Let’s just address the elephant in the room right off the bat. The Del Rosario F-Light Coveralls aren’t for everybody. With its fighter-pilot-turned-racecar-driver-turned-plumber motif, it’s an interesting design, to be sure. Half of you probably think these are atrocious, while the other half thinks they’re weird. Still another half probably digs them (but that demographic skews young and may not read online reviews anyway). Odd math aside one thing’s for sure: you’re looking at them.
Though on the surface their products seem similar, Del Rosario isn’t going after the Aerostich market. Who’s the intended market? Just read this snippet, direct from the Del Rosario website:
Designed to complement rather than replace your riding wardrobe, the F·light is for the commuter on the enduro, monster, scrambler or scooter as well as the expert rider who’s got the gear but doesn’t feel like wearing all of it while meeting friends for dinner.
Admit it. You probably fit at least one of those descriptions. I do, which is why I reached out to the company in the first place. Two versions of the coverall are available, with waterproofing being done to one and not the other. Being a Southern California resident, I opted for the non-waterproof version since rain isn’t much of a thing in this drought-stricken landscape. What I got was a lightweight coverall made from ripstop cotton material in the main chassis, with mesh ventilation down the sides. Abrasion-resistant aramid fabric lines the elbows, knees, and butt areas. Inside, there are pockets in the elbow, knee, and back areas to accept CE-rated armor (they sell both level 1 and level 2 armor, separately), and on the outside, there are even more pockets; two across the chest, one on the sleeve, one across each thigh, and two more hand pockets lined with a soft fleece-like material to keep your digits warm and cozy. All this is to say storage is not lacking.
Speaking of storage, the coveralls also come with a dedicated carry bag you can sling around your shoulder. So once you get to wherever you’re going you can quickly doff the suit, roll it up, throw it in the bag, and either toss it over your shoulder or store it away until you need it again. It’s a convenient protective solution for the rider who understands the importance of gear, but doesn’t want to be burdened with more traditional forms of protection.
Riding With It
While the thought behind the F-Light coveralls is good, the pressing question is how well they actually perform. Being a coverall that goes over your normal clothes, it’s natural to expect a looser fit. Once on, the big distinguishing factor compared to, say, an Aerostich Roadcrafter, is how light it feels. Again, the two suits fill different needs, and that’s obvious when comparing materials for each. The ripstop cotton on the coveralls feels nowhere near as robust as the Roadcrafter’s poly threads but is also the reason for the lightness. Originally, I was sent an early pre-production unit with the knee armor basically resting on my thigh once I was in the seated position. To Del Rosario’s credit, the situation was rectified quickly and a new suit was sent as a replacement with the armor residing in all the right places.
Velcro closures at the neck, wrists and ankles keep those areas closed, but my main gripe is with the inseam. While fine when standing normally, once the pant legs ride up in the seated position, the leg is exposed from the lower calf down. I got around this issue with tall road racing boots, but how many people looking for this kind of suit would actually do that? Del Rosario assures me that inseam length is being extended on current production runs for this very reason.
UPDATE: After giving Del Rosario my feedback about the inseam, they sent me another, modified suit with a 34-inch inseam, in contrast to the 30-inch inseam version I was originally sent. The longer inseam makes all the difference, with the lower leg no longer exposed and standard riding shoes now sufficient. Del Rosario will now offer both the 30-inch and 34-inch versions.
Otherwise, for tooling around in SoCal’s warm summer, I was fairly happy with the F-Light coveralls. The mesh ventilation down the sides flows plenty of air, which is never really a concern considering the ripstop cotton is fairly porous in itself. If you’re reading carefully though, that should be a huge clue not to wear the coveralls in cold weather. But if you have to, the loose fit does allow for a sweater or two to be worn underneath.
Honestly, I’m not kidding myself when it comes to the F-Light’s abrasion resistance. Short of the aramid fabric, I can’t imagine the rest of the suit’s chassis lasting long in a battle with road rash. Then again, if you’re the kind of rider who wouldn’t have worn gear otherwise, this is a huge step up. The pockets provide a ton of storage space, the look is eye-catching, and maybe best of all, the price isn’t egregious – $328 (not including the armor, which you can buy a la carte).
It’s important to remember Del Rosario is a small company targeting a rather specific customer base. Practically by definition, that means the F-Light coveralls won’t appeal to everyone. Hell, it probably won’t apply to most. But it’s an effective solution, if for nothing else but to raise awareness to young hot heads that you can ride a motorcycle and wear protection without compromise.
Available in black, blue, red, yellow, sand, and royal blue, in sizes ranging from S-2XL, go to the Del Rosario website for more details.