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Customer Reviews (74)
- Necessary EquipmentReview by T.W. Day
I'm getting gas in Montana. It's only 10AM, but the temperate has ripped past 95oF and is still climbing. It will top 105oF before sunset. The moment I get off of the bike, I pull off my gloves, helmet, and Darien jacket. A couple on a Harley laugh at me and the guy asks me, "Don't you get hot in that gear?" Neither of the two wore helmets and their riding gear consisted of leather vests over tee-shirts, jeans, designer boots, and bandanas.
"I'm fine, as long as I'm moving," I said.
"Seems like a lot of clothing on a hot summer day. Couldn't you get by in something a little more comfortable?" the lady says.
"I don't believe in magic," is the only reply I can think of.
They wandered away, probably confused by my response. It's the truth, though. I don't carry a rabbit's foot, a crucifix, a picture of Jimmy Carter in my wallet, or have a Suzuki tattoo on my butt. I don't believe in magic. I do believe in preparation and luck, but I only have control of the first of those ingredients. So I practice my riding skills, wear good gear, and leave the luck to whatever is in control of that aspect of my life. My Aerostich Darien suit is the best full-body gear I've ever owned and I wore it non-stop for 26 days and almost 10,000 miles this past summer.
This piece of equipment has received so many positive reviews that it is probably pointless to add another. However, I feel an obligation to tell the story of my Darien riding gear. I "tested" the Darien suit in a 45-55mph crash on 4" of arrowhead shaped rocks and the suit held up better than my helmet. I can't say I came away from the crash undamaged, but I didn't lose a drop of blood. From the waist down, I was completely unharmed. The shoulder armor absorbed most of the impact and the 500 Denier Cordura barely shows any evidence of abrasion, even though I slid thirty feet on my side and back on that godawful road surface. I crashed on the 9th day of a 30 day trip and my Darien suit is responsible for my being able to go on with my lifetime-dream motorcycle trip to Alaska.
I spend a lot of my year riding in the rain. Since sometime in the mid-1980's, I've covered myself in an Aerostich Roadcrafter one-piece suit, but the GORE-TEX® has long abandoned the waterproofing realm and I've "grown" a bit in the last 25 years. I bought the Roadcrafter when I lived in California when a local dealer recommended I look into Aerostich because I was "crazy" enough to want to ride year around in L.A.'s insufferable winter weather. Some folks say I look like an over-stuffed gray sausage in my old Roadcrafter. Last season, I too often became a wet, over-stuffed gray sausage when I got caught in the rain. I hauled out my old Belstaff rain suit for emergencies for the rest of the year, but I decided to upgrade to a more modern Aerostich.
In January 2007, I drove to Duluth and got fitted for a new Darien two-piece suit. I picked the Darien over the Roadcrafter because Mr. Subjective said the Darien is more waterproof. Since I expected to be rained on for a good bit of the 12,000 miles I planned to be on the road, I went for waterproof-ness over style and convenience. I bought whole Darien rig, including the standard liner. I should have gone for the electric liner, but I can always add that to the garage closet later.
After decades of breaking in my old gear, I wasn't looking forward to dealing with the stiffness of the new suit. My old Roadcrafter is so worn and worn-out that it will wad up into a ball small enough to stuff into a tailbag or a GIVI E21 side case with room to spare for lots of other stuff. The Darien suit takes up all of both E21 cases. The stiffness relaxed with use, but storage has not become less of an issue. That is the high cost of better protection.
After wearing the Darien suit almost every day for two months, it became much more flexible. After two years of wear, the suit is part of me. The Darien pants-jacket combination is warmer, drier, more visible, more versatile, and tougher than anything I've ever worn. I'm still discovering pockets (at least 9, not counting the liner) in the Darien Jacket. I'm pretty sure there is a cup holder somewhere on the jacket.
