STYLE: Barbour "International" vs. Belstaff "Trialmaster"

This is the classic conundrum…for some. Do you go with the one that’s got the cache of Hollywood “players”, the backing of a PR Army, and a moderate yet honorable Sporting history, OR do you go with one of the most trusted names in Sporting gear, a seal of approval from the Queen Mum, and a racing pedigree of being worn "by virtually every British international motorcycle team from 1936 until 1977".

Sound like a slanted comparison? It is, somewhat. I liken it to comparing Levi’s to Wranglers. Both are excellent quality jeans, and some might say equally proficient at their respective purposes (mining and punching doggies-respectively), but some people wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of Wranglers, and real cowboys only wear Wranglers. Maybe a better comparison would be Goyard & Vuitton... What I’m trying to boil down is that in the old days, Barbour was more expensive than the Belstaff, and for good reason…it was made better. As times have changed, and Belstaff has spent more money on product-placement and thus their price has increased, Barbour left well-enough alone…and now you can get the Barbour for about $100 (American dollars) less than the Belstaff. The question you must ask yourself is, what's the Sporting choice?...I think you already know the answer.

Both jackets are available through British Motorcycle Gear.

Barbour “International

Belstaff “Trialmaster”


  1. Steve Mqueen wore Belstaff..

  2. not true. in this photo steve wears Barbour...

  3. But, the true question is...would him wearing one or the other make him any faster, or cooler?

  4. The Barbour jacket is more authentic as Belstaff copied Barbour ...

    1. The original Barbour jacket you refer to was introduced in 1951 where as the Belstaff was introduced in 1948. Work that one out.

  5. Mqueen wore Belstaff gents. This is evidenced by the commemorative new Belstaff Trailmaster Jacket with Mqueen signature inside. Mqueen designed the slanting pocket with Belstaff


  6. awfully tired of this Steve Mc queen chaps kipper getting in on everything to do with cool stuff from old Ferraris,chronograph watches, dapper suits and so on, yes its true I am a tad jealous when it should be me! anyway for my tupences worth its got to be the Barbour,handsdown the better looking and less contrived of the two. Barbour doesnt have to work at it while B-STAFF DOES.
    toodle pip and all that, Haw Haw.

  7. does anyone know about the alternative badges and logo belstaff used to use? i have a jacket (waxed cotton) that has a more detailed phoenix logo, is it real or fake...?

  8. I do believe the Belstaff is called the Trialmaster, often misspelt (sp?) as the Trailmaster. A very common mistake

  9. Barbour forever. I have both, the new ones Italian production of Belstaff are really terrible. Good line, look, fit but poor materials, only fashion, nothing more.

  10. 5th comment down- McQueen wore both barbour and belstaff. The slanting pocket design was a barbour introduction to make it easier for a rider to get out a map. Belstaff clearly copied it.

    1. McQueen Never had anything to do with Belstaff and certainly never wore a Belstaff like they portray. The only two biker jacket he wore was a Barbour International and a Lewis Leathers.
      The only thing Belstaff had going with McQueen was that Belstaff was using his name to sell their products and was getting SUED by the McQueen Family.

  11. I wish to leave a comment, and hopefully further ideas and though to those searching/researching.

    I have spent a tremendous amount of time searching for the *perfect* jacket. Bike jacket, all around jacket..

    I like Belstaff very much, as well as Barbour.

    The rather obsessive qualities of people shine through in comments above. ie. Barbour was first, et al. Belstaff owned by Italians and now a fashion brand..etc.

    I could comment on many things at length but won't. it is childish. Yes, almost all things made in the past are far superior to what is made now.

    Our grandfathers would never have created an item with any concept of the term "planned obsolescence".

    Malenotti has done very well with Belstaff, and has, as the great suit maker Gianluca Isaia once did, use movies to promote their brand as current advertising dos not do what it once did.

    People want to hold onto the past, but do not undertstand what is necessary to survive in today's world.

    We are lucky Belstaff is what it is.

    I love pedigree however as well, can't say I don't ..I do not follow names, I follow quality and craftsmanship..

    To my conclusion. .... FAY

    Fay, should you not know them, are a brand created by Tods of Italy. All handmade and stres palced on this fact, as well as, handmade ..

    Remaining true to their heritage of leather and shoes primarily, unlike the others.

    THE Italian leather brand.

    The marque FAY (and Tod's) concentrates around driving gear.
    Their jackets have buckles taken form the idea of american firefigher jackets.

    Now, at the moment, I do not have 500 to spend on a leather jacket on an ebay search.

    However, the nylon does not appeal to me either..

    I like the sentimentality of the waxed cotton, but barbour is not form fitted as the Belstaff as they are really made for hunting.

    They are thin, and are not durable.

    I wanted leather really...but love the wax too..

    So, I found a used FAY SUEDE jacket..cordaroy stand up /buckle collar, tartan interior...

    MAde for driving, but could be used just the same for riding.

