Aerostich R3 Light suit, $1147 (around £770) plus shipping and import duties (est £350)
Tester: Tony Hoare
Time tested: Six months/3000 miles
What’s good? The Roadcrafter is a waterproof textile one-piece suit with one zip running from left ankle to the neck and another going from right ankle to the top of the thigh. Undoing these zips opens the suit up so it can be put on over normal clothes, which is ideal for commuting and other journeys where you want to be dressed ‘normally’ at the other end. The idea is brilliant, and has been enjoyed by Aerostich owners for around 30 years since it was conceived in the United States. This is a newer version of the traditional Roadcrafter, with no internal lining other than the Gore-Tex membrane that’s there to keep out water. This makes it most suitable for riding in warmer weather, although layering up with thermals means it is OK on shorter winter trips. It’s been completely waterproof through some serious rain and over long distances, eliminating doubts I’d had about the integrity of earlier Aerostich models. It uses the Pro version of Gore-Tex, which laminates the membrane to the Cordura outer, and it’s brilliant at resisting rain. Another massive plus point is as much a positive for my workmates as it is for me – no-one has to see me strip off in the office. Because it’s designed to be worn over normal clothes, it’s a matter of sticking on underlayers and a back protector, putting on my boots and then stepping into the Aerostich before heading off on my bike. Dignity is protected equally on arrival in the office as it’s a matter of unzipping and stepping back out of the suit.
What’s not? I’ve always loved the idea of Aerostich, and the convenience of something that goes over regular clothes. But I’ve been disappointed since taking on the R3 at the start of winter. I’ve not caught the knack of getting in and out of it and I’m not convinced it’s faster than changing into normal textile kit. My right boot always catches on the leg aperture, slowing down the process, and it takes me a good while to sort out the connection of the zip at the neck. I’ve never been happy with the armour supplied, which isn’t CE-approved as American companies haven’t adopted our European standards, so I wear a separate back protector rather than the one supplied. Again, this is slower than putting on a jacket with a back protector fitted inside. Also, the cuffs are not wide enough to fit a glove inside, which is my preferred set-up, and even getting a glove over the top isn’t easy. When considering it can cost £1000 or more, once import duties and shipping costs from the States are factored in, it’s also a big investment. Aerostich say the suit will take some time to break in, so I’ll persevere to see if that investment will come good in the longer run.
Quality rating: 3/5
Value rating: 3/5