The burgeoning interest in classic bikes has sparked a resurgence in the whole classic style. And you have to have the gear to match the bike. "People are interested in the look," says Roy Buosi, owner of Bullet - a classic bike specialist shop. "They're after the cool-looking image of the ton-up boys who used to head up the M1 at 100mph in the 1950s." It also gives the impression that you've been riding for a long time, according to Mr Buosi. "In bike circles there's a snob factor. You have to have the right badge or they won't talk to you."
First on the wish list for classic bike owners is the Belstaff Trail Master jacket costing pounds 89.99. This black wax cotton jacket comes straight from the pre-leather 1940s. "It's generally for the middle-aged born-again bikers who remember the name from their teens, says Belstaff's John Wakefield. Underneath this, you need some Lewis leathers - jacket or trousers both priced from pounds 100 upwards. For authentic boots, look to the pounds 99.99 Alt Berg Albion Classic, which haven't changed since the Fifties. Davida's helmet, the pudding-basin Classic, costs upwards of pounds 80 and is the most traditional of the new ones on offer. These don't conform to modern standards and are only for exhibition use. Davida also does a Classic Jet helmet, a legal version of the Classic. "We get a range of people," says David Fiddaman, managing director of Davida, "from those in their early 40s who used to be into motorcycles; those who just like style, to scooter riders." For the final dated touch, you need the Aviator Retro goggles, also available from Davida.
Stylish they may be, but Richard Rosental, of Classic Bike magazine, wouldn't recommend these outfits for the serious rider. He says a lot of the old-fashioned leather wears through quickly and pudding-basin helmets give you no protection down the back or the front of the head. But Roy Buosi remains unrepentant: "Safety is not the issue, it's the look."
Bullet - 0171-736 3811; Belstaff stockist - 01782 839 879; Victory Motorcycles - 0171-284 2074; Alt-Berg - 01748 850615; Davida mail order catalogue - 0151 678 4656.Reuse content