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Aerostich R-3 Light Women’s Motorcycle Riding Suit Review

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As much as many of us would like to live in our riding gear, riding around all day long, there comes a time where you do have to get off the bike and head to the cube farm and wear more work-appropriate attire. Changing from street pants to armored riding pants and back again before and after work takes extra minutes out of your day too. Then trying to stuff your favorite oversize sweater under your form-fitting leather jackets, eh, is not the most comfortable. Thankfully, coveralls like the Aerostich R-3 Light give you more freedom to wear what you want underneath while still offering protection. In just a few zips, the purpose-built Aerostich R-3 Light one-piece motorcycle riding suit is on. The women’s version of the R-3 Light tested here is one of four available one-piece options from the Duluth, Minnesota, company and was made to order. While mine was custom made you can purchase off-the-rack suits starting at $1,237.

The Aerostich R-3 Light one-piece women’s suit is focused on all-weather function and protection, not making a fashion statement.
The Aerostich R-3 Light one-piece women’s suit is focused on all-weather function and protection, not making a fashion statement. (Jeff Allen/)

In comparison to the men’s design, Aerostich founder Andy Goldfine stated that “All women’s R-3’s have smaller collars, narrower shoulders and waists, larger hips, shorter torsos, and longer arms and legs—compared to men’s suits for persons of the same height.” With the women’s R-3 having a completely unique fit it is expected to curve appropriately in those aforementioned areas. I found mine was very comfortable, and still allowed for extra room for thicker street clothes if needed.

Ordering a custom suit is simple. Take your measurements—waist, inseam, sleeve, and collar measurements, height, weight, and dress size—and select your color combination. I selected a gray/black color combination, but you can choose from black, gray, HiViz, and tan for the main color, and the same for the ballistic details.

It takes a team to sew, seal, and test. An interior label is even signed by the men and women who stitched that specific suit here in the United States. Aerostich proudly sells direct to consumers, always has and always will.
It takes a team to sew, seal, and test. An interior label is even signed by the men and women who stitched that specific suit here in the United States. Aerostich proudly sells direct to consumers, always has and always will. (Jeff Allen/)

In the online ordering process there is a field where customers can also specify alteration requests. I typically have a difficult time finding sleeve lengths to suit my 23-inch-long arm measurement. Since custom alterations are, however, available, I emailed Aerostich for custom sleeve lengths. I also added forwarded rotated sleeve alterations for increased comfort in an aggressive riding position.

After the online order (detailed with any alterations) is submitted, it is reviewed by fitting experts, Goldfine told me, where the expert will then notify the customer if anything looks wrong prior to the order being put into production.

Now, a break-in period of about a hundred miles is recommended since this allows the one-piece’s material to relax and soften. At 225 miles of riding, the fabric was significantly more flexible and comfortable since the initial wear. As I keep racking up the miles, the fabric continues to soften. At first the main full-length zipper caught on itself, but break-in also increased the ease of action.

What makes up Aerostich’s one-piece suit? Breathable/waterproof abrasion-resistant synthetic fabrics, a full-length waterproof zipper, removable foam armor, zippered vents, and reflective patches on the front and back of the suit.
What makes up Aerostich’s one-piece suit? Breathable/waterproof abrasion-resistant synthetic fabrics, a full-length waterproof zipper, removable foam armor, zippered vents, and reflective patches on the front and back of the suit. (Jeff Allen/)

The R-3 Light held up in both the cooler 55-degree and warmer 80-plus temperatures I rode in. The breathable, waterproof 200-denier Gore-Tex HT Nylon did allow for some 55-degree chill to seep through ever so slightly, which allowed for nice airflow. If temperatures drop even lower, Aerostich has wind-blocking and heated gear available. A dual-zippered back vent, wrist zippers, underarm zippers can be opened and the soft ultrasuede-backed collar can be folded and magnetized open to increase air circulation for higher temperatures.

