Gear and Farkle Field Testing

Aerostich Roadcrafter Suit

Since I started sport touring, I’ve always wanted an Aerostich suit.  Made in the USA and one of the few companies that produce many different sizes and also custom make suits for a rider.  Due to their quality, they fetch a premium of $1,200+.  To some, an Aerostich suit may be more function than form.  I’m 40-something and believe the suits are pretty cool looking and function really well.

“Made-in-USA mil-spec 500 Denier Cordura® GORE-TEX® outer fabric, ballistic nylon and a high pic Supernyl lining fabric.” “Compared to traditional leather gear you’ll ride warmer when it’s cool, drier when it’s wet and cooler when it’s hot.”  ~Aerostich.com

As a frugal rider, I decided to search for a gently used suit that wouldn’t get me lynched by my wife.  I started by using the sizing calculator the Aerostich site provides to give you a general sizing idea. Aerostich Sizing Tool  Like most things, it’s best to have a suit fitted by one of their representatives but I haven’t have the opportunity yet.  After a day or two, you get a reply from Aerostich with what they believe you’re sizing should be.  With that, my trolling began

After a few weeks, I scored a suit on eBay.

The suit arrived and for the price I paid the fading was not a big issue for me.  The suit in person appears much less faded than photographed plus the suit was washed and waterproofed again giving the suit a crisp feel and a little bit of a sheen.

Jumped on the Aerostich site and found what they recommend to rejuvenate a suit. I ordered Nikwax Tech wash and TX.Direct washin waterproofer from Amazon.  Washed the suit a couple of times and then used the washin water proofer to get the Gore-Tex back to tip top working function.


After drying, I applied the Nikwax spray on waterproofer  to the entire suit but focusing on the areas that needed extra help like the seams and zipper areas.

I’ve been riding to work lately in light rain and very happy so far.  Will check back in when I get caught in heavier and extended down pours.

My suit did not come with any kind of liner like my previous Joe Rocket Survivor Suit did.  Mainly due to the multi duty of the Gore-tex built into the suit.  But as the weather got chillier in Central Texas, I could feel the chill in my chest area as I rode.   Simple solution is the use of either my heated jacket or my The North Face polartec fleece.  I’ve owned Aerostich heated vests made of a polartec lining and was quite pleased and so I chose to try the Northface fleece to test it’s windproof qualities.   So far it’s works wonderfully in keeping my core and arms warm.

The thickness of the jacket is a little bulky but it does the job when I don’t want to use the heated jacket liner.  Now one of the upgrades I did to my newly acquired ‘Stich was to retire the soft armor it came with.  With some new Aerostich TF6 Impact Pads.  The kit replaced the shoulder, elbow and knee pads in the suit.  The difference was like night and day plus the addition of a hard outer shell for more abrasion resistance. I’m still breaking in the new stiff pads but I’m happy with the suit so far.  And look forward to see how the suit fairs during our Texas summers.

I’m a firm believe that a rider should wear the very best equipment they can afford.  As the saying goes, “Luck favors the prepared.”

 

Joe Rocket Survivor Suit (Sold)

I picked up this suit online for a song of a price ($100) compared to more expensive riding suits.  My first one piece riding suit was an interesting one.  This suit was made of a stiff “Waterproof Rocktex 600 outer shell (trademarked)” and a quilted removable inner liner.   I’ve had a chance to use the suit for 2 years.  Texas summers (90+ with 40-50% humidity) made the suit a little uncomfortable but was my go to suit for fall, winter and early spring riding wear.   The armor it came with the suit were level 1, type a.  I had a Joe Rocket two piece track jacket that I no longer used and transplanted the level 2, type b armor from the jacket to the suit for better protection.

In the photo above I photographed using with Survivor suit with an air vest while on an extended ride to West Texas towards the end of 2016.

The armor at the knees can be raised or lowered in three positions.  The suit unzips diagonally on the top and from the out part of the legs.  Excess material does bunch up a little.

