Aerostich failure, Darien Jacket and Elk Skin Roper Gloves

This post is copied from another post to make it easier to see the issues I had with Darien.

What broke or didn’t perform?

I had a few things that were not up to my requirements or simply didn’t make the grade on the 2012 Iron Butt Rally. People aren’t going to be happy with this example and I’m sure there will be complaints that I’m calling their baby ugly. Up front, I like Andy Goldfine, and my RoadCrafter circa 1999 is still like new after 100ks of miles. In fact I loved my RoadCrafter so much with all the leaky crotch, seeping seams, and general mayhem of those early RoadCrafters I bought a Darien. Brand new for Christmas this last year (2012) I was gifted by my wife a new Hi-Viz Darien and pair of Darien pants. So people will scream about Andy serving motorcycling, Aerostich as an icon, but my copy of their product isn’t up to significant use.

The jacket has about 30K miles on it in all weather. I’ve been wearing it pretty much exclusively since I got it at New Years 2013. A couple of my trips I wore my Roadcrafter and I’ve only only done about 40K miles so far this year. The jacket as in the picture below was washed and waterproofed as per Aerostich instructions before the Iron Butt Rally. It won’t come clean, and it is starting to show significant wear. Many people have discussed the Hi-Viz fabric preponderance to get dirty and stay dirty so I’m not to much worried about it being just me.



The dirt issues though at particular points around the jacket illuminate the wear points. Here in the following picture a point is wore by the neck ring on the helmet. The material in the picture below can be seen to abrade. This could be caused by an incorrect fit, but I think it is more likely a symptom the coat billowing.  Though I can’t see it while I’m riding, but that square is where the back pad attaches and it may be pushing the coat up into the helmet. I’m fairly sure that I’m fat, but I’m also pretty sure that I’m not that hunchbacked.


Another wear point can be seen at the bottom of the jacket. The wear points aren’t functionally going to cause problems but they are indicative of points to watch for future wear.


Inside the jacket it is getting much worse. There are points at the belt line that the internal liner is pilling and apparently wearing through.


At one point it definitely is wearing through. As the photograph shows below. In context these are small items of wear on a piece of apparel. A piece of apparel that with the liner costs $700 for the jacket alone. Include the Darien pants at around $300 and you have a thousand dollar suit. A suit that is costed at the top of the market, and the observed quality is an indicator how poorly I spent my money. People are fans of the Aerostich product line but I’m less impressed with this iteration of the product.


I also bought  the Elk Skin ropers with conductive thread from Aerostich. The thread in the fingers is there so you can use an iPhone or other type of tablet. I had been wanting these gloves for quite some time. The picture of the time worn, many mile, version of these in the Aerostich catalog suggest a long loving life of service. The gloves are comfortable. They soak up water faster than a sponge. And, they are coming apart at the seams. The sewn in thread on one finger is nearly unusable because the finger leather has worn rotated. The “haters” will say why not just roll your finger over? Maybe they will say, “Hey why you need to use a phone?” I use my phone as my second GPS and a notepad. In fact it is also my weather station, and provides traffic updates.


The issue is the thread is literally wearing out. Since the thread is on the pad of the thumb and fingers it is at a wear point of maximum use. The thumb on my motorcycles is the turn signal switch and cancel switch for both hands (BMW old style), and high, low, auxiliary lights on the left hand.


The index finger gets used extensively for the one finger application of the front brake and two fingers for the clutch


The gloves are still serviceable but are rapidly deteriorating. It was starting to look so bad that I picked up a replacement set of gloves during the Iron Butt Rally so if the fingers finally let go (seams, stitching or leather failed) I would have something to wear. I made it through the rally using these gloves but I don’t know how long they are going to last. Whether just appearance issues or actual functional issues they are not inspiring confidence.


I expect to catch some hell, but I tried to give the best indication and evidence I can of the experience I had from different items I used on the Iron Butt Rally. We are as riders banned from having sponsors so every penny I spent on bike, prep, fees, gas, hotel, and food came out of my pocket. I got zero compensation from any motorcycle group or manufacturer. The people who love Aerostich products are going to complain but I can only offer the evidence of a product that did not meet up with my previous experiences. This is stuff I spent MY money on.

In the interest of full disclosure I had started noticing these issues with the Darien prior to the rally itself. It was so bad that when I went to order my wife a Darien and they said it would take six to eight weeks to get one for her (though it was listed as in stock) my wife said skip it. She didn’t want to get something that after only a few months (this was in early April) started looking dingy that fast. This was similar to how she ordered my Darien in Late November for Christmas delivery but it didn’t arrive until after News Years. In her case ordering mine, the Darien showed as in stock but then she was told it would be six to eight weeks. So, I fully accept that I was predisposed to find fault and have tried to keep that in mind as I wrote my criticisms. I have tried to offer up evidence and photographic proof but fully expect to be vilified. I can only say I won’t be replacing Darien or RoadCrafter from Aerostich. I will likely be selling it a premium to one of the Aerostich faithful.

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