Lightweight Gear: General Protection Considerations
Naturally, you want any crash outcome with as little injury as possible. If your garment is destroyed in the process, fine. Like a spent car airbag or crumplable auto-body sacrifices itself. Many experienced riders feel it's better to have something lighter and more comfortably everyday-wearable, even if it means replacing or repairing the garment after experiencing a significant incident.
Aerostich lightweight gear is intended to provide ‘just enough’ for whatever kind of accident scenario can be reasonably foreseen. So there’s a double-layer seat on all suits and pants, and two layers everywhere else one might apply higher abrasion pressure during a spill. Beneath the elbow/shoulder/knee areas there’s also a curved plastic shell over the energy-absorbing impact material. All ‘light’ Aerostich gear also contain a hidden layer of tougher 500D Cordura, located just behind each armor section.
Still, ‘Lights’ are best for moderate speeds. Personally I am ok with them to about 65 mph, rationalizing I’d probably hit the pavement at less because of braking prior to crashing. For riders who spend a fair amount of time at 70 mph and above, which means a lot of freeway time, we still like 500D Cordura garments better. But also note we’ve received many reports about good outcomes after higher-speed crashes in 'Lights'…and zero reports they performed worse than expected. –Mr. Subjective, 2014
Photos by Sasha Leland. Read more of his story at aerostich.com/testimonials
Which Pants? Darien vs. AD1 vs. Utility...Regular vs. Light
AD1 pants fit me a little better than Darien pants. Their rise is less, so the waistband rides a little lower, and it’s slightly curved, which I also like better. The AD1’s included belt is a 1.5" Aerostich money belt, versus the stronger 1.5" side-release-buckled belt on the Darien pants. And compared to the Darien pant the AD1’s knees are ‘bent’ a couple of degrees more, which is nice for bikes with a little more rear-positioned footrests. The radius of this bend is a little bigger, too, so there is a bit more space for knee pads. Darien pants fit and feel a lot like Khaki's or regular pants and AD1's fit and feel a little more like jeans.
See the comparison...
Up to about 70ºf I wear my AD1 Lights over regular jeans or khaki pants. When it’s warmer they go over Aerostich cotton riding shorts…which we sew right here, too. The new Utility Pants fit like the AD1's, and have all the function, protection and styling of those, but without the full-length side-zips, belt, or reflective on the leg adjustment tabs. You can slip them on and wear them all day, whether logging hundreds of miles or just riding across town to run errands. Remove the TF3 kneepads and these super-tough pants are practical as everyday off-bike wear, too.