Interbike 2011: John Boultbee Criterium MK.1 Jacket

By Karen Brooks

The venerable saddle company Brooks has been slowly branching out into clothing the last few years, and they showed off some new pieces that carry their signature British refinement. The problem with using the brand name of Brooks with clothing is that there is already a rather famous company doing this, so they’ve had to brand their wearable items with the name John Boultbee. It was, of course, John Boultbee Brooks who founded the company.

The new jacket is called the Criterion MK.1, and it’s made of a very tightly woven cotton of the type once used for WWII flight suits, called Ventile. Cotton in a cycling jacket? It is, in fact, waterproof. After all, people have been riding bikes in bad weather for years before “technical fabrics” were invented.

The inside is lined with wool tweed treated to resist stains, and has two straps sewn in to hang it off the shoulders when not being worn, in the manner of classic hunting coats. All the metal bits are copper, to match one’s Brooks saddle, naturally. The men’s version has 10 pockets (and the women’s has 8) for all your accoutrements, including an ingenious small pocket on the sleeve with a key lanyard. Reflective stripes stay unnoticed until needed. The wool cuffs have a thumb-hole. There’s even a rear flap that snaps up out of the way when among the non-cycling public.

Sigh… all this British refinement comes at a price, and it’s a big one. This first run is limited to just 500 each of men’s and women’s. But if you’ve got a spare $1,400 laying around, and want to look dashing while cycling in inclement weather, get in touch with your local Brooks stockist. I confess I wanted to make off with this jacket. You’d think I could get some special consideration, maybe a deep discount or a castoff sample, being related and all (however distantly), but I came away empty-handed. Drat.

More Brooks products

More colors for the leather handlebar tape.

The Islington Rucksack

The Hampstead Holdall

The Barbican shoulder bag

Prototypes for new front and rear panniers. They should be available early next year.

Keep reading

It doesn’t end here, we’ve got a lot more coverage of Interbike 2011.



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