I often used the large front pockets to store a video camera, a still camera, and lenses on my Alaska trip. I was rained on for 20 days on a 27-day trip stayed mostly dry for the whole trip. I am the polar opposite of a "pencil neck geek" body type and my one complaint is that the Velcro'd neck gusset is too short when the collar of the jacket liner is added to my neck circumference (18 1/2"). When the Velcro lets go, water dribbles down the front of the jacket and the back of my neck. Not much water gets in this way, but enough to let me know that I'm riding in cold weather.
Aerostich has offered to extend the Velcro tab, but I have to give up the jacket for a few days for that to happen and my desire to be perfectly dry hasn't overwhelmed my affection for this jacket. When I'm zipped up, hook-and-looped, belt and shock-cord adjusted down, I'm water, wind, dust, and abrasion resistant and secure in all ride-able weather and some weather that a smart person would only observe while sipping whiskey in front of a fireplace.
At each end of weather extremes, the jacket's air flow design is good enough that I'm comfortable on a 90oF or a 25oF day. I'm not flexible enough to unzip the jacket's under arm ventilation without removing the jacket, but I've seen it done. A combination of open sleeves, under arm vents, and the large rear jacket vent allows for a lot of air flow. When you stop moving, it gets hot in the Darien suit fast, but when I'm moving I'm comfortable.
The Darien pants have fewer features than the jacket. The pants are equally waterproof, abrasion resistant, and adjustable for comfort and fit. There are two deep front pockets and a single back pocket closed with a hook-and-loop patch. The TF2 armor is held securely in place where it protects the rider's knees and a good bit of the shin. The zippers are on the outside of the leg, as are the Scotchlite™ covered ankle adjustment gussets, so they don't hang up on kickstands or footpegs like another brand's gear (left unnamed). The zippers are well covered by inner and outer flaps for weather protection. A heavy-duty removable belt is included so you have someplace to hang your Leatherman case.
Last, but among the best, is the Darien liner. It is removable and becomes a very nice free-standing insulating jacket when separated from the Darien jacket. Nylon on one side and fleece on the other, it's a good looking casual windbreaker away from the bike. One of its seven pockets doubles as a stuff sack, including belt loops so you can carry it like a fanny pack. The liner is a highlight of the Darien suit, in my opinion: comfortable, practical, good-looking, and compact.
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Magazine
firstname.lastname@example.org (Posted on 9/15/09)
- Still have itReview by Vernon
- I got one of these about 1995. I eventually got to large for it but when I use to wear it I NEVER got wet in the rain. Since I'm not very tall 5'5.5 (on a good day) the XXL are a little long for me so my next will most likely be the top to the two part Roadcrafter. (Posted on 9/12/09)
- I've had my Darien jacket...Review by William Stewart
- I've had my Darien jacket for 10 years and about 15,000 miles of riding with it on-don't wear it during summer. It is a great quality product. It's not quite as blue as it used to be, but that's no big deal. Ventilation is great-it's comfortable in the warmer months as long as you're moving. But when it gets above 90 degrees, I switch to an air mesh jacket for summer. I sweat so much I become a water sprinkler in Houston's hot and humid climate.---And you'll never wish for more pockets. If I didn't carry a thermos to keep my water cold, it could just about make my tank bag obselete! (Posted on 4/28/09)
- Generally a great jacket ...Review by bobby klee
- Generally a great jacket but two problems recently, the inner zip of the two wold not "do up", easily sorted. The second problem has been the velcro on the back protector has somehow worn a hole in the lining ... corrected by swapping over the smaller back protector for the racing/track one - the velcro wasn't correctly positioned and I didn't notice until too late! (Posted on 10/17/08)
- I've had my Darien set fo...Review by Mark Kowalski
I've had my Darien set for almost 6 years now. I got the hi-viz slime green jacket shortly after it was offered. Although there are the constant questions of whether I'm a firefighter (perhaps you should offer a "Not a Firefighter" patch for the back?), the visibility of this is really awesome. I'd rather be visible and ugly than beautiful and dead. Road grime does show up fairly quickly on the hi-viz but unless you never wash the jacket, grime doesn't really affect the visibility.
OK, one crocodile tear complaint - toooo many zippered compartments! I'm always misplacing things inside the jacket.
