Sunday, February 13, 2011

Belstaff: old skool Trialmaster Professional

It was around 1981, my riding buddy Jim and I were riding around Vancouver and generally enjoying our day on two wheels. The previous year we both purchased matching bikes, brand new Suzuki GS1000L's, mine in Burgundy and his was Blue. Back then we mainly rode around the lower mainland. Riding consisted of merely commuting to work and weekend excursions to Harrison, Horseshoe Bay or perhaps Bellingham. Two years earlier I purchased a new GS400L, then the next year I upgraded to the 4 cylinder GS550L, and then I traded for the GS1000L. Of course, all these bikes were the same colour, burgundy. I also had a matching burgundy helmet with gold stripes. I don't know what happened but the dealer had just received a new shipment of Suzuki's which included the GS1100L which was the fastest production bike of the year with TSCC and 4 valves per cyclinder. I had to have it and what good fortune that it arrived in burgundy, my preferred colour. So with the GS1000L not even two months old I rode away with another new bike. I sucessfully upgraded to my 4th bike without the CEO knowing. It sort of looked something like this . . .

(facsimilie taken from the internet)

Mine had engine case covers, slipsteamer windscreen, oil cooler, throttle lock and sissy bar. It also came standard with tachometer and GPI: gear position indicator. It had more than enough power for me.

We had just finished breakfast and decided to visit the local BMW dealer who was having a clearance sale. This was Phillip Funnel who had moved from their long time East Hastings Street location to Victoria Drive just north of Hastings Street.

This was where I bought my first riding jacket, a Belstaff Trialmaster professional

(faded white tag is still affixed)

There was nothing special about riding apparel back then, no armour in the elbows or shoulders, nothing but a waxed cotton jacket which had to be oiled in order to make it waterproof. The jacket was fine when it was new but as it accumulated road grime it had a distinctive smell. Because of the smell I didn't really use it that much as I must have had other leather jackets to wear. I even had a favourite blue jean type denim jacket


There was a Belstaff logo on the right pocket, and also on the left shoulder


My jacket is in very good condition considering that it is over 30 years old. There are virtually no wear marks, all buttons are there, including the original zipper, but some stitching on the lower part of the zipper needs re-inforcement .


My style has a corduroy type of neck liner which snaps around your neck to keep the wind out


The liner is not removeable and has a checkered pattern


I am a hoarder and in the midst of trying to get rid of stuff I no longer need . I find that it's difficult to dispose of stuff that may have value but I was thinking of going through my closet and culling things that I have not worn for a year or so, which included this jacket, until I saw this . . .


I had no idea that people were looking for vintage motorcyle attire. I did a quick search on eBay and found a couple of listings

Here is a new reproduction, Made in Italy


and here is an original used one from the 70's


I had no idea i was sitting on a gold mine. Better than RED fishing shorts, EH ?


Also Geoff down in Coromandel was interested in photos of the Caterham Lotus 7 . The only Caterham, Lotus Super 7 facility outside of the UK is in Duncan, BC. The car is handbuilt by David Saville Peck. Duncan is located about an hour north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. I have had the pleasure of visiting the factory a few years ago and watched a car under construction. Recently (during August 2010) there was a Lotus 7 gathering at a private residence in North Vancouver where I presumed that David Saville Peck would be in attendance. I was hoping to find him there so I could snap a few photos, as I am not a Lotus owner and probably be kicked out. He was there and I asked permission from the host so all was okay. Here is the website for David's facility

I also have another friend who is currently building a Lotus 7 replicar so maybe by the time Geoff gets here we could go over and see his progress. I believe that the chassis' have already been welded up. By chassis' I mean that he and his friends are building 3 at the same time, and they are going to use them for slaloming.

Here is a teaser photo of a yellow Lotus Super 7, for my buddy Geoff in NZ



  1. Bob - what a fantastic-looking jacket! Hardly looks used at all, whereas mine was shiny with a biological layer and the smell would fell an ox. No wonder my love life was crap at that age. So are you going to part with it? does your lovely wife know its value ;-).

