By Tim Erickson175_Roadcrafter

Who among us hasn’t been on a ride and determined they are wearing the wrong stuff? My riding closet hosts both a one-piece Aerostich Roadcrafter suit as well as a leather jacket and Aerostich Darien pants combo. Though I am free to choose either gear for every ride I take, inevitably there are days when I wish I had taken the other option. Clearly, there are pros and cons to each type.

One piece or two, if it’s isn’t comfortable and offering free range of movement, it’s either the wrong size or wrong cut. With the high cost of quality riding gear, I’m betting I’m not the only one who cued up the P90x workout series to help ensure my waist still fits comfortably inside my riding pants – whereas I have room to grow in my one-piece with built in waist adjustments. Is that advantage one?

If you’re on the fence about what gear will be line-itemed on your next Visa card statement, maybe these other advantages will help shape your decision.


Advantage: one-piece

If protection is of utmost import to you, this is the easiest gear to favor. Look no further than a motorcycle racing rule book to determine that a one-piece suit offers the best crash protection. Motorcycle leathers suitable for closed course combat do come in two piece versions, but they include a full-circumference, heavy-duty zipper to marry the two. A textile suit may survive one and only one crash, but the one-piece design has similar advantages.

The obvious concern is that a separate jacket and pants are just that – separate, which means during a rough and tumble with our glorious earth, its various paved or natural coverings can do our exposed bodies harm. Even zip-together two-piece pairings are prone to failure. One 175_DarienJacketpiece suits also have better protection from the elements. Rare is the two piece combo that completely eliminates all mid-section drafts that can make it hard to regulate your body temp.

Comfort & Fit:

Advantage: one-piece

Not only is this category infinitely subjective, but it’s also circumstantial. Many riders find greater overall riding comfort in a one-piece as two piece suits gap, pinch and wrinkle as you move about the saddle. And the waist area of motorcycle pants rarely mate well with any street clothes wardrobe that includes a belt. Get to a destination in a one-piece and the clothes you’re wearing underneath look freshly pressed. Minnesota’s own Aerostich company markets its Roadcrafter one-piece suits to business moto-commuters. Call me a sucker for the marketing, but I will happily verify the claim.

When isn’t a one piece more comfortable? Vents are most effective when in motion and utterly ineffective when in a slow rush hour traffic crawl in the urban jungle. The same sealer effect from the elements is a heat trap without the rush of wind streaming past your underarms.

Versatility & Convenience

Advantage: two-piece

175_DarienPantsA two piece pairing allows greater flexibility for layering as well as convenience when off the bike. Stop somewhere for lunch? Ditch the jacket and you’re reasonably comfortable wearing the pants. Stopping at the same establishment in a one piece and strip it off, you’re either toting its heft around or finding a place to secure it from theft.

A quick beat around town offers a jacket-only option as well – if a one-piece is your only gear, you might find yourself hesitant to suit up for a short ride or motorcycle friendly errand.


Advantage: two-piece.

Parking your bike and strolling into any public place or even stopping at a fuel stop while wearing a one-piece is a lesson in humility. “Aren’t you hot in that?” and “Is that a snowmobile suit?” are questions difficult to avoid from inquisitive riders and non-riders alike. While it’s a platform to educate others on safe and happy riding, defending your wardrobe gets tiresome. It’s a lot more fun talking about your adventurous spirit, no?


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