Thursday, August 27, 2015

The New AeroStich R3 Light

What's better than one AeroStich Roadcrafter Light one piece suit?

This past Spring, I sent my AeroStich Roadcrafter Light in for repair, then when I got it back I updated my post review here:

I am incredibly happy with the customer service and communication I received from everyone at AeroStich,  more so the emails from the girls and staff that make things happen, but I'll give credit for the personal emails from both Kyle Allen and Andy Goldfine too.

As I mentioned in my repair review, I was impressed with the heavier stitching and thread they used to repair my suit, they also updated my zippers with new waterproof ones at no additional charge. Thank you again.

Worn suit (left) vs NEW R3 Light (right)

However, I believe it may have been my comment regarding the difficulty putting on my suit, due to the shoulder pads getting in the way when donning my suit, that prompted correspondence from the higher-ups at 'Stich. I received an email from Mr. Goldfine stating that they resolved that issue on the new R3 suit; how the R3 Light is now made entirely with the heavier thread, that some new R3 Light suits are made in the USA and that they can do custom alterations.

Lastly, he mentioned that if I could spare my suit again to send it back to them to retrofit the shoulders. I chuckled to myself, after being without my suit for several weeks, I couldn't possibly surrender it again.

The next logical thing to do was to simply order a new AeroStich R3 Light, right?

Again, the staff at AeroStich kept me updated via emails on my order, when it was being sewn and when it was expected to ship.

When I received my new R3 Light the first thing I checked was the stitching, yes they use the heavier thread for every seam on the R3.

NEW R3 Light

NEW R3 Light

NEW R3 Light - stitching compared to the previous suit

Heavier stitching throughout the suit

The fabric is their 200D GoreTex nylon used on the previous suit, and it has double layers in the elbow, knee, and shoulder area. These same impact areas also have heavy duty hook and loop fastener system (aka VelcroTM) and the TF3 armor as did the previous model. It's the stitching that holds true here.

Comparing the two suits side by side, revealed subtle, yet well improved differences.

The back vent caught my attention right away. On my original suit, I couldn't figure out why the zipper was designed the way it was, other than "it is what it is". It would only open from either side or from the center, so there was little option for venting, left, right, center or all the way open.

Former suit back vent zipper opens in the center

The R3 Light back vent has a zipper that meets in the middle, so to speak. This affords me the option of venting a small or a varying amount from both the right and left side at the same time, as well as either being fully open or fully closed. Like I mentioned, a subtle difference that makes much more sense.

NEW R3 Light opens from the center to vent from the outer edges

NEW R3 Light adjustable back vent

Additional (VelcroTM) has been added to the shoulder pads, so I no longer have to jump, or wiggle into my suit to get the shoulder pad over my shoulder. It slides overtop of my shoulder with much less effort. This was the one major hang up, (pun intended) that I had with my original Light.

Additional velcro to keep the shoulder pad in place
The R3 and R3 Light come with their TF3 shoulder, elbow, and knee pads. However, the TF5 Transit Hip Pads and Hip Pad Sleeves (which should come as a set) and the TF3 Standard Back Pad are all optional and recommended by AeroStich. Just get them! I've been using the big, bulky, TF3 hip pads out of my AD1 pants and the smaller TF5 hip pads are much better.

TF5 Transit Hip Pads
The magnets are now in little sewn pockets, rather than heat seamed or glued pockets. I've never had an issue, but I have heard from others that the glue can fail.

Magnet pocket sewn on NEW R3 Light
Old glue/heat seam pockets

I found this little button hole, which will come in handy for heated gear, I should have ordered an extension cord, but I didn't know the button hole was an added feature to the R3 Light. I have been using a battery operated heated jacket, but now I can go back to my wired, full sleeve, heated jacket.

Made in the USA, not that I have anything against the Vietnamese, but I do prefer keeping jobs local.

Previous model - Made in Vietnam

NEW R3 Light - Made in the USA

I noticed the (VelcroTM) on the hip access pockets is more narrow than the previous suit. I don't know whether or not the wider (VelcroTM) was difficult to separate or pulling on it caused too much stress on the suit. I would think the heavier stitching would have resolved that issue without resorting to less (VelcroTM). I never had a problem, but a friend has had his (VelcroTM) come away from his suit.

New R3 Light (left) vs Previous Light (right)

I also noticed small pieces of (VelcroTM) sewn onto the underarm vents. Was there an issue with vents flapping in the wind? Do these help keep the vents open? Do they create a scoop? I don't know.