    As it is sued, not as heavy as full leather, not as light as nylon/waxed cotton..

    Never owned suede, but know of its fragility, staining..etc..

    They are surprisingly easy to clean and restore.

    And what I am thinking, the more it wears, wrinkles, stiffens etc...the cooler it will look as a bike jacket.

    You knwo what I am REALLY thinking to save any worries....


    Oh, i happened to come across it online for 50Euro, originally 500+euro.

    Yes, Fay are very expensive, there are some fakes about, just as Belstaff, but do your homework , and searh abroad and overseas, especially italy...

    they can be had. And what a dream, ideal jacket it is. It is the ONE.

    Do some research, and I am sure most of you will end up where I am. After all the time spent, I hope some find this info helpful and look into it!

    Trust me, i am a perfectionist and have VERY particular taste, ie. the best or nothing...without overspending foolishly.
    Ride safely.

  12. Difficult to find info on waxing suede.
    Basically the same process as waxed cotton.
    Here is a bespoke maker who does it:

  13. Nice riding suit,So extreme! if you are looking for other kind of suit you may visit at

  14. I bought a custom made wax jacket from this place - Claymore - I love it - t came with armour and fits like a glove

    Toodle Pip.

  15. Sorry, I meant !

  16. Okay last time it's

  17. VERY awesome collection of jacket these jackets are lovely and i like by second one very lovely designing.

    Reflective Motorcycle Vests

  18. All Claymore have done is go and copy Belstaff styles - they are a totally unprofessional outfit that even offered to fit counterfeit Belstaff badges onto the jackets they made and when I saw that I reported them to Trading Standards.

    I would also like to throw in my view on Belstaff v Barbour thing.....

    If you look at the pictures at the top of this post and compare the two jackets the Barbour looks like a shapeless sack compared to the tailored cut of the Belstaff. The bright brass buckles press studs and zips of the Barbour look cheap and gaudy comapred to the Belstaff. Also if you are looking for a jacket to wear on a motorcycle the Barbour isn't designed for this at all - it is a lightweight 6oz or 8oz wax cotton - the Belstaff jacket is a heavy duty 10oz wax cotton and the jacket includes removable protective CE approved armour.

    1. Where did Belstaff designs come from, thats right they took the designs from the Army. Is that also true that Belstaff was being SUED by Steve McQueens family for using his name on Belstaff products when McQueen NEVER had anything to do with Belstaff!!!!!. Belstaff ain't nothing special when you know what your looking at.

  19. I drive a Ford Mustang 68, wear Barbour, Harringtons and Superga, Im Macqueen

  20. and Mc Queen fuck you!

  21. I love both Barbour and Belstaff. Each has it's own appeal. Barbour don't make bike specific jackets while Belstaff do. I own a motorcycle but wouldn't wear my Barbour unless I was nipping out to the local deli to buy some oysters and champagne.

    So there you go, I've cleared that up.


  22. Actually, old chap, while you can wear a Barbour to the deli to fetch oysters and champagne - or Guinness, which is better with oysters - Barbour made its seminal one-piece motorcycle suit for the British ISDT team in 1936. The lefthand breast pocket wasn't angled. The jacket worn by British submariners in WW2 evolved from a private order for a jacket made from an International suit cut in two and was called the "Ursula", after the submarine whose captain had ordered the prototype. The Ursula had a hood and was rather like an anorak. From this came the International jacket we all think of when we link the words Barbour and motorcycle. 1951 saw the adoption of the angled pocket so that cannot be attributed to Steve McQueen, although the US team of which he was a member wore Barbour Internationals in the 1964 ISDT. McQueen also wore Belstaff Trialmasters. To him, these were just hacking jackets for cross-country events. Given that you can buy a very good English-made replica for about £60, of more robust material than the real thing these days, which is not as think as my original 1970s example, how does Barbour justify the high price of their International? Shipping costs from China, perhaps? Oh, sorry, I forgot. Internationals are made by authentic English grannies in Geordieland.

    Bah Humbug!

  23. Hi, i own 2 belstaff jackets, Mojave and of course, the Brad leather in tan. It is sex,sex & more sex appeal than any Barbour.all of my friends clearly state's "it a cool jacket". So, unless you are trying to look like a countrymen or a fishermen or a WANNA-BE, stay away from Barbour. However, both of my Belstaff are the pre old model one- without the new tailor style new one.

  24. Mickey Drexler the CEO of J Crew wore a tan cotton Trialmaster in a recent documentary on CNBC "the man who dressed America"
    Can anyone tell me where I can purchase the jacket. I cant find it in any of the Belfast
    websites. Thanks

  25. My source @ J.Crew said that they are selling off any remaining Belstaff inventory they have. You may want to check their website in the near future.

  26. Anonymous-I don't know your size, but maybe this will fit.

  27. Nice blog to sharing information about leather jacket.Custom made leather jackets




  29. love the leather motorcycle jacket !