Editor’s Note: This is part one of a multipart extended review of the Aerostich R3 Tactical Motorcycling Suit
I first learned about Aerostich from my Scooter club mate Steve Morse. Steve wears his Aerostich Roadcrafter suit religiously whenever he rides. I always kind of thought it looked silly. I would say you look like an astronaut Steve! To which he would reply something to the effect, “Yeah, I may look ridiculous but, one, I can’t see myself while I’m riding so it doesn’t matter how I look and, two, I’m the safest most comfortable guy out here.” I figured to each his own and didn’t think much more about it until we set off in the summer of 2017 to ride 2100 miles round-trip from the San Francisco bay area to Amerivespa in Seattle. We rode through cold wet coastal fog, through summer heat in the central valley, it rained on us, we even ran into some snow in Crater Lake National park. Everyone on the ride struggled with the right formula of layers and outer motorcycle gear. We were either too hot or we were too cold and most of us were soaking wet (even those of us with rain gear) all around uncomfortable. Except for Steve who just wore his Aerostich suit and rolled along without a complaint.
I am a full time scooter commuter (I haven’t owned a car for 3 years) I ride year round in all kinds of weather. When I gave up my car payment, I spent the first year using all of that extra cash buying and trying a large assortment of motorcycle specific clothing. I have a closet full of jackets that at the time I bought them, I knew were going to be just perfect. Leather gear, vented gear, kevlar lined pants, so called “water proof” gear. Sure some of them worked very well when it was cold out, some were my go to jacket when the mercury climbed over 90 degrees. But nothing was the magic formula that kept me comfy all of the time.
When I signed up to do the 2018 Scooter Cannonball Run I knew that I needed to find gear that would work no matter what Mother Nature could throw at me. When you are doing ten hour days in the saddle comfort is king. Couple that with multiple successive ten hour days in an endurance event like the Scooter Cannonball Run where fatigue levels are high and wrestling with your equipment can be the difference between being safe or being in the hospital
That’s when I remembered Steve buzzing along as cozy as he could be in his Aerostich suit. A little research showed that Aerostich has a large online following of loyal customers. A quick visit to www.aerostich.com and I learned that every Aerostich suit is custom made in the U.S.A for each individual customer. They actually have a guarantee that you will like their motorcycle gear so much that it will cause you to ride more. The more I learned about Aerostich the more I thought that one of their suits could be the solution I was looking for.
I want to take a minute and tell you that even if you are sure that you have no interest in bespoke motorcycle clothing, do yourself a favor and download or order the printed version
the Aerostich catalog. This publication is the Sears Christmas Wishbook of motorcycle gear. I have never seen such an amazing selection of riding products and in depth product information anywhere else. The whole catalog is written in a fun informal way that makes you feel like part of something much bigger than yourself (Save me now… I think this whole Aerostich thing might be a cult) The catalog is such an entertaining read that they have digital copies of catalog articles and sidebars dating all the way back to 1986 on their website. Seriously, get yourself a copy of this catalog.
I’m willing to bet you will find something that you can’t live without.
Once you’ve read the catalog you may have a little sticker shock! $1,000 for a motorcycle suit are they crazy? (maybe) Am I really considering a $1,000 motorcycle suit! Am I crazy? (maybe) But we are talking about an ultra high end Super Suit (I mean Batman and Superman probably don’t quibble about Super Suit price tags… do they?) The premium price is in line with other high end Gore-Tex motorcycle outfits. Also, the price seemed a little bit more reasonable when I looked at my closet full of lower to midrange gear that just didn’t turn out to be good enough. If I added up the cost of all of the jackets and riding pants I had purchased over the last ten years I could have easily afforded two Aerostich suits. Plus, think of all the closet space I’m going to have once I clear out all of that lesser gear ;-)
The first step in getting my own suit was to fill out my vital information using the Aerostich Online Sizing tool. They want to know all of your measurements, a little bit about the riding that you do, and the style of bikes that you ride.
(I chose touring because it seemed like the most similar “on bike” stance to a scooter) If you have trouble taking your own measurements you can always go to your nearest tailor and have them size you up. Once I submitted the requested information it took a few days for a member of the Aerostich Customer Care Team to get back to me with recommendations. In a few emails back and forth, (I was also given the option to do it over the phone) I was asked for a few more measurements and some questions about the sizing of my favorite motorcycle jacket that I currently own and what size blue jeans are the most comfortable. My customer rep suggested a starting size and that I would need to customize due to my short 29 inch leg inseam and also a custom sleeve length. The customer rep also very politely suggested that I have my suit made with a “Midsection Gusset” I was very frank with her and said, “it’s because I’m fat isn’t it?” She was diplomatic about it and assured me that they just wanted me to be as comfortable as possible in my Aerostich Suit. My rep also went over the different suit choices available, along with color choices and what additional accessories I would like to order.
Everything about their suits is custom for each customer. So elbow pads, knee pads, shoulder pads, back protection are all Ala Carte. Aerostich has multiple choices of accessories that can be set up especially for you. I ended up choosing the R3 Tactical Suit in Hi-Viz Yellow with a full complement of internal padding. (you can never be too safe) Additionally my rep reminded me that while the order would be placed immediately, these are custom made pieces and it may take some time for delivery. My order was placed on March 12th and on March 29th I received an email that my suit was complete along with a shipment notification.
A few days later a box was on my doorstep. Inside that box was my own personal “Stich” and let me tell you the Aerostich people know how to make a guy feel special! Right on top as you open the package is a thank you note from the people at Aerostich that packed up my suit.
There were a few hidden surprises in the pockets of the suit. (I’m not going to tell you what they were but it was a fun personalized touch) My favorite little extra is the panel on the inside of the suit that is signed by the people that worked on my suit. I don’t think I have ever had such a personalized buying experience. Everyone I dealt with at Aerostich seems to truly believe in their product, and want to provide the customer with the finest service possible. It even came with instructions on how to properly put the suit on!
So how does a custom made motorcycle suit feel? In a word… Perfect!
More on that in Part Two of my Aerostich review where I will cover what its like to use the suit everyday as a “Scooter Commuter”.