    Lovely Caterham!!! In NZ, Chevron make both lookalike and enclosed body jobs:
    and Fraser just the traditional ones. At least I've got a fall-back when bikes come to an end :-)

  2. Let you in on a secret, burgundy is my favorite color for things such as bikes and cars.

    Fun to see your old-school jacket. Love seeing the logo too. Occupational hazard of being a graphic designer...I got a thing for logos. You know you'll just kick yourself later if you get rid of it! :)

  3. Bluekat:
    If you like burgundy, have a look at my wife's Miata in several of the shots in this photo selection of our district:

    She adores the colour and we had it speciallt imported from Japan with lots of MazdaSpeed goodies on it.

  4. Seems like you're sitting on a small smelly fortune

  5. The number-one thing among Stuff White People Like® is anything Vintage. You may be able to fund your retirement from the sale of this jacket...

    Scootin' Old Skool

  6. For a jacket to wear you have to wear it, amazingly enough, but that involves riding. Get a Flagstaff from Aerostitch- all the proper waxed cotton style for a proper and sensible price. Happily it's too hot here for anything more taxing than mesh.

  7. Geoff, your jacket doesn't smell, now that it's worth some money it merely has olfactory patina.

  8. Doug:

    Hahahaha - you silver tongue! Were you ever in Marketing? ;-)

  9. And such stylish corduroy and flannel... So why haven't you worn it in over a year? Are you favoring other outerwear?


  10. If you don't think you want to hang on to it (which would be my first choice) before you just sell it to someone on ebay, the vintage museums may be very interested in your jacket. It seems to be in excellent shape and could be used in a display. My first thought is of the Barber Motorsports Museum near me in Leeds, AL.

    I think it would be neat to have something that could possibly be displayed for others to enjoy.

    BTW... good thing these computers can't smell! lol!

  11. Dear Bobscoot:

    I wouldn't sell that jacket period. Ity might be something your kids would like to have forever. It is a direct link to your youth and the kind of times we think about when the moon is full.. And so are our glasses.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  12. @Geogg
    Finally had a chance to pop over and see the Miata. Beautiful! Yes, love the burgundy. And I bet it's quite fun to zip around in. :)

  13. Hi Kari!

    Glad you like it, the paint looks an inch deep!

    It is fun to drive, but there's a rule in our household (not mine, you understand)that I only get to drive it if I keep it serviced, topped up and clean :-(

  14. Geoff:

    The only reason I don't wear it is because it has NO armour. IT is old skool. I used another leather jacket which had a diagonal zipper and lots of studs. I don't know what happened to it but I bought another used one to match my collector bike (which I sold).


    I used to have a convertible muscle car which I sold a few years ago and it was burgundy too.

    I didn't know you were so talented. I had a chance to go into graphic design but I didn't really know what that was back then. It was a new field.


    Our MX5 was white. We sold it around 2007. Before that we had a couple of RX7's. I am now on my 2nd Corvette, both being RED of course.


    I don't think I will wear it anymore but will keep it in the meantime


    It's amazing that people will spend this kind of money for old smelly stuff

    Mr Conchscooter:

    I had other jackets. I preferred my leather one with the diagonal zipper, sort of bad boy Marlon Brando style.


    Thanks for letting me know it's perceived value. I would never had known


    actually, YOU are the one with the silver tongue

  15. BeemerGirl:

    That Belstaff was clothing of choice back then, for riders of THE MARQUE (BmW). I purchased it from the largest BMW dealer in Vancouver. Perhaps when I purchase an R80gsPD I can revive it again.

    Lady R:

    sounds like a good idea but I can't imagine that I would be the only one in the country with a nearly new Belstaff of that period.


    Our son used to do a lot of cycling. We had a lot of high end bicycles but he isn't interested in motorcycles. When we had our scooters he used to take them out once in a while. I don't think he would be interested in the jacket


    does the wash and clean pertain to visitors too ? I could wash and clean it for access to the ignition keys, either that or the Striple. I am easy to please