The suit has nice options to make the suit adjustable to the rider.   Especially around the arms.  The style and cut of the suit made it feel like a tactical military suit.  Lots of pockets / pouches and interesting venting on the front of the suit by unzipping the outer shell and zipping up the secondary inner mesh zipper to flow lots of are through the suit to two vertical rear vents on the rear of the suit.  The fit was pretty good for a Euro fit.  I normally wear a medium and had to order a large in this case.

The quilted inner liner was warm but didn’t breathe much when the temps suddenly rose.  The liner did zip in and out pretty easily though.  The only altering I did was to add a port to run my heated jacket liner cable through the suit.  That would be my only complaint beside the suit not being more breathable with the liner.

Bottom line:  A modern, affordable alternative to the Aerostich Roadcrafter.  The cut and the lines of the suit are modern and the adjustable arms, chest and waist makes this suit very flexible.  The lack of a more breathable shell makes the suit a little uncomfortable at times but the “Big Air” feather is nice to have when the temps do get hot.  The lack of access to your inside pants makes it difficult to access the contents of your inner pant pockets or run a lead to power heated gear.  Would I buy it again or recommend?  I would.  It’s great value at MSRP and lower.

AirHawk DS (Dual Sport) comfort seat cushion

I thought comfortable saddles had to be custom made either through Corbin or Sargent just to name a couple.  Then came the Airhawk cushion.  Yeah yeah, I know you’ve seen these on the bikes of more mature riders that have them afixed on their touring rigs.  I know they’re not for everyone but it works.  The Airhawk  consists of an inflatable bladder inside a rugged seat cover that you can attach to your existing seat.  You can simply increase or decreace the amount of cushion you like by merely opening or closing a valve stem.  The cushion is a great solution to allow your lower side get some ventilation and comfort at the same time.  Been using one for my last two bikes and it works well.  The manufacturer was even nice enough to send me a set of straps.  Give it a shot.
Joe Rocket Recon Jacket

Rev’it Airwave Jacket


Rev’it Airwave Pants

Dainese Techno Jacket


Dainese TRQ Tour Gore-tex Boots

I was getting tired of compromising foot comfort and protection by purchasing sport riding boots and having to treat them often with a water proofer.  Dianese is renown for their racing reputation and for quality.  I bit the bullet and purchased a new pair of Dainese TRQ Tour boots back in 2015 and haven’t looked back.  Boots have a synthetic leather outer that is semi perforated and a inner liner that is Gore-Tex.   They both work by wicking away moister from the foot making them feel cooler during the summer months and comfortable during the winter months.

The boot is built with ankle protection called D-Axial.  Jointed anti-ankle twist back system that limits the flex of your ankle similar to their race boots called the Torque In and Out.

Hit-Air Motorcycle Inflation Vest



Alpinestars Drystar Gloves



Alpinestars TZ-1 Jacket



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Sedici Hotwired Heated Jacket Liner Review

Sedici Hotwired Jacket

Recently replaced my Gerbings heated vest with a Sedici Hotwired Jacket Liner purchased at Cyclegear.  My Gerbings vest was a great piece of gear that never failed me but with the lack of arm protection and winter upon us, I needed better protection.  I’m mostly a frugal person, I tried trolling on Craigslist and eBay for a gently used one but with no luck.  I was left to gift this to myself so price was a little bit of a factor.

Gerbings, Warm & Safe, Firstgear had similar jacket liners at twice the price plus possible shipping and limited warranty.   But with the pressing need for warmth, I was a little bit in a hurry to find a solution.  Did a bit of research and found very little online in regards to review.  So I tried on the jacket at Cyclegear and paid the man $159 – 20% (website sale honored by the local store).  My purchase included the jacket liner, Coax battery harness, single heat controller and supposedly a lifetime warranty for both jacket and controller.  The tags indicates 3 years but was reassured from the sales person that the brand is an in-house product (like Bilt) and will carry a lifetime warrant – just keep the receipt and tags.

