Aerostich Leather Transit Jacket
by David Samborski
Nothing says, “I ride a motorcycle” more than the sleek black leather jacket, icon of generations of moto-enthusiasts around the world. Would Marlon Brando have had the same appeal if he were wearing a nylon windbreaker on his Triumph? Ask any woman – they love a man in a leather jacket.
Sexy aside, leather makes some fine riding gear. It cuts the wind and is warm on cold rides and offers excellent abrasion resistance. Leather ages nicely, softening up with time for that well-worn, comfortable fit. It’s not without its shortfalls, though. It can soak up copious amounts of water in the rain, takes an eternity to dry out and subsequently can acquire that, “Hey, what’s that smell?” stench. Heat management can be a problem on long rides on sunny days.
Over a year ago, I ponied up for Aerostich’s Transit jacket, a high-tech take on the traditional leather. Aerostich claims it to be completely waterproof and dries rapidly. A GORE-TEX® inner membrane keeps you dry on the inside. The leather is perforated with tiny little holes all over, allowing it to breathe and dry out. Sleek, removable TF armor pads in the elbows, shoulders and back protect your tender parts should you contact the roadway in any way besides upright. A safety-conscious broad reflective stripe covers the back vent, openable with dual pulls on a rubberized zipper. Some stretchy high-tech fabric is incorporated under the armpits and down the inside of the arms, allowing plenty of ventilation yet keeps you dry. It works too!
I really appreciate simple things. That’s what I love about this jacket. There really are no frills, just well-executed, functional quality. Missing are the traditional adjustable straps, buckles, and lapels (thank goodness), keeping it simple to zip up and go. The cuff zippers and Velcro® cinches work well, adjusting the sleeves to open and close for airflow venting as desired. The instructions show how to clamp the sleeve bunching to “set” the folds of leather to your forearms, and it’s needed. The leather is pretty stiff; another sign of quality, telling me it’ll be around for a long time to come.
What’s it like to ride with? Even after over a year of riding, both on and off-road, mine is still not broken in. It’ll take awhile. I haven’t ridden it through the car wash yet, but as to the rain I’ve ridden through, it stands as claimed – no wetness anywhere inside. The underarm vent material works almost too good. It’s the only spot that gets a little chilled on a cold ride – certainly no wet underarms when that cute gal says “Hey there! Can I have a ride?”
While the Transit comes in plenty of sizes, it isn’t customizable. It is sure to fit all but the oddest of bodies. I would’ve appreciated a taller collar, as my neck can get a bit chilled. The front zipper draws up all the way to the top, but the collar is lower in the front to avoid any neck scratching. A burly football player with no neck may have to leave it unzipped. As with all things Areostich, it’s designed to fit while riding the bike. It may seem a little bunchy in the shoulders when standing and posing around town, but when on the bike, it fits like it should. There’s a springy drawstring through the inside lining. Pull and lock with the spring-cord locks to draw the jacket in around the torso – works nicely. The price tag is nothing to scoff at, but you’re getting what you pay for: traditional looks with high-tech functions.
I look forward to many miles with the Transit, making the girls feel a little “girly” when I pull up. Sex factor? Yes, leather does that. Don’t believe it? The very first day I picked it up on the way up the north shore, I walked into the restaurant/bar that night to meet with all the friends, wearing the new jacket of course. A cute gal at the bar caught my eye; we exchanged some smiles. Later exchanged just a few words, and even though I didn’t ask for it, she gave me her phone number. All the friends stared in disbelief, as I looked at them all and said: “It’s the jacket, I’m telling you!” True story. Now, if I cut back on eating out all the time, I can find a way to afford the pants too and be just like Jim Morrison.
The Aerostich Transit Jacket. Be sexy and dry, but not smelly.