It doesn’t rain much here in Southern California, which can be both a blessing (humidity who? mosquitos?) and a curse (um…I’m thinking). Being American by birth, Southern by the grace of God, since transplanting to the Left Coast I’ve come to miss the dramatic beauty of thunderstorms and grass that’s green for more than two weeks. And I spend a lot more money on sunblock.
Since we never expect it to rain, it’s easy to get caught off-guard wearing nothing but mesh gear with saddlebags full of avocados instead of something practical, like a rainsuit (or bug repellant). We sometimes resort to testing the waterproofness of apparel and boots by standing in the shower, which feels pretty ridiculous—almost as bad as Gary and Wyatt wearing jeans in the shower with a nude Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science. Editor-in-Chief Mark Tuttle once even went to the trouble of constructing a rain simulator in his yard, with mixed results.
But rain it does, with dark clouds starting to form around Thanksgiving. They may be few and far between, but when it starts to come down, it can be a proper deluge. During our ride home the day after the annual media day at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, EIC Tuttle and I were treated to a downpour of biblical proportions, rain so heavy that visibility was reduced to almost zero and some apprehensive drivers pulled over to wait it out.
Having seen the forecast, I was prepared with a brand-new, never-worn Nelson-Rigg AS-3000 Aston 2-piece Rainsuit. Although the rainsuit is available in more subdued black/black or red/black, I opted for the high-viz jacket with black pants to make me stick out like a sore thumb. Before leaving the hotel, I slipped the 100-percent waterproof pants and jacket—made of polyester with PVC backing—on over my riding gear. Oversized, zippered leg gussets make it easy to slip the pants on over boots, and elasticized ankle cuffs and stirrups at the bottom and adjustable elastic suspenders and an elastic waistband at the top help them stay put. Heat-resistant material inside the legs protects the pants from hot engines and pipes, and similar material is sewn into the seat to prevent slip-sliding on a wet seat.
Although much thinner and not designed for abrasion resistance or to carry armor, the AS-3000 Aston jacket has many of the same features you’d find in a dedicated riding jacket, such as a full-length front zipper with a Velcro storm flap, a two-part breathable mesh and polyester lining, and Velcro adjustment straps at the cuffs, collar and waist (along with elastic at the back). The jacket has three large waterproof outer pockets and a fourth zippered pocket that doubles as a vent (when it’s not raining), and the pants have a waterproof thigh pocket. Beneath a flap across the back is a two-way zipper that allows a vent to be opened all the way or just partially. The collar is lined with soft corduroy, and snapped inside the collar is a rain hood. There’s even reflective stripes and piping on the jacket and pants to increase nighttime visibility.
A rainsuit’s primary function is to keep you dry, and the AS-3000 Aston passed the test with flying colors. It also served other valuable functions like blocking the wind, and in the case of the hi-viz jacket I selected, increasing my conspicuity. Even with today’s multifunctional, waterproof riding apparel, when it’s coming down hard, especially for hours or days on end, there’s no substitute for a dedicated rainsuit. This one goes the extra mile with useful features like suspenders, stirrups, waterproof pockets, reflective material and more. My only complaint is that the jacket and pants can’t be stuffed into built-in storage pouches as with some other rainsuits.
Nelson-Rigg’s AS-3000 Aston 2-piece Rainsuit retails for $89.95, is available in sizes S-4XL and is covered by a 2-year “no hassle” warranty.
For more information:
See your dealer or visit nelsonrigg.com