First impression was that the jacket liner indeed feels like a liner.  Very thin, could not feel the wiring within the jacket compared to my older gen Gerbings vest.  The instructions that came with the Sedici Jacket and the controller were pretty much useless (and lots of misspellings) when it came down to how to wire connect the heat controller to the jacket.  Once again I went online to search for instructions on how to connect the jacket to make the magic happen.   So, this is how I figured it out.

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As you can tell, I’m not using the Sedici heat controller.   But more on that later.   The heat controller has an input and output cables.  The jacket has a fix coax male connector dangling from the jacket.   When you follow that up, you are met with a female Coax connection box facing upward.  You insert your Controller’s male plug into there and the controller’s female plugs into the jackets output jack (found in the little zipper compartment) found underneath the junction box.

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The remaining dangling Coax cable connects to the included battery harness you should have already installed on the bike.

Sedici Hotwired Controller

If you stick with the original controller, you get what is pictured above.   The issue I had with it was  – it has to be controlled within the jacket which makes riding and controlling the heat temps a little hard.   Some folks have positioned it facing downwards.  Coming out of the bottom of the jacket.  This way, you can control the temp without having to stop and unzip the jacket.

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I’m using a Warm & Safe wireless remote controller.  This allows me to tuck away the wired controller within the heated liner and adjust the temp using a small remote that I have Velcro-ed to my VFR.  Testing is still on going, we shall see if I come across any issues.   Carrying the Sedici controller and fuses just in case.

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The Sedici jacket liner works well as a replacement to the liner your jacket came with.  It breaks the wind well and the heating is almost instant.   I have to admit that the Gerbings vest heats up faster.   Sedici sizing is pretty true.   I wear a 42 jacket normally and the medium sizing fits pretty good.  Sedici adds elastic to the cuffs and on the sides of the liner.  You want to wear heated gear close to the body (I suggest you wear a long sleeve underarmor type of base layer).  This allows the heat to be felt and kept for a longer period  of time without having to crank up the temp.

Sedici Jacket Glove Connector

The liner is prewired to expand your heated comfort to your hands by way of heated gloves.   Sedici hid the cables to connect to your Sedici gloves (from what I read – the gloves come with built in temp controllers on the top of the gloves) into the top of the sleeves and zippered away when not in use.

Would I recommend this product?  I would say YES.  It’s hard to beat the warranty and the local store support you get from Cyclegear.  They are sprouting up everywhere lately.  They’re normally happy to help you with warranty issues or swap out a problem piece of gear without much fuss. (My experience anyhow).

I will post more on the jacket as I get to know and use it.

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My gear and motorcycle accessories out in the wild. My spill on how things work for me.

Firstgear Mesh Hi Boots

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After my Previous Cortech Solutions WP boots bit the dust – soles became unglued. Had to pickup some boots for the semi tropical weather we have in South Central Texas.

After a day of riding in temps topping 107 degrees, the boots provided a dry, comfortable and rigid enough fit to make my ride awesome. First impressions, sizing is slightly smaller than US industry sizing. I fall between a regular width 9.5 to 10 but these boots fit pretty good. One observation and it may fall with the particular pair I bought but the right boot fit a bit bigger than the left. Didn’t look like they were a demo set. Slightly stiff, but can see them breaking in easy for all day use. Would like to see stitched soles on motorcycles boots. But I guess the cost vs value thing.
With the amount of heat my Yamaha FJR1300 puts out, the height of the boot gave me just enough protection from the heat blasting thru my lower fairings. The soles had enough grip to maneuver my heavy sport tourer by foot. Vented comfort was felt earlier in the day at the pegs but slowly decreased as the day got warmer. They are easy to slip on and to remove. Zippers and Velcro worked fine. A quick note – make sure you examine the zipper as it connects to the boot. The demos I tried had one of the zipper unstitched. 2 year warranty – felt comfortable paying the retail $139 sticker price.