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Garage Finds | Dad’s Troy Lee Designs TL Comp MTB Helmet


Garage Finds | Dad’s Troy Lee Designs TL MTB Helmet

This week I ventured into the garage to dig up a racing souvenir of sorts and something a little different caught my eye. In 1992, my dad decided to take up mountain biking out of the blue and man, he dove in headfirst both literally and figuratively! By 1993, he had graduated from his original hardtail and foam helmet to a full-suspension Cannondale and a trick Troy Lee Designs TL Comp MTB Helmet that – in comparison to the other offerings at the time – offered far superior protection with its hard plastic shell and EPS liner. Plus, it had a visor and that all-important Troy Lee branding, so my dad looked dialed in! 

“That was a Shoei helmet that was originally produced for Jet Skiing,” said Troy Lee about the old helmet when I called him a few minutes ago. “I saw it and thought, ‘That could look cool if we put a visor in it, and with that, the TL Comp was born! Later on, we added a chinbar and Dave Cullinan won a world championship in it, and it really took off!”

That was also around the time that TLD started offering helmet sticker kits to customize otherwise white cue-ball helmets, so I bought my dad the Scott Russell Indian feather sticker kit and customized it for him he was pumped! That year after my mom passed away, we took a family trip to Moab, Utah, so my dad could ride the famous Slickrock Trail. He put the TL Comp to good use there, going over the bars a few times during our trip! I started to call him Slickrock Sam after that trip and even had a custom sticker made for the back of his helmet  

Of course, my dad could never keep anything in nice condition, as he put practicality and function ahead of fashion and design. Haha! Imagine my horror when I discovered one day that he decided to shorten the visor on his TL Comp helmet with tin snips after he decided he couldn’t see far enough down the trail!

Dad wore that helmet – complete with a chopped-off visor – down the legendary Kamikaze Downhill course at Mammoth Mountain in 1994, and was announced as the oldest man on the mountain as he crossed the finish line. At 69, he certainly wasn’t afraid to send it, and I felt better knowing that he at least had a good helmet on…

When dad passed away, I decided that I’d always keep his helmet as a reminder of the great times we shared on the trails together. Heck, I even wore it for fun on a Father’s Day Ride a few years ago. I must say, it wasn’t as comfortable and high tech as I remember it being back in the day, but it certainly put a smile on my face! 

Throttle Syndicate Bike Graphic of the Week

Swapmoto Live Yamaha YZ450F

Price: $199

Each year, Yamaha has offered a limited-edition version of its YZ-F motocross bikes, and for the past few years, it has consisted of white plastic with light blue graphics. While we bleed Yamaha blue, it was nice to get ahold of one of the limited-edition YZ450Fs this year for a change of pace. A white bike actually opens up a lot more possibilities for graphics colors, and when we asked the Throttle Syndicate guys to whip up a kit for our test bike we told them that they could go wild.

To say that we were caught off guard by the orange highlights would be an understatement, but we figured, “why not?” and gave the thumbs up to print them after seeing the concept on paper. On the bike, the kit is amazing and we really love the unique look that the Throttle Syndicate guys came up with for us. 

Custom kits are available with your logos, color choices, etc., but you have to call the guys to discuss on the phone. Call 661/607-0150

Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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  1. Clintonic May 27, 2019

    What a cool piece of memorabilia and an even better story about you and your pops!

  2. Garbear May 28, 2019

    Love stories like these.

  3. Kyle potter June 7, 2019

    THIS!!!! Glass case!

  4. Sam Melton June 12, 2019

    Thats awesome!