MC Tested: Aerostich Transit Leathers

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Joe Neric

There are leather ensembles designed for almost anything you can do on a motorcycle, unless you want to do almost everything. Then, there's the Aerostich Transit suit. If it looks to you like a basic black cowhide jacket and pants, look again. This one comes from the same people who came up with the first and arguably still the most practical textile suit yet: the Roadcrafter. Way back when, the company tagline was "Beyond Leathers." Now, the Transit suit is in the same position. According to founder/owner Andy Goldfine, Aerostich wouldn't have gotten into the leather business without something fundamentally different.

Pro Shell, an all-weather leather laminate from Gore-Tex, was just the thing. Bonding a micro-perforated 1.2mm cowhide to a Gore-Tex inner membrane, this material makes the rain suit obsolete. A proprietary two-stage treatment keeps moisture from getting in despite millions of microscopic holes that, with some help from that Gore-Tex, give body heat and moisture a way out. Beyond that, solar-reflective pigments used in the dying reduce the amount of heat absorbed from the sun, keeping it noticeably cooler than any other black leather jacket, even when zipped to a pair of Transit pants.

The combination is unbeatable, especially when you roll away from Ducati's Bologna home office under blue morning skies that turn ugly enough to dump three hours of torrential rain before lunch. While everyone else's leathers have absorbed their weight in water and won't dry out for days, the Transit suit is hardly damp. Not a drop got past that magic membrane into the perforated nylon lining. It's since shrugged off another dozen trips through domestic downpours without admitting any H2O. Being watertight also means there's just one zippered vent across the back of the jacket, which lets enough hot air out to keep things comfortable inside until the mercury is into triple digits. The Transit is cooler than all but the lightest summer-weight suits.

Other materials are top-notch. Molded-tooth waterproof zippers backstopped by waterproof fabric panels keep wind and water out. And there's comfortably flexible Aerostich TF armor in all the right places: elbows and shoulders and a back pad in the jacket; knees and hips in the pants.

The Transit's leather offers more high-speed abrasion resistance than the Roadcrafter's combination of 500-denier Cordura and ballistics nylon, but less cargo capacity in its seven pockets: five in the jacket, two in the pants. Knees, elbows and backside panels are 1.4mm thick and unperforated for extra strength where you need it. Contoured, waterproof Gore-Tex fabric panels increase flexibility where you're unlikely to touch down-like under the arms and behind the knees-and make moving around on the bike easier. The cut is somewhere between Roadcrafter-loose and form-fitting track leathers, with enough room underneath to layer-up for rides. Pants unzip from cuff to mid-thigh for easy entry and egress. Beyond that breathable Gore-Tex membrane, the suit carries no insulation. The jacket comes in men's sizes 38-52 and the pants in waist sizes 30-44.

Designed for riders who don't want to be mistaken for Valentino Rossi, the Transit suit is built to be out on the road years after he transitions to Formula One. After 12 months and thousands of road miles in all sorts of weather, our Transit suit looks like it did the day the UPS man brought it. Though less costly than some more feature-heavy suits cut from the new Gore-Tex leather, it's still on the pricy side. At least until you factor in money you won't have to pay for a rain jacket and pants. And the value of eating fine Bolognese pasta in warm, dry clothes while everyone else is dripping dry? Priceless.

Aerostich Transit Leather Suit
Price: $797 jacket, $697 pants

Contact: Aerostich RiderWearHouse
www.aerostich.com

Verdict 5 stars out of 5
One set of leathers fit for any street ride.

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