Aerostich Roadcrafter 3 Review

'Stich's new R-3 adds waterproofness to the versatile Roadcrafter

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Aerostich Roadcrafter #520 R-3

Editor Score: 90.0%
Aesthetics 7.0/10
Protection 8.5/10
Value 8.5/10
Comfort/Fit 9.5/10
Quality/Design 9.5/10
Weight 9.0/10
Options/Selection 9.5/10
Innovation 10.0/10
Weather Suitability 9.5/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 9.0/10
Overall Score90/100

Stop me if I already told you about the time I found myself rolling down the fast lane of the 405 North at LAX. Bumper, road, sky, bumper, road … When I stopped rolling, the lady in the car who’d managed to outbrake me, thank God, ran to me saucer-eyed and asked if I was okay. Er, let me check. Yes. Yes, I seem to be fine, thanks. In fact, not only did I escape without any scrapes or bruises, I wasn’t even sore the next day. I was wearing an Aerostich Roadcrafter suit.

The suit didn’t fare too bad, either, but after a few years its red had faded to a kind of hot-house tomato orange, so Andy Goldfine at Aerostich sent me a new black one. Must’ve been about ’97 or ’98. I’ve been wearing it ever since on all motorcycle jaunts where function is more important than fashion – the latter of which only occur when there’s a photo shoot involved.

The old black suit has lost a couple of zipper pulls over the years, a problem easily remedied with a junk-drawer key ring or zip-tie. Otherwise, she’s roadworthy as ever, which is to say this is the most genius motorcycle riding onesie ever conceived by man, especially for those of us who ride here in the Southwest, where you ride through most showers in an hour or two. But the new R-3 now claims to be completely rainproof as well.

Flashback: Thoughts on Five Years with my Aerostich Roadcrafter

I jumped about a foot when I stepped out the back door last night and these were hanging in the moonlight. New R-3 at left doesn’t look much different from 15-year old Roadcrafter at right. Style, or lack of, never goes out of fashion.

I jumped about a foot when I stepped out the back door last night and these were hanging in the moonlight. New R-3 at left doesn’t look much different from 15-year old Roadcrafter at right. Style, or lack of, never goes out of fashion.

What makes the Roadcrafter genius is how easy it is to slip on and off over whatever clothing you need to present yourself in, be it tuxedo, board shorts or bikini. You step into the right leg hole and zip that leg closed from crotch to ankle. Then zip the main nylon YKK zipper from collar to left ankle. You’re in.

The new R-3, (Roadcrafter 3rd generation) is constructed from the same American-made military-spec 500-denier Cordura Gore-Tex fabric as before (Aerostich says it’s the only civilian manufacturer to offer this tough fabric), with 1000d abrasion-resistant nylon layers covering the elbow/shoulder/knee areas.

Those impact areas are backstopped by big, thick TF3 armor closed-cell foam pads, which are the next best thing to crashing into a spilled load of memory foam. Aerostich’s latest TF3 is pretty fantastic stuff; it’s resistance increases the harder it’s struck, but it remains compliant and flexible even in cold weather, as your body heat brings it up to temperature.

Rare-earth magnets hold the collar open to let air in; you can remove them in the winter if you wanna.

Rare-earth magnets hold the collar open to let air in; you can remove them in the winter if you wanna.

Unlike my old Roadcrafter, the R-3 is unlined, and that means the armor that used to be tucked inside pockets now clings to the inside of the suit with Velcro, which makes the pads not only more adjustable for position, but much easier to remove – which may mean your suit will get laundered more than a couple times per decade (it’s machine washable).

No more inner liner lets air go straight out the vents; Gore-Tex and Cordura keep water and abrasions out.

No more inner liner lets air go straight out the vents; Gore-Tex and Cordura keep water and abrasions out.

The absence of a liner, Aerostich says, also makes the R-3 vent better and run much cooler. To that end, rare-earth magnets have been added to hold the collar open; spent bodily gasses still exit via excellent underarm vents and the big main flap under the reflective strip across the back. (Those strips on the back and lower legs really do show up at night.) When it’s hot, rolling along in damp shorts and t-shirt under your Aerostich is about as cool as it gets. (The one downside of no-more-liner is you can’t pack the big back pocket with ice in the R-3.)

With no liner, excellent TF3 armor pads now Velcro'd in place, along with optional ($85) back pad – worth it. Foot in photo to annoy tight-asses of the World.

With no liner, excellent TF3 armor pads now Velcro’d in place, along with optional ($85) back pad – worth it. Foot in photo to annoy tight-asses of the World.