And two real complaints...
First, the neck closure is difficult to secure out of the way when you don't want the neck closed off. The closure tab could use hook-and-loop on both sides. Trying to get the tab under the keep-it-out-of-the-way loop on the left side is difficult after the jacket is on.
Second, without a windshield, lots of cold air gets through this same closure when it's fastened closed. The fleece liner does not have enough overlap to prevent this. You need to wear additional insulation on your upper chest/lower neck to keep the chill out.
Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic suit and well worth the cost. I wore it two Februaries ago on a 700 mile, 1 day trip from northern CA to WA. Weather was just awful, rained hard for half the trip and for the other half the air temperature was near freezing. That suit got me through the trip warm and dry!
Mark (Posted on 10/17/08)
- There's not much I can sa...Review by Douglas Hyde
- There's not much I can say (positive or negative) that hasn't already been said in the kazillion of reviews in the motopress over the years. The fact that despite an exhaustive search for a replacement for my 12-year old "old grey" Darien, I recently purchased a "new grey" Darien, should speak volumes. Simply put: nothing else on the market works as well. (Posted on 10/17/08)
- Returning to Indiana from...Review by Paul J. Cain
Returning to Indiana from an HSTA national rally in Avon, Colorado, three weeks ago, I had my first accident in 40 years of riding. I was wearing my 10 year old Darien suit.
I dozed off on an arrow straight Western Kansas farm road surrounded by wheat fields. July was harvest time but there was very little traffic. I just remember riding along at a steady 70 miles an hour for some time and the next thing I remember was hitting the ground hard, bouncing and hitting repeatedly for at least four or five times before coming to a stop.
My two week old bike was totaled. I felt very fortunate to come out with only a broken ankle and not a scratch or bruise on my body thanks to your great suit and my full face helmet.
My first "Stitch" was a two piece Roadcrafter, then this Darien (which got me up to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and back, and now I think I'll retire the old faithful Darien, which didn't have a single tear, and try one of your new one-piece Roadcrafters.
My first broken bone at 69 years of age doesn't seem that bad considering all the riding I have done and as soon as I get this cast off my leg, me and my new Roadcrafter will get back on the road. Thanks again for making such a great suit. (Posted on 10/17/08)
- I've worn the Darien & th...Review by Lynn Overbaugh
I've worn the Darien & the AD1 pants in some real toad chokers & in a few 14-16 hr days of steady drizzle & stayed completely dry.With the liner in I've found the jacket to be plenty warm down to 35F for my daily 40 mile commute to work. Add another layer of fleece & I'm comfortable into the high teens.
Yes, the collar is a pain & the armor gets hard as bricks when it's cold, but if this one wears out, I'll get another. For LD riding I wear my Roadcrafter 1 piece but overall the Darien gets the most use. (Posted on 10/17/08)
- My father is a long time ...Review by Peyton Youngblood
- My father is a long time user of both the Darien Jacket, the Darien Pants, and the full protective suit, as well as various other articles from AeroStitch. Recently, he was in an accident with another car. He broke his shoulder blade and cracked a rib. He shredded his riding pants and one arm of his jacket. He is home now recovering. Thanks to these amazing products, I did not have to go visit him in the hospital , or at the morgue. He is always saying to me how good these things all are, and I never knew until he had his accident how good they really are. Last time I talked to him, he said that it was worth every penny he spent, and that he does not regret the decision for one minute. I plan to start riding soon, and the first thing I buy aside from my helmet will be a Darien jacket, probably in Hi-Viz color as to be very visible. Thank you to yall for saving my dad from worse injuries in his accident, and I am sure you will be hearing from him soon about it too. (Posted on 8/17/08)
- I realize that I've had m...Review by Kelvin
- I realize that I've had my black Darien jacket for almost 20 years! It's still in great shape, but I think it's time to treat myself to a new blue one. Having just bought the BMW R1150GS Adventure Special Edition (which has a blue seat and trimimngs) a new blue Darien will be the biz. Great product. Thank you. (Posted on 7/21/08)