13 September 2011

My Own Piece of Motorcycle History

Any chance the name Treen might be familiar to you? If not, don’t worry because when I mention the word most draw a blank. Then again maybe you ARE one of the few in North America who recognizes the name?  Well, I’ve got one and it still fits and to this day, occasionally, I wear it. It’s a cherished collectible made in Canada by former - Treen Custom Leathers made-to-measure leather motorcycle race suits.
Treen produced excellent high quality leather riding suits which were identified by their gold background embroidered label accented with a bright red maple leaf. It was a name synonymous with an exciting era in Canada’s motorsport history.
I wondered what happened to Treen so went online and found a Treen Custom Leathers in Edmonton. I telephoned the company and the employee I spoke with had no idea of the Treen history but referred me to Lawrence Busenius, pronounced like “business and genius” he told me, an employee who has worked with the company through its change of ownership for over two decades. Indeed Lawrence confirmed I had found the original Treen!
The company was started by Brian Treen’s father Gerald in 1949. During the 70’s and 80’s Brian was the driving force behind the motorsport manufacturing area. The company designed racing suits for flat track, drag and road racing disciplines – and of course for everyday riders such as me. Many a Treen was created for our Canadian (and USA) amateur and professional competitors. They designed suits right up until the mid- 90’s yet, due to the change in race suit materials and dynamics, Treen felt they couldn’t quite keep up. The company was then sold to its current owner Bob Dale Gloves, whose focus is entirely on high quality motorcycle gloves – the very item Treen started with. 
The Edmonton born brand had a few Treen agents across Canada working through motorcycle leather shops. I can’t remember the Toronto address, however I do recall the day I went into the shop to get my first made-to-fit-me motorcycle suit! The sales guy took my measurements and I recall he asked me if I needed the extra knee and elbow protection/reinforcements for racing. My response was no, as I had no plans for racing (it was inevitable I would race!) And really, that was in the 80’s - kudos to this chap for thinking I... a female, was going to need the suit for racing! Treen, of course, provided the whole service, including lettering as I naturally had to have my name added on the jacket, just... “Vicki”.
Since my return to Canada, and perhaps from sheer sentiment of years gone by, my Treen motorcycle suit has become more important to me. I’ve had nine made-to-measure race suits since then. My Treen suit however gets the eternal “first place podium”!


Anonymous said...

I bought Treen leather jackets and riding pants from their store in Edmonton. The riding gear was bulletproof and waterproof. I gave the jackets away many years ago: either they shrank or I gained weight. ;-) I still have the pants, although those seem to have shrunk too.

Anonymous said...

I've been curious about Treen, so thanks for the update. I bought a Treen flying jacket in Victoria in the late-80s and still wear it whenever I take my similarly-
aged BMW out for a spin, Calgary weather permitting.

Bob MacLaren said...

Just read your piece on Treen Leathers. I was going through all my old business cards and came across one for them at 405 Roncesvalles Ave in Toronto Ontario. This was in the mid eighties but may be the address you went to. Still have mine. My grandson tried them on just lately and asked if he could have them when he got his bike. They last forever.

Anonymous said...

Great Story still love my old Treen jacket even though it doesn't fit any more I'll keep it around.

Xtreemgear said...

Thanks for sharing such a useful post. It is very informative.

Xtreemgear said...

Awesome post, Thanks for sharing valuable information.

Pete Gurney said...

I bought Treen Leathers in 84 in Edmonton they are tight around the waist and lost the shine in bum area. I last wore them last year to AZ 108 F a little even with vents unzipped.Going to gym now so I can still wear them this year. Pete G Banff AB

Luth said...

I had a custom jacket made almost thirty years ago from their shop in Inglewood, in Calgary. I quit riding about a year after that purchase, but always hung onto and cared for my Treen jacket. I finally gave in to my annual bike fever a few weeks ago and picked up a mint 06 VFR. It still fits perfectly (thanks to a life of climbing and mountain biking), so my black jacket is going to get to return the love.

Robert Smart said...

Treen was a great place to get your leathers. I had two jackets made there. The one I have now and someone in Red Deer might still have the first one that was stolen from my car back in 1981.