NEW R3 Light underarm vent/velcro

Overall, the quality, workmanship, and customer service is what I have come to expect from AeroStich, they are top notch and have set the bar for many other outfitters to reach. AeroStich is a company that designs, manufactures and sells a product that I can trust.

Thank you again to everyone at AeroStich, keep up the great work. I hope to make it to Duluth some day soon.

Our clothes are too much a part of us for most of us ever to be entirely indifferent to their condition:  it is as though the fabric were indeed a natural extension of the body, or even of the soul.  ~Quentin Bell


  1. Are you trying to tell me that you are going to go back to commuting on Lucy again.. You can wear them on alternating days in the winter so you have a nice dry one to put on everyday,.... .in the dark, cold, wet, windy winter????

    1. Nope, I'm done commuting on the bike; there are too many brainless zombies texting and talking on cellphones while behind the wheel for me to run that gauntlet everyday. The best way to avoid the wrath of zombies is to hide among them, in my own four wheeled vehicle.
      I'll continue to test the new suit to see how it compares to the previous one, then I'll write a follow up review.

  2. It is great when you find a company that stands behind its product.

  3. Looks like a high quality product, thats probably why they can stand behind it so well beause of the quality. I bet they have very few returns due to bad manufacturing. Your on a winner there Brad.

    1. I too doubt they have many returns, they have a reputation for quality and stand behind their product. A rarity these days.

  4. Great review Brad and a company well worth supporting - might well have to import one to NZ. Do you wear normal armoured riding gear underneath?

    1. Thanks Geoff.
      I normally wear standard street clothes underneath, denim jeans and a t-shirt on hot days, then on cooler days I'll simply layer with a fleece sweater or light jacket. The suit has all the armour attached with hook and loop fasteners, so you simply zip the suit off and you're dressed for the ball.

  5. Good review! I'll stick with my motoport gear for now though, aerostich would be the next logical choice for me.

    1. What made me decide to go with the one piece suit was convenience, it is so quick and easy to jump in or out of it and go. I hate fussing with belts, a zipper fly, snaps, straps, and clips accompany separate jacket and pants. I still have my other riding gear, and I will wear it on occasion, but it's my onesie I reach for first.

  6. I think I have a transitional model. Made in the USA, has the sewn magnet pockets, narrow velcro, waterproof zippers but without the heavier thread. All of the hook velcro has fallen apart. Almost like it dissolved when it gets wet. The other side is just fine. And some of the backpad velcro has started to come off again. Whatever is used to glue it on doesn't work long term.

    1. Call Aerostich, they'll want to know about your suit and evaluate your claim on an individual basis. Is your suit still within the 2 year warranty period? If not, print and fill out their repair form, take the armor out (wash the suit) and stuff it into a USPS Priority Flat Rate box and mail it to them for a repair quote. They are very easy to work with, the hardest part will be not having your suit during the repair.

    2. Thank you! I didn't realize that there was a two year warranty. I was just getting ready to pick up some velcro and fix it myself. Just about all of the hook side of the velcro has disintegrated and the lower velcro patch for tor the back pad is only holding on by a corner.

      I picked up 1' long extension cables for the heated gear. I threaded it through and just leave them there all the time. If needed, I just plug them into the liner on the inside and plug the controller into the extension sitting under the pocket. It works great.

  7. In a time where it seems customer service is something of the past, it is nice to know it still exists and where to find it. I appreciate the write up. I've found better service in the motorcycle world than in most of my experiences. Of course there is always REI, (member for over 30 years) and Amazon......when you find them you hang on and hope they don't change. Enjoy the suit ! Just don't wear a tie :)

  8. That's good and all but, I have a question. I commute in all but snowy conditions on my Concours. In the coldest times I have a Firstgear Jacket and pants that I wear. At 25 degrees Fahrenheit All I need is... Long underwear from Walmart, t-shirt and jeans. I would like to know how the Aerostitch would compare? There is no thermal lining in it. I will not do heated gear as that can break down then your out of luck. I also will not put soo many layers on that I can't move. I can handle the cold very well. It's the summer that I can't. I hate riding once it gets above 85. I would live to own one of these suits. But, I can't see buying this and only being able to wear it 2 or 3 months out of the 10 months of the year that I ride. So if anyone out there has any experience let me know. Thank you.


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