If you find yourself riding in wet-weather conditions, all seams are sealed using more than 30 yards of Gore-Seam heat-applied tape. From light drizzle to heavier rains, the suit performed well in keeping the majority of my body dry. There were two instances, however, where drips of water crept in. Once, when I looked down at a stoplight during the drizzle; the water slid off my helmet and under the suede collar. The second occurred when a pool of water collected in the groin area—a problem also noted by past editors as well. This puddle eventually seeped through the material after long riding stints, but after standing occasionally to release the collected water I noticed that the drippage subsided. A more aggressive riding position could also be a solution seeing as I rode an upright, standard-style motorcycle that allowed my torso to collect more water.

For geographical regions that see a significant amount of rain it would be worth looking into Aerostich’s Always-Ready Boot Raincover (sold separately). This adds extra rain protection to the top of the boot that is not covered by the suit. The rain covers did really well and I felt very comfortable with the amount of grip the sole’s material provided on the road’s surface. Prior to your ride you can easily deploy or store the rain covers within the leg of the suit.

The breathable fabric and zippered ventilation allows for nice airflow when temperatures rise. Sub-60-degree wind circulates through the fabric as well, but that’s nothing another layer of clothing can’t handle.
The breathable fabric and zippered ventilation allows for nice airflow when temperatures rise. Sub-60-degree wind circulates through the fabric as well, but that’s nothing another layer of clothing can’t handle. (Jeff Allen/)

While the Gore-Tex HT Nylon material and heat-treated seams are claimed to be waterproof, a few portions of the suit are not, and this only includes four of the nine pockets. More specifically, two of the exterior hook-and-loop suit pockets, which are water resistant, and the side-entry “hand” pockets.

Otherwise there are plenty of waterproof zipper pockets from which to choose. There is a vertical-zippered chest pocket for your cellphone, wallet, and other smaller items. A right forearm pocket can hold even smaller items, such as earplugs. Finally, a right leg zippered pocket can be used to hold a map, house keys, and the like. Accessing your pant pockets is even possible with the side-entry zippers. If anyone says their Aerostich lacked pocket space they deserve a kick in the pants.

Hook-and-loop fasteners mate the supplied shoulder, elbow, and knee pads and optional back, chest, and hip pads to the inside of the suit, allowing a fair degree of adjustability. I needed to move the shoulder and knee pads slightly because they were too close to the neck and too high on the knees. The ease of adjustability is an excellent touch.

Shoulder, elbow, and knee pads are included. Back ($87), chest ($75), and hip ($50) pads are sold separately. Hook-and-loop surfaces allow for adjustability to increase comfort.
Shoulder, elbow, and knee pads are included. Back ($87), chest ($75), and hip ($50) pads are sold separately. Hook-and-loop surfaces allow for adjustability to increase comfort. (Jeff Allen/)

Considering the many yards of fabric, plus the shoulder, back, hip, and knee protection this suit has, the R-3 is surprisingly light: 7 pounds, 13 ounces on the Motorcyclist scales. According to Aerostich, the “Light” version is 2 pounds lighter than the standard version. This weight difference is due to the different materials used. Goldfine informed me that the standard offers more abrasion resistance, but if you are a legal-speed, side-street commuter like me, the light is said to provide sufficient protection.

One element that I found awkward was the helmet holder carabiner attached under the chest’s retro-reflective material. Hooked, the helmet hung down on my rib cage and had some free range to swing around, however, it does free your hands for carrying other items when you are off the bike.
One element that I found awkward was the helmet holder carabiner attached under the chest’s retro-reflective material. Hooked, the helmet hung down on my rib cage and had some free range to swing around, however, it does free your hands for carrying other items when you are off the bike. (Jeff Allen/)

Customizable design, breathable material, adjustable armor inserts, and versatility to zip over your favorite street clothes make the Aerostich R-3 one-piece suit a motorcyclist’s must-have garment.

Pricing At Check-Out:

Suit: $1,247

Alterations: Ellipse: $100, sleeve length: $100, rotated sleeves: $120

Additions: Hip pads: $50, hip sleeves: $30, back pad: $87, boot rain covers: $57

Total: $1,791

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