Frank Thomas

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Hello and welcome to Alex’s Blog. As it is still January we still have our January sale on with over 800 items at a reduced price. We also have lots of new stock on the way – when this lands I will let you know!

This week I wanted to talk about one of our brands – Frank Thomas – and a history of this brand.

Contrary to popular belief, Frank Thomas isn’t actually a person and wasn’t actually named after one or two people in particular. In January 1982 (36 years ago) two entrepreneurs Peter Laughton and David Wooding founded Frank Thomas to manufacture motorcycle boots in Northampton. They chose the name “Frank Thomas” as they wanted to evoke a traditional British name.

Laughton and Wooding used people from the shoe industry in Northamptonshire to make motorcycle boots from their home and Peter Laughton with a background of sales and marketing took their wares to motorcycle shows all around the UK and started to establish the good reputation that Frank Thomas has to this day.

1980's Frank Thomas Race BootsFrank Thomas developed their first ever race boot in collaboration with Ron Haslam and Roger Marshall, and as it was the early eighties these were in garish colourways which were en vogue at the time. These sold massively well and were extremely popular and catapulted Frank Thomas to the forefront of the motorcycle clothing world.

They then branched out in to ladies’ boots and touring boots as well as paddock boots which are still a very popular seller to this day.


Frank Thomas Tempest Ride Black Boots
Frank Thomas Tempest Ride Black Boots

Frank Thomas Qualifier GP Black Boots
Frank Thomas Qualifier GP Black Boots

Frank Thomas Isabella Boots
Frank Thomas Isabella Boots

Frank Thomas Shorty Boots
Frank Thomas Shorty Boots

With this success they decided to diversify and add to their clothing repertoire with motorcycle gloves. David Wooding was a mechanical engineer, so he ensured that they had the suitable machinery to make this happen, as well as the skills. By now the head office was based in Irthlingborough and this is where all the gloves were distributed from. In 1983, with their use of cutting edge technology and British craftmanship they produced the first ever waterproof motorcycle glove. Quite the coup!


Frank Thomas Qualifier GP Gloves
Frank Thomas Aqua Qualifier GP Gloves

Frank Thomas Thunder Gloves
Frank Thomas Thunder Gloves

Frank Thomas Aqua Strada Glove
Frank Thomas Aqua Strada Gloves

Frank Thomas Tornado Gloves
Frank Thomas Tornado Gloves

Shortly after this, in the mid-eighties – manufacturing costs in the UK were rising as was demand. The company undertook another first for the motorcycling clothing industry and set up a bespoke plant in Asia. This included a tannery and meant Frank Thomas could control the quality that customers were accustomed to expecting and created a dual manufacturing base in Asia and the UK.

With the emphasis on manufacturing in Asia this meant that the UK side of the business were free to innovate and develop designs and technology. The head office was now based in Finedon in Northamptonshire with a brand new (and extremely large) warehouse/distribution centre where the company had a small, highly skilled team of machinists/seamstresses involved in the design processes as well as warehouse staff and a sales team.

With this new set up came a whole new variety of motorcycle clothing. Leather suits, jackets, jeans, textiles jackets and jeans etc. Also, Frank Thomas was soon earning quite the reputation for its Aqua range of waterproof textile clothing. Again, ahead of the rest in the early 90’s by this point.


Frank Thomas Qualifier 1 Piece Suit
Frank Thomas Qualifier 1 Piece Suit

Frank Thomas Dynamic Jacket in Black and White
Frank Thomas Dynamic Jacket in Black and White

Frank Thomas Leather Jeans
Frank Thomas Leather Jeans

Frank Thomas Ladies Comet Jacket
Frank Thomas Ladies Comet Jacket

Frank Thomas George Jacket
Frank Thomas George Jacket

Frank Thomas Rmaster Wax Cotton Jacket in Beige
Frank Thomas Rmaster Wax Cotton Jacket in Beige

In 1999 saw a change in ownership with David retiring and Peter keeping a small shareholding and a new management buyout. With the purchase of Frank Thomas, the new company bought Motrax a supplier of motorcycle helmets, luggage and accessories.

Red Route Ride Out Blue JeansVery soon they also bought Lintek, a replacement parts business, Bikezone childrens clothing, BKS Leathers and Red Route motorcycle denim jackets and jeans. These companies, along with Frank Thomas Limited and Motrax became the Frank Thomas Group.

A decade later in 2011 the Frank Thomas Group Brands were acquired by J&S Accessories Ltd, the largest independent motorcycling clothing and accessories retailer in the UK. It still has the main warehouse in Finedon, Northamptonshire, and a Factory Shop which also houses the same skilled team of machinists/seamstresses who now offer a quality repair and alterations service.

Frank Thomas Modena HelmetSince J&S Accessories Ltd acquired the Frank Thomas Group the brand of Frank Thomas has continued to flourish and expand, innovating and developing, there are now Frank Thomas helmets available as well as the original lines which have continued to be manufactured. Frank Thomas motorcycle clothing and accessories are available online and in all of our 30 stores nationwide.

Until next time, stay safe

Alex