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Belstaff Brooklands jacket review

Published on: 10 April 2024

The new-for-2024 Belstaff Brooklands heralds a long overdue update to what many people would consider to be the coolest and easiest to wear jacket in the entire Belstaff waxed cotton collection.

It was in the range even before the Italian Malenotti family acquired the ailing British brand back in 2004. To turn the Brooklands into a proper motorcycle jacket, they fitted armour into it, and added a waterproof membrane. The Brooklands has changed little since then, although at one point they did upgrade the armour to D3O. For many years it was far and away the most popular model in the company's motorcycle collection.

Ton-up boys 60s

Back in the fifties and sixties any proper motorcycle jacket, whatever it was made from, would have had a lowered tail for protection of the lower back.

But we kind of went off it because we felt it didn't work as it should do on the bike. For well over ten years we beseeched Belstaff to give the jacket a lowered tail. Now, classically, a lowered back was always a feature of a blouson-cut, biking jacket. Look at photographs of the ton-up boys in the fifties and sixties. And you will see that their leather jackets nearly all had backs lower than their fronts.

Steve McQueen Belstaff Mojave

Steve McQueen often wore a jacket that looked a lot like the Brooklands.

The Malenottis always had style in mind when they were developing the Belstaff motorcycling collections, and at times the way a jacket looked was more important to them than the way it performed. And so it proved to be with the Brooklands. This was always a very cool jacket. In styling terms, it closely resembled a jacket that Steve McQueen wore when messing about with his pals on their desert sleds. But the Brooklands has never been right on the bike. A lot of people put up with it, but the problem was that when you leant forward over the bars, even at the gentlest of angles, the jacket would rise up, leaving the lower part of the wearer's back exposed.

That wasn't great in the rain, as the wet stuff would run down the jacket into the pants. But it was even more of an issue from a protection standpoint. It left the skin exposed to the elements; and this was never likely to end well if you came off the bike. It was why we became somewhat reluctant to recommend it, especially here in the shop. And this was never easy for us, because we always loved the jacket's styling.

2024 Belstaff Brooklands jacket

The 2024 Belstaff Brooklands

Well, at long last, for 2024 Belstaff has given the Brooklands jacket a longer tail. It's just one of a number of changes that have been introduced for this season. Truth be told, Belstaff hasn't exactly gone overboard with the lengthening of the tail. In fact, from a biking perspective, we might even have preferred it to be a tad longer. But Belstaff was very keen not to ruin the Brooklands' looks off the bike. And this we understand. Everything's a compromise; and what cannot be denied is that Belstaff has definitely improved the jacket from a functional standpoint.


There is no doubt that the lower tail makes the Brooklands more practical.

Now, in the past, a problem for many people was that the Brooklands, like some other Belstaff waxed cotton jackets, was only rated A for abrasion resistance under EN17092. We always felt that the jacket would have met the higher standard, but when the EN17092 test regime was first introduced many manufacturers tested only to the lowest standard. And they did this because, if you failed to meet the higher standard, you had to pay to retest the garment. Belstaff was not willing to make this investment. They tested all the garments only to the minimum standard that allowed them to sell their jackets as certified protective wear.

Belstaff Brooklands jacket AA EN 17092

The new Brooklands is AA rated under EN 17092 for abrasion resistance.

In the intervening years many motorcycle clothing manufacturers re-tested their garments. Belstaff never did, but when they introduced this new Brooklands, they had no choice. The new garment passed at the AA level, even though the outer fabric is pretty much unchanged. This is what we would have expected. And what this tells us is that the old one, almost certainly, would have passed at the AA level too.

Belstaff Brooklands jacket detailing

The Brooklands is still made from an eight ounce British Millerain wax cotton.

In most other respects, the Brooklands is largely unchanged. The outer chassis, as we have suggested, is the same eight-ounce waxed cotton. In fact, British Millerain calls the material Ultracore. It has a slightly firmer handle than traditional wax cotton. It is a slightly more water-resistant material, but will develop a very pleasing patina over time. You still get a membrane obviously, and the jacket still comes with vented, D3O armour in the elbows and shoulders. There's a pocket for a back protector. And, of course, right now we are giving away a free £50 Level 2 D30 Air back protector with every jacket.

Belstaff Brooklands jacket detailing 2

A lot of stuff is familiar. Corduroy in the collar, brass poppers, and so on.

The jacket has extra reinforcement at the shoulders and elbows, as it always did. You get corduroy in the collar and the cuffs for added comfort. On the outside, you get two upper flap pockets, and two lower, zipped, slash pockets. There's another zipped pocket inside the jacket. At the neck you get Belstaff's traditional belt and buckle adjuster. At the hem, there's a similar adjuster, and this one comes with a waxed cotton flap to protect the bike's paint. To the same end, the bottom button is rubber covered.

Belstaff Brooklands jacket detailing 3

This is the first time there has been venting on the arms on the Brooklands.

But in another first for the Brooklands, Belstaff has given the jacket vents to help cool the rider in warm weather. There are incoming vents on the biceps, and exhaust vents on the back.

In lots of little ways, the new Brooklands is a step on from its predecessor. We always liked the Brooklands for its looks. Well now we really like it as a motorcycle jacket too! But not only have they improved the jacket, they have surprisingly also reduced the price by almost £50.

Belstaff Climate vest

Belstaff want you to buy their Climate Vest. Us, not so much!

There is one last detail. The old Brooklands had a zip-out thermal jacket, although it was tokenistic at best. The new one doesn't have anything. Instead, the jacket comes with studs to enable the clipping in of Belstaff's Climate Vest. But personally we do not recommend it. As a vest it provides no thermal protection for the arms. Our recommendation would be something in Merino or potentially, in the real cold, a down jacket like the Klim Maverick. There are simply better ways to stay warm than the Climate Vest, in our opinion. This having been said, the Climate Vest has a Belstaff logo; so it's bound to be popular!

For more information and to buy online, click Belstaff Brooklands jacket.

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