The Belstaff Trialmaster is an iconic piece of motorcycling apparel. Its waxed cotton has been protecting bikers, racing car drivers, adventurers, Marxists and my dad from the elements since 1948.
Belstaff supplied British troops with tents, capes, groundsheets and equipment through two world wars. Malcolm Campbell, the habitual land and water speed world record breaker, wore Belstaff, as did T.E. Lawrence on his Brough Superior. Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart, the famous aviators, wore Belstaff. The list of motorcycling champions is endless. Then there was Jackie Stewart, and Chris Bonnington. The two heavyweight cultural icons Che Guevara, and Steve McQueen, both wore the Belstaff Trialmaster.
It's the Trialmaster that's the signature jacket the Belstaff brand gravitates around, and that's because it's perfect for purpose. Made from heavy, waxed cotton, it's tough, warm and waterproof, with natural ease of use. The pockets are cavernous, waterproof and secure, with brass press-studs. The buckles are sturdy, not fiddly, with the prong always easily finding the brass eyelets. The more you wear it, the better it gets.
The small Phoenix logo on the arm, the union flag discreetly tagged on the left breast pocket, and the purposeful Belstaff logo on the right, add just enough detail to an otherwise understated jacket.
These jackets even have a distinctive smell. The Obsessive's Trialmaster (above) is at least fifteen years old, and feels better than ever to wear.
With the decline of British manufacturing, the Belstaff brand was sold to the Labelux group in 2011. They have successfully reinvigorated the brand, whilst celebrating its heritage, and, thankfully, still produce these amazing jackets, which are now manufactured in Italy.