Way, way back, (when I first got my Lambretta for a second time) I knew that I wanted a classic waxed jacket. Something like a Barbour International, or a Belstaff Trialmaster. What I didn’t realise was how expensive these two classics had become. I settled for something in a similar style, from another brand (Jack Murphy), and it’s fine. Really. But it’s never been quite right. So I’ve kept an eye on eBay, hoping for a bargain in the Barbour / Belstaff stakes, and missed out on a few bargains. (Like a lovely vintage Trialmaster going for £60!). I’m still looking. But in the meantime, I’ve spotted a few alternatives that I think have nailed the look, and performance of these original classics. This is quite a long post, (the longest since my helmets one!) so stick with it!
Speedwear Deluxe Tradional Wax Motorcycle Jacket
Manufacturer description: Made in heavy duty twelve ounce black wax cotton. This jacket draws its inspiration from the traditional wax jackets used in a bygone era. Using modern technology to improve the production and quality of a true classic we have produced a timeless piece of motorcycling history attire. We have used traditional techniques and Genuine wax cotton oil skin fabric to produce the “original technical garment.” Attention to detail is key in creating the finest garments available. Each one is conceived to transcend fads and remain classic, therefore having quality and durability. As time passes this garment should become even more unique and evolve with the wearer. The end result is one that is as natural and authentic as you.
User Review: “A very good and stylish jacket at a reasonable price. Having bought a cheap jacket previously which disappointed me because of the quality of the material and the sizing, I was hesitant about buying something similar. However I was encouraged by the previous review which rated this jacket excellent and by the fact that it was made in the UK from specified material. I contacted the supplier to check details of the sizing and found that they responded quickly with the required info. I am very satisfied with the product and the speed of delivery”
My thoughts: Looks the part, great price, and the review seem to bear out the quality of this jacket, one to bear in mind.
Available on Amazon: Deluxe Traditional wax cotton motorcycle jacket
Australian Bikers Gear leather Trail Blazer Classic Vintage BROWN Motorcycle Waxed Age Treated Leather
£225 – Reduced to £97.99 (Amazon)
Manufacturer description: The Bikers Gears Answer to the £500 Belstaff Trailmaster – Made in age treated full grain leather (BROWN) Unique hand waxed and oiled finish that renders the garment water repellent – Detachable thermal quilted vest – Full sleeve mesh. Fastened by a buckled throat latch collar – Tightened at the waist by a leather belt passing through five leather belt rings. Closed on the front by a zip and flap with hidden press buttons YKK brass zipper on front and Zips at the cuffs. Jacket has removable soft protectors on shoulders and elbows which meet the requirements of European CE Technical Standard EN 1621-1:1997. Back protector = soft foam also. This jacket has 2 lower, 2 upper patch pockets which are closed by flap and snap buttons. – Jacket have internal pocket.”THIS WILL BE THE BEST £97 YOU EVER SPENT”.
User Review: “This jacket is unbelievable, its heavy, very well made with good protection, at £97 its fantastic value for money and to be honest even at its full price of £225 there is no other motorbike jacket to match it. If your looking for a motorbike jacket don’t look any further.”
My thoughts: Although not a waxed jacket as the others are, this one seemed too good to not include. The styling details look spot on, and, as with a good wax jacket, this will only look better the older and more worn in it gets. There are some scooterists who wouldn’t want to wear leather… but I’m not one of them. I already own one “Aussie Gear” jacket, a high viz, armoured one, which I am very happy with, see my review of that here. I think these guys sell great products at value for money prices, don’t be put off because they seem “too cheap”, they sell quality gear.
Frank Thomas Pitman
Manufacturer description: The Frank Thomas FTW358 Pitman Wax Motorcycle Jacket features a retro classic styling, CE approved amour at the shoulders and elbows, soft foam back padding (upgradeable) fashionable buckle fastening at collar and waist, removable thermal body liner, chest, waist and hand warmer pockets, adjustability at cuffs and is available in 2 colours.
User review: “Just rode home through a friggin’ monsoon, wearing my new wax jacket. Arrived home totally dry – well, the top half of me. Best £160 I ever spent.”
My thoughts: Frank Thomas is a well known, well regarded name in motorcycling gear, with a reputation for quality. If anybody asked you “Is that a Belstaff” I would be more than happy to reply ” No mate, a Frank Thomas”. Although the website says there are two colour options, I could only find black. Which is probably the one you’d want. Or maybe not, when you read my final review. And the options only seemed to go up to “L” …I’m a “XXL” at least!
From £225 (In Black)
Manufacturer description: Fully Breathable 12oz Wax Cotton. 2 Internal Pockets, One With Brass Zipper. Tartan Lining Or Moleskin Lining For That Luxury Finish. Plain Reinforcements area’s to shoulders and elbows. Under Arm Mesh Air Vents. 4 Bellow Storm Pockets Lined With Moleskin. 2 Way Brass Zip, Brass Buckles & Press Studs. Duel Storm Flaps to Front. Body Armour Extra at £30
User reviews: “Brilliant. Quality is superb, faultless. I have a made to measure Aero leather jacket and I reckon your stitching is better. Really impressed with your workmanship. Not so sure about my measuring but I think it will settle in ok…Showed it to my brother who has a proper Mojave and he was well pissed off as yours is obviously better made (and made in England not Italy.) Told everyone I know to order one before you get too successful and the prices go through the roof. Can’t understand why the waiting list isn’t 6 months not 6 weeks. Thanks for the nicest thing I’ve bought for ages”
“I must say mate really top job almost too good to get dirty, the fit is spot on. I have a Belstaff Road Master although nice! IT DON’T COMPARE to YOUR workmanship !! I well chuffed ;-))”
“Got the jacket yesterday; good things are worth waiting for!! Fits like a glove & the quality & workmanship are outstanding. The moleskin certainly gives a luxury finish. Thanks for the extra pocket on the sleeve. It is great in this era of cheap imports, where brand names are traded as commodities & give no guarantee of quality, that a bespoke, made to measure item such as yours can be produced for a fairly modest price.”
