Aerostich is a leader in the motorcycle apparel industry, and its R3 Roadcrafter riding suit is arguably the most versatile and functional riding suit on the market.
I was able to obtain an Aerostich R3 (Roadcrafter 3) one-piece suit for this riding season. It’s a suit I’ve wanted for years, as it is Aerostich’s flagship piece, and one that has garnered quite a reputation. The Roadcrafter suit was conceived and designed by Andy Goldfine, owner of Aerostich, out of necessity and the desire to ride more. In 1980, as a 28-year-old, Goldfine began dreaming about a versatile motorcycle suit for everyday life; three years later, Aerostich was created and the Roadcrafter suit was born.
Now, Aerostich offers a few different models of the Roadcrafter. I decided to go with the R-3, which is the third and latest generation of the suit. It’s uninsulated and completely waterproof, with numerous updates made during the building process of this piece of riding kit.
I wanted to review the suit, as it has quickly become one of my favourite pieces from my riding wardrobe. The Roadcrafter suit itself was created for the commute: for riders who ride to work and want to wear their casual or business attire underneath. However, the conundrum these days is this: who’s commuting anymore? Most of us work from home, including myself, so a review of my commuting with the suit didn’t seem right.
Instead, I had an event to attend in Fort McMurray, and thought I’d take a five-day trip up to the location; this would be my commute. I rode through heavy rain and sweltering sun; I waded through rivers and rode through mud bogs; I found myself in the alpine and the endless prairie. This commute might have been a bit longer and more extreme than the traditional commute, but I work in the motor-cycle industry, so any type of riding is working for me.
Aerostich believes so much in the Roadcrafter suit that it has a ‘“Ride More” guarantee: “If you try a Roadcrafter suit for one month and find you are not riding more than you did before receiving it, you can send it back for a full refund, no questions asked.”
Now, those are big words, but after riding in this suit I now wear it everywhere. Sometimes I’ll even wear it on my KTM 790 Adv R to go dirtbiking with friends: once I meet them, I ditch the suit and have my dirtbike gear on underneath. It’s versatile and easy to get on and off once you get the hang of it.
The suit does up with two large zippers: the right one is the length of your leg, while the left zipper starts at the neck and unzips at the ankle. It does take some practice to master putting on the suit, but once you understand the process it takes less than 30 seconds and you’re ready to ride. It’s easy to put on over clothing and with boots on, and I can easily put the suit on while wearing bulky dirtbike boots.
The pleat on the back allows for improved shoulder movement, the waist has Velcro cinch adjustments, and the knees are articulated. It’s truly the essence of convenience, and for me, a unique style that can’t be easily recreated. The most difficult thing about the suit is manoeuvring it around to squat when nature calls.
Some may think it looks utilitarian — heck, my partner even mentioned I look like a mechanic with it on — but that doesn’t matter. It’s comfortable and has become my go-to suit for riding.
The suit has oversized 3M Scotchlite reflective pieces on the ankles, chest and across the upper back to improve visibility. One thing that I’ve always admired about every Aerostich suit is the abundance of large pockets built on the outside of the suit, so they don’t impede your fit. The R-3 one-piece offers a large full-length chest pocket on the right side, along with a smaller left chest pocket, forearm pocket and three leg pockets; on top of this, behind the two thigh pockets are sleeves that act as hand pockets. These don’t have zippers or Velcro on them, but are handy when looking for a place to keep your hands warm while mulling around. Keeping with its true use as a commuting suit, the R-3 one-piece has two hip openings with oversized flaps, allowing you to access the pockets of your clothing underneath the suit.
The R-3 suit offers efficient airflow while being completely waterproof. It features two oversized underarm vents, along with a large back vent across the shoulders, which creates great upper-body airflow, although there are no lower-body air vents within the suit. I didn’t find this much of an issue in hot weather: my legs were a bit warm, but with the upper-body airflow, my core temperature stayed regulated on the warm days.
The R-3 is made of 500d Cordura Gore-tex fabric, with additional layers of 1000d Cordura on the elbows, knees and shoulders. At one point during my “commute” I had to wade through a river with my bike with water up to my thighs, and the only place I got wet was from the ankle down, because of my boots.
Fitted throughout the suit is Aerostich’s TF impact armour, which can be moved and adjusted in the suit with the simple Velcro attachment. This makes customizing your suit to your body positioning and fit easy to achieve. This also makes it quite easy to remove, which can be useful if you’re using a knee brace or pressure suit while riding. Additionally, you can also purchase hip, spine and chest armour to add to the suit.
The armour pieces themselves are oversized and take a while to soften, and can feel awkward when first wearing an Aerostich product. I often find myself comparing Aerostich to the likes of Carhartt workwear: they last a long time, they are more useful than stylish, and they’ll take some time to break-in when new.
Aerostich is a truly amazing company, keeping with its grassroots nature even while expanding its market and product base. It’s an incredible experience when you call and speak with someone under the same roof where the materials are cut, designs are rendered, and suits are manufactured in Duluth, Minn. Plus, staff have honest and humorous views on their suits themselves.
While visiting the Aerostich website and on the Roadcrafter suit, there is a tab stating: “We’re not sure how to make these suits look cool.” But they understand the suits aren’t made to make you look cool, and go on to say: “We understand that looking cool is a huge factor in our contentment. You can’t imagine how strongly I wish we knew how to make these suits look cool. They were created to be more equipment than fashion, so they look the way they do because of how we want them to function.”
So, does the suit have any downfalls? Admittedly not many things come to mind when attempting to think of cons for this suit. Subjectively, some may think the suit lacks style, but I find the suit quite attractive. For me, the only slight adjustment I would make to the suit is to add a leg vent, for additional lower body airflow. I also find Aerostich’s armour to be bulky before broken-in, and I would prefer an armour with a thinner profile in the suit to allow for a better fit, especially when new.
Overall though, these are minute details when looking at the suit as a whole. The quality, versatility and the brand’s ability to stand behind its products are what you buy into with Aerostich.
I’ve always been a big advocate for ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time), and with this suit in your riding wardrobe you don’t have any excuse to not wear all of your gear while riding. It takes less than 30 seconds to get on, and you can put it on over anything. I’m even wearing it right now as I write this for you. It offers everything you would want in a riding suit in one simple package.
I’ve used this suit to “commute” for months now and find myself reaching for it more often than not. The R-3 Roadcrafter is available in over 60 in-stock sizes, and the Aerostich website has an excellent and very functional sizing tool to help select from in-stock sizes. In addition, you have the option of having your suit custom-made. The suit is also offered in a wide range of colour options, with the ability to mix and match your colour choices for the high-abrasion areas. The suit retails for US$1,547 and Aerostich also offers several add-on pieces to the suit, like additional armour, and leg and arm map holders. Head to aerostich.com, or if you’re in the Duluth area, stop in and see them for yourself.
Although my daily commute doesn’t involve me riding to work, I do find so many uses for this suit, not only for running errands but now as my multi-day suit. It’s durable, comfortable, waterproof and with its clever design, easy to get on or off in seconds.