The lack of liner also lets you see the amount of work that goes into these suits. All the seams are waterproof-taped inside, which, combined with new waterproof zippers, are supposed to make the R-3 watertight even in extended Biblical deluges, which wasn’t the case with the previous design.

Every seam is waterproofed. This kind of detailing explains the cost of the suit – $1,067 – which is really pretty reasonable considering …

Every seam is waterproofed. This kind of detailing explains the cost of the suit – $1,067 – which is really pretty reasonable considering …

A collar that snaps down is one new detail on the R-3. Soft fleece liner is comfy as ever.

A collar that snaps down is one new detail on the R-3. Soft fleece liner is comfy as ever.

If you believe form should follow function, you’ll love the dashing figure you cut in the R-3. The plethora of pockets remains, and the hip zippers still let you dig stuff out of your pants pockets. The fleece collar still treats your neck nice, the Velcro-adjustable cuffs and ankles still let you seal air out or usher it in.

On a two-week tour in late May to Nebraska via Arkansas and Missouri aboard a Victory Cross Country Tour with really good wind protection, the suit kept me comfy from 35 degrees in the Colorado Rockies, to 102 crossing the Mojave later the same day, with the only adjustments being removal of an Under Armour hoodie and unzipping and opening the suit’s vents when it got hot. (In the cold, things wouldn’t have been so pleasant without the bike’s heated seat and grips.)

You can use your pants pockets and your Aerostich pockets.

You can use your pants pockets and your Aerostich pockets.

As advertised, I am happy to vouch that the new suit proved to be watertight as a frog’s rectum through two days of pretty heavy Arkansas downpour – more waterproof than the Victory, in fact.

The best part remains the same: It takes only about 15 seconds to get in or out of the thing when you want to stop and stretch and eat or swim or whatever. The best just got better. Why isn’t Andy Goldfine in the AMA Hall of Fame?

Handmade in Duluth, Minnesota. Custom fitting, alterations, strange requests, little extras like emergency medical info pockets and rain covers for your boots that Velcro inside each ankle – none of that is a problem.

Handmade in Duluth, Minnesota. Custom fitting, alterations, strange requests, little extras like emergency medical info pockets and rain covers for your boots that Velcro inside each ankle – none of that is a problem.

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  • Oslo Norway

    Oh sure, John, but we could dress you in the Pope’s hair shirt and Bermuda shorts with some assless chaps and throw you out of a pick up truck and you’d be fine…Let’s face it, you are like the Superball of motojournalists…

    • john burns

      is “assless chaps” an oxymoron Oslo? You get some for Mrs N and the big ride?

      • Oslo Norway

        No, John, I’m greasing her up in whale lard to cut down on the coefficient of friction if we hit the ground so she slides to North Dakota like a hockey puc…

  • Kevin

    JB, did you ever ride a Rocket III wearing it and if so how did it fare with the heat from the exhaust header?

    • john burns

      I did not. Would probably be no prob to have them add an Air Force surplus asbestos heat shield patch wherever you want it tho.

    • 12er

      While I cant speak for the RIII I did have a BMW K1200RS for years. The heat off that thing if you had the leg vents open was a lot. Much cooler and insulated with the legs zipped tight. Though I have an older lined version that may add to the insulation factor. Lets just say I was cooler in jeans and the stich than just jeans.

  • allworld

    I have the Aerostich Transit suit and it is fantastic, wasn’t cheap, but much less than the Rukka equivalent, and IMO butter looking.
    I have always wanted a Roadcrafter suit, but for me it would need to have a removable thermal liner, maybe the Roadcrafter 4 will have that option.

    • 12er

      You can buy their fleece liners or their electric liners / vests. Hence why they dont come with one stock. After years riding in shorts underneath I’m curious how the unlined version feels, seems are smooth from the sealing, just curious how the pads lay.

      • allworld

        I am a year rounder and use a competitors jump suit with a thermal liner. My set up for very cold; is a base layer, then heated pant and jacket liners, then the suit with the thermal liner. The thermal liner keeps the heat in the suit. I also can remove and add layers as needed.

        • 12er

          I’m in CA so year round isnt so bad. I have the older Kanetsu heated Jacket which works down to the teens the very few times it got that low…

  • Jason Clifton

    How easily do the pads, knee especially, get kicked off while donning the suit?

    • Piglet2010

      Do not know about the R3, but never an issue in my 1st generation Roadcrafter Light.

    • john burns

      never a problem.

  • fastfreddie

    Those zip pockets is the devils work!Works fine for the first few trips,but come back next year after having used them a fair few times,and you’ll find them leaking water.Hate them with a passion.

    Why not go old school oil cloth 100% water proof?Costs around 20-30 bucks unlike those in that article.