Options: As well as the International, they also offer the Roadmeister, a very similar jacket with subtle additional detailing – quilted shoulders and elbows and a stitched seam around the pocket to give a neater shape. And if Black is a bit too square from you, for an extra £15 Claymore offer the jacket in 7 colours to match… or contrast with your Lammie. (Sand, Brown, Chestnut, Olive, Navy, Red and Camoflage for you old scooter boys! Other extras such as body armour, extra pockets, half belts, linings and county flags can all be specced when ordering.
My thoughts: This jacket is a different kettle of fish from the rest, a step up in quality (and a little in price too). Claymore jackets are proudly individually handmade in Yorkshire, England (despite the Scottish sounding name!), While all the other jackets are “off the shelf”, Claymores are Bespoke. All the jackets are produced to order, and can be customised to your particular requirements. This means you might have to wait a little while (6 weeks or so) before receiving your jacket. At the moment, they aren’t taking any more orders until the middle of October. If money was no object, I think this is the jacket I would choose, even over a Belstaff or Barbour, and I would add some custom touches to make it my own.
Available from claymore.co.uk
If you haven’t quite got the budget for one of the big names, or you resent paying over the odds for a brand name, there are plenty of options out there. I hesitate to say “cheaper” as that implies lack of quality, and all the jackets I have reviewed seem to be of a decent standard. You’ll be able to find cheaper jackets out there, but I think you’llb e hard pushed to find good cheaper jackets.
Do you own one of these? Or have you got a favourite jacket that you’d like to see featured? Or better still… are you a manufacturer that would like me to roadtest a jacket over the winter? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
I mentioned this pic in my Capri post… and Dave, who shot it, asked me if I could ID it. Easy I thought. It’ll be one of those lesser known marques, like a Zundapp Bella, or a Durkopp Dianna. Maybe one of those gallant british failures like a Triumph Tigress or a BSA Sunbeam. Virtually all the major motorcycle manufacturers tried to get in on to the scooter boom in the late 50’s / early 60’s. Marques like Puch, Ducati and even Harley Davidson all jumped onto the scooter bandwagon. So, If it’s not something I recognise straight away, I’ll be able to find it online, or in one of my scooter books.
Well. I was half right. In so much as it’s like a Zundapp Bella. Like being the operative word. The front end anyway. The back end got more of a Zundapp R50 look about it, or even Lambretta J-range. It’s definitely NOT either of these thought!
So… can you identify this mystery scoot? Let me know!
As before, the pic is from davepcv’s flickr, here.
Pic from Classic-Motorbikes.net
I posted the Gabicci video back in July, here’s a second bite of the cherry, featuring images from the brochure. I’ve stripped out the pictures of the cool, skinny model dudes in mod influenced gear, and focused on the scooters. Personally, my memories of Gabicci are not as a mod brand, back in the day, but as a premier “Casual” (with a capital C) knitwear brand, worn alongside Lyle&Scot, Fila, Ellese, Farah and Lacoste. But then again, Casuals were basically that generations incarnation of Mods. (Discuss… can of worms opened!). Anyway, it’s one of those labels I would have avoided just on ideological grounds. But they’ve got some pretty decent looking clobber there, so if I was a few years younger, and a few stone lighter I’d give them a whirl. Probably.
Anyway, the scooters are courtesy of the New Originals scooter club, and they look bloody brilliant.
If it’s your cup of bovril, check out the Gabicci website here.
Remember that shot I posted of an Agrati Capri and a London Doubledecker? Yeah, you do… this one. Well, Dave, who shot it got in touch (ages ago, actually… but I’ve been busy!) to let me know he had another shot of the same scoot. As I alluded to earlier… a lovely little scooter the Capri, beautiful lines, and you can often pick them up for peanuts (well peanuts compared to what you’d pay for a Lambretta) on eBay. Parts are obviously not as easy to get hold of as a Lammie, but the internet has made that a bit easier too…
Anyway, thanks Dave… check out more of his pics on Flickr here. Check out the “Abandoned scooter, two cats and a barbecue” shot!
Great pic isn’t it?
It’s not the SLS (Special Lambretta Service)… It’s Ron Bowman, and his mate, about to set off on the journey of a lifetime.
In November of 1959, Ron Bowman quit his job as a newspaper reporter, sold his car and bought a 150cc Lambretta scooter. He intended to ride it from his hometown of Thorold, Ontario, Canada all the way to South America. As far as he knew, no one had ever made such a journey, but he was gong to try. Along the way, he proposed to his girlfriend of three weeks, and married her. This is the story of Ron and Tove Bowman and their epic adventure romance through Latin America on a motor scooter, during a time when such a journey was virtually unheard of. No crew. No support vehicles. Just two crazy Canadians in love on a Lambretta, discovering the world, discovering each other, and having the greatest adventure of their lives.
Their son, Gordon, recently found his dad’s manuscript and knew he wanted to share it with the world. He’s written a book and is planning to get it published through Kickstarter to crowd-fund it’s printing. He’s got a website with all the details, here and you can follow his progress on Facebook too. The Kickstarter page doesn’t appear to be up yet, but I’ll post a direct link to that too, when it is.
UPDATE:The Kickstarter page is now live, you can help make this book a reality HERE.
I’ve already added it to my Christmas reading list!