If you’ve never heard of the Belstaff Trialmaster, where have you been all this time?
An iconic jacket for 70 years, the Belstaff Trialmaster is something to be celebrated as it’s one of fashion’s most long-serving garments. Plus, it’s the one item of clothing that has, over the years, become the definition of Belstaff itself.
And the best bit?
Since it was first introduced back in 1948, it hasn’t changed much. Yes, there have been a few tweaks and adjustments to bring it in line with the fashions, but today’s iconic Trialmaster still pays homage to its 1940s ancestor.
Below, we check out the history of this functional yet beautiful jacket.
Where It All Began
The Belstaff brand was first established in 1924 when Eli Belovitch and Harry Grosberg (Belovitch’s son-in-law) first began producing a motorcycle jacket for the bikers of England who were competing in precarious and altogether dangerous off-road events.
Over the years these jackets were tweaked until, finally, in 1948, they hit the jackpot – the Trialmaster was born.
It was designed to help bikers who were taking part in the Scottish Six-Day Trials cope with the gruelling conditions out on the road. It boasted four pockets which included the genius slanted map pocket to provide practicality and beautiful design.
The classic silhouette continued to evolve with added colours (greens and reds) and the jackets were also given a ritual waxing by their wearers in order to preserve their quality and waterproof finish. As each rider did this, the finish would change tones, giving the jackets a unique, individual quality that customised them for each wearer.
However, several things did remain the same – the weatherproof finish, the pre-curved sleeves and the pivotal armholes, all of which guaranteed a great fit and exceptional comfort while riding a motorbike.
Why It’s Stood the Test of Time
Throughout its long, fashionable journey, the Trialmaster has grown an impressive fan base with one of its most notable members being the late Steve McQueen. There are even rumours that McQueen told co-star Ali McGraw that he couldn’t go on a date with her because he needed to wax his jacket.
And to this day, this timeless piece pays homage to its origins while adapting to the latest fashions. There are, of course, subtle changes to the design but ones that have developed the jacket into an even more practical and stylish one.
For example, the new Trialmaster is easier to wear as it’s more lightweight, and it’s also more fitted and longer so it easily adapts to being worn on- and off-road.
Ultimately, the Trialmaster is no longer a biker-only garment. It is worn worldwide by adventurous types who are looking for a robust jacket that’s classic and boasts gorgeous design features like a check lining, brass press-studs and the must-have angled line of the map pocket.