I don’t normally get excited about gear announcements, generally saving my enthusiasm for after I’ve actually seen (and, ideally, tested) something. But I’m making an exception here, because you know this kit is good.
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The Aerostich Transit 3 waterproof leather two-piece suit is set to arrive in October, the latest generation of an exalted riding suit that has been out of Aerostich’s line-up for a frustrating six years. I say frustrating because I have long been in love with the suit. A few years ago, when I finally had the money to buy one, I was told that it had been discontinued, because availability of the suit’s various materials had become unreliable. I was heartbroken.
The bespoke Hideout jacket and pants that I ended up getting instead were chosen in no small part because of their aesthetic similarity to the Transit. I’ve been happy with my Hideout gear, because it’s durable as hell (it still looks relatively new after three years of use, which includes a highway-speed crash), but I’ll admit I still pine for the Transit. My Hideout gear isn’t waterproof; it doesn’t claim to be cooler in the sun than other leather kit.
Originally introduced in 2008, the Transit has a quite a lot of fans; check the interwebs for myriad glowing reviews. Aerostich says this third iteration maintains all the previous generation’s features, but “uses an all-new 1.2mm perforated, waterproof-breathable, seam-sealed leather.
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“Compared to the original it’s… a bit softer, more comfortable and easier to break in.”
Previous Transit suits relied on the presence of a Gore-Tex liner to keep riders dry, sealed beneath the suit’s perforated leather. Aerostich’s media release isn’t clear as to whether that remains the case, but its claims of a “fully seam-sealed micro-perforated breathable-waterproof leather [that] contains a permanent impregnation” sounds pretty similar.
Thinking about that, however, the first concern I had was this: if the suit is waterproof thanks to a lining beneath the leather, that means the leather will sponge up water, right? Leather generally takes a long time to dry; when I got stuck in a thunderstorm while wearing my 55 Collection Hard jacket it took three days of hanging in my parents’ air-conditioned home before it was dry enough to wear. Apparently, though, this is not an issue with the Transit 3.
Aerostich says the aforementioned “permanent impregnation” of the leather means it won’t absorb water.
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“It does not become heavy during long wet rides,” claims the Duluth, Minnesota-based company. “And after the rain ends it dries almost immediately. You’ll ride drier through rain, fog or misty conditions.”
Meanwhile, Aerostich says the Transit will also impress when the sun is shining, claiming the suit feels “feels noticeably cooler and more comfortable under a hot direct sun compared to traditional leathers.”
The suit comes equipped with Aerostich’s own TF-5 armor in the elbow, shoulder, knee, hip and back, and is available in a range of sizes almost as varied as those offered for the iconic Roadcrafter*.
You can probably guess that, like the Roadcrafter, the Transit ain’t cheap. The jacket and pants are available separately, but if you buy them as a set Aerostich will give you a discount, bringing the suit’s price down to $1,784. That’s definitely not pocket change, but compare it to the Rukka Aramos suit (strangely known as the Coriace in Europe). A waterproof leather two-piece suit that’s very similar to the Transit in style and function, just the jacket will set you back $1,249. Add the $1,149 pants and you’re forking out an eye-watering $2,398.
I suspect both brands’ takes on the waterproof leather riding suit will last forever, but why pay more? As I say, I’m pretty happy to see the Transit return, though saddened that I won’t be one of the first in line to buy one. $1,784 is less than $2,398 but it’s still a lot of moolah. Some penny pinching is in order. One day. Meanwhile, if you happen to get one of these suits before me, please get in touch and let me know what you think of it. I’ll live vicariously through you.
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* Unlike the Roadcrafter, however, the Transit is not made in the United States. The media release from Aerostich says only that the garment is “imported,” so I have written to the company for clarification. As soon as I hear back from Aerostich I’ll update this article.