Belstaff sold to petrochemical company

Belstaff, once one of the most recognizeable names in motorcycle riding gear, has been sold.

A few decades back, Belstaff was one of the foremost manufacturers of waterproof riding jackets, cranking out waxed cotton garments that were better than most stuff on the market at that time—not that that’s saying much. Since the 1980s, textile motorcycle gear has improved significantly, and left waxed cotton behind; in the last few years, Belstaff has been more of a fashion statement than a practical riding choice, with boutique stores selling to the rich and famous, instead of greasy dispatch riders.

But, with the hipster scene’s recent interest in riding, Belstaff has made a comeback amongst riders as well, although its products definitely lean towards the fashion-focused side of the motorcycle gear spectrum.

Now, Belstaff has been bought by Ineos, a petrochemical company based in the UK. For years, Belstaff has been owned by Germany’s billionaire Reimann family, which could possibly have had a lot to do with the brand’s movement towards aesthetics over function. Might we see a shift back now? Considering it’s been bought by another billionaire, probably not.

7 thoughts on “Belstaff sold to petrochemical company”

  1. Thankfully when I glance into the rear view mirror of life I see my Belstaff (or Barbour) waxed cotton motorcycle gear fading ever smaller. Back in the 60’s when that was the best wet weather riding gear available, it was almost a status symbol, particularly for riders of British machines. But soon after its purchase you discovered the many _many_ shortcomings to waxed clothing. First off, the stuff is a dirt magnet and everything gets attracted to the wax. Ride behind someone on a dirt road and you will soon be coated with funky waxy filth that then rubs off on anything you brush against, including when you hang it up in the closet, or particularly when you have your friend ride pillion and they wrap their arms around you. The inside of their clothig will then be covered with the crud from your jacket, which always makes a big hit with women!
    Then the constant maintenance to keep it water resistant, not waterproof.
    As another reader said, it smells kinda “in”, but just for a while, like castor oil at the race track. A little is fine, but too much is just that, too much. Best to hang it up in a separate closet too as the smell permeates other clothing around it, oh and also a good idea to hang it inside of a large plastic bag to avoid getting the other clothing in the closet from getting dirty with wax funk.
    And if you make the mistake as I once did of washing it in the washer, you will coat your washing machine with wax, (wifes just love that!) and then the jacket is not made from pre shrunk cotton so it goes from extra large to extra small and you end up cursing some kid with it as you can no longer wear it. I made this wax cotton gear purchase a couple times, I bought a pair of riding pants that came with the prverbial and also got a red waxed jacket (even bigger mistake!) but thank heavens synthetic jackets came along.
    Goodbye waxed clothing, it might look good on the fashion runways in Paris, but it will never find a place on my body again. Good riddance.

  2. I have a Belstaff that I bought in the 90’s. Since when did anyone think they were “waterproof”? Water does bead up a little bit until it soaks in then soaks your clothing. I think their unique oily smell is kind of nice until it gets nauseating. They are dreadful in hot weather because they don’t really breathe and they conduct and hold heat in the oil; they are cold in cool or cold weather because they are thin and conduct heat. Mine is black, and I get a bit of black film on my hands to this day from the oily cotton dye mix, as well as the dirt you can’t clean out (see below). I guess that’s kind of macho, but you could do better on that front in about 10 seconds of chain cleaning.

    They can’t really be cleaned, which in my view is a plus since I hate cleaning things related to motorcycles. They do have to be re-oiled, which for me involves a heat gun and a rag and a lot of residue on your hands for a few days, total PITA.

    I have to say though, they are very good looking, possibly the best looking jacket I own. Totally hip and retro, possibly worth it just for that. TK4 just doesn’t understand that motorcycling is really about those visceral intangibles; then again his bike is as practical as my garden tractor, and about as desirable. as a pleasure vehicle. 🙂

    1. MM – I had a Belstaff jacket in the 70’s that I paid $45 for at Big Bike Centre because a Shield’s leather jacket was $48 and that was too much. I bought the ‘proofing compound’ and learned to apply it liberally with a paint brush on a hot summer day while it was hanging from my parent’s clothesline. I wore it for years – as you say it was water resistant but not truly waterproof. I wore a knit turtle neck sweater underneath like I’d seen in the British bike mags. I understand the visceral, but I’m not willing to pay $600-700 for it now. I think it was Yogi Berra who said “nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.”
      My garden tractor isn’t a BSA (thank goodness) and the clothes I wear while riding now are far superior to ‘the finest of waxed Egyptian cotton’.
      Enjoy riding down to Starbucks for your pumpkin spice latte, and when you think of me think kindly… 😉

      p.s I wonder, does rui have a Belstaff jacket ?

      1. Ride the BSA?? I’ve only talked about it for the last 13 years, what makes you think it can be ridden? 🙂

        As for Starbucks, the nearest one to me is 33 km away, so I’ll limit my pumpkin spice to the local Tuque de Broue seasonal ale in the evening. And Donna’s mother’s pumpkin pie.

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