I've got the Darien "Light" jacket and pants. In retrospect I think I should have gone with the heavier material in a regular Darien or Roadcrafter. But it still works well and is a great suit.
You asked what makes it different than other moto gear, so here's a short list:
- Design. These are probably the most intelligently designed moto clothes I've ever used. The pockets are all in the right places, the neck strap actually adjusts and works well, the zips close the cuffs but leave the adjustment just right, etc. etc. etc. They are clearly a) designed by people who ride, and b) refined over time with suggestions from owners
- Support. This begins with ordering, where you get real live, knowledgeable human beings (remember them?) who help you with your order and make sure the suit fits right. Then, if something bad happens (like it did to me) they will repair your suit for a very reasonable fee - I had the entire left arm of my jacket replaced. Plus the did some "upgrades" to the jacket to bring it up to current jacket specs. Nice. I think if you factor in the repairability, the 'stitch comes out being competitive vs. buying a new suit should something happen to your Cortech, A*, etc. and you need to replace it.
- Quality. The Darien has no crotch zipper, so it is waterproof, period. When I first got it, I put some seam sealer on the inside, mostly as a matter of habit, but I suspect I didn't really need to do that. Every detail on the jacket is nicely done, from the quality of the zipper pulls, to the reflective stuff that doesn't crack or chip.
To be balanced, here are the downsides:
- Cost. Yeah, they're expensive.
- Loose fit means the armor can slide around. Probably true with most textile jackets. The fact you can layer underneath means they aren't snug like a leather jacket, and in theory the armor could rotate around, although that wasn't my experience, but it was a low speed crash.
- Too many pockets! Seriously, you can spend 15 minutes hunting for something in a 'stitch because there are so many places you could have put it! [laugh]
Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth. If it fits well, I say go for it.