in hot and cold weather. It can be tripple digits heat and I’m comfortable all day with it’s long zippers on the arms, front zippers just below my shoulders, and rear back zipper. With the full length arm zippers it’s not waterproof. That’s it’s only foible. For then I have a 1 piece rainsuit. Been using it for many years so far and it still shows little wear. Best part is I paid $50 for it on a closeout w/o pads! I already had the elbow, shoulder pads and they fit right in the pockets it had for them.

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  7. Joey Wilson says:

    Let’s see: For $700 bucks, it’s hot, it’s 200 denier (!!!) fabric, and I pay extra for stick-on armor. What am I missing here . . . . Oh, I forgot, I can get out of it in 15 seconds. Believe me, I’ll get ripped out of it in two seconds if I have to wear this in a crash. Next . . . . .

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  8. Diane says:

    How bout making inseams shorter? Not everyone has a 36 inch inseam, some of us are shorties. How bout something for us?

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  9. Gary Thornhill says:

    I have considered buying a suit, but, because they do not have chest or shoulder vents, they appear to be too impractical for Southern California or hot climates(in my opinion). I have numerous jackets, but favor my Tourmaster Transition Jacket for any long trips, because it vents better than just about anything out there and still protects me when the weather changes dramatically. Andy, look at the Transition Jacket and incorporate similar vents into your suits and I’ll be the first to buy one. With the new self-sealing zipper designs, rain infiltration should not be an issue with the vents.

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  10. Vrooom says:

    I wore a Roadcrafter one piece suit for a few years, but the lack of back armor (yes I had the extra pad velcroed in, but it never felt like it would stay in place in a wreck) the incredible propensity to leak in the crotch (tried tons of waterproofing) eventually lead me to switch to a Spidi H2Out suit. Not as quick to get in and out of, but 100% waterproof, better armor, and nearly as comfortable (the neck doesn’t quite close comfortably on mine). Won a free Tourmaster Centurion too, which has quite a few great features, but waterproofing while better than the Roadcrafter, isn’t 100% perfect. I’d look at the light version, but the Roadcrafters are so expensive it would need to be night and day to be worthwhile (note the list on the Spidi’s is similar to Aerostich, but you can get them for $350 off that).

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  11. Bob says:

    I got rid of my Roadcrafter 8 years ago because it leaked like a sieve. I’m a firm believer in Gore-tex. I’ve tried a few other wannabee Gore-tex type fabrics and they don’t cut it. But having the Goretex didn’t matter with the Roadcrafter. The seams were not taped and the zippers were horrible. Sure, you can get in and out of the suit in 15 seconds flat. That’s the Aerostitch claim to fame. But as a result, after 5 minutes of riding in the rain, I had a soaked chest, crotch, inner thighs and butt. I like riding rain or shine year round and more importantly, when I tour for 2 or 3 weeks at a time, I don’t want hypothermia because the water against me is drawing away critical body heat. I gave it a second chance, thinking I wasn’t sealed up properly because of my own doing. Same problem. I ponied up for the Rukka of my dreams and have never looked back.

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  12. muttskie says:

    I have had a Roadcrafter for over ten years and it is great. I’ll buy this new version when Aerostich offers it in colors other than the gray/yellow and yellow that are the only available options at this time.

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  13. Stinky says:

    I’ve always wanted an Aerostitch. When I quit spending all available money on my projects and bikes I’ll get one. My Vansons are gonna have to do for now, but I’ll get one next time I’m up Minnesota way. I hope to get the personal touch and get this suit made right there. I’m glad Vietnam (not China) is getting the work, but I hope they get an option for us Made In America folks. I’ll pay the extra when it allows.

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    • Roadrash1 says:

      I got a one piece RC a few years back. I was at the factory and they had a nice discount for buying it there at the time. I wear mine to work and back every day over my uniform and it is still one of my fav pieces of gear I ever bought. The light version would be nice for Summer riding.

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  14. Ayk says:

    It would seem Andy is doing his best to maintain his reputation for high quality and made-in-USA products while trying to compete with increasing competition and $259 riding suits. It’s a tough business, but Aerostich still rises above the crowd.

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  15. Hot Dog says:

    I’ve wore Langlitz Leathers since 81′ and purchased a Roadcrafter coat 3 years ago. Everytime I put my Stitch on, I ask myself what the hell took me so long to get one. Ain’t nothing like it.

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  16. TrevD says:

    I as well think that it’s too bad that they are making their new stuff overseas. At least it’s not being made in China, but one thing I’ve always like about Aerostich stuff is that it’s made in the USA. Sigh…

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  17. MarkF says:

    I’m a big fan of Andy, Aerostich & the Roadcrafter. A one-piece light would naturally be next on my want list. But, one thing I always liked was that the Roadcrafter was quality made right here in the USA by Americans. I don’t knock imports but I like to support American products when they are quality made. I wonder why only new products are being made in Vietnam, like the Roadcrafter Light and Darien AD-1?

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  18. Lisa Glover says:

    But still no women’s sizes. Come on, Andy. Make some room in those suits for some real hips.

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