Troy Lee Designs are at the top of their game when it comes to race-ready, performance products where they innovate in everything they do. Here’s the story behind Sam’s helmet:
Troy Lee on a group ride-out as part of the recent Troy Lee Designs A1 helmet launch.
Troy Lee, the man behind redefining three decades of style in the bicycle and motocross industry, is responsible for the design of every helmet worn by the company's top sponsored riders, and Sam Hill's was no different – although the manner in which Sam's was brought to life was a bit different, as TLD's Craig Glaspell explains:
"Troy being as pinned as he is, running this business, owning a motocross team, riding bikes and moto all the time woke up one morning at 4am, and the creative juices were flowing, he ran down the street to his Laguna Beach design centre and started going through books and photos with Sam's helmet in mind.
"Troy grabbed a D3 off the showroom wall at the design centre, threw a bunch of masking tape on the lid to create a canvas and began drawing away, he went at it for a couple hours and came into Corona headquarters all excited about it, “Stik, check it out!!” and I was floored because it was pretty elaborate. We then took the helmet up to Anton, our helmet graphic designer and he put the actual helmet to the computer screen so the painters had a clear road map on how to paint it. Troy and Anton then worked on that, the same morning and by afternoon that was a wrap, I emailed it to Sam, and he was over the top, super pumped."
Following Troy's initial drawing of the helmet, which took around two hours, the design went to the graphic design team. Then it's on to the painting guys…
Isidro did the bulk of the work, layout, candy metallic paints and Jay did a lot of the fine pinstriping. This much awesome takes time to create…
While some other riders request specific themes and colours, Sam left this one up to Troy Lee entirely.
"Troy went nuts and did this completely off his creative freedoms," says Craig.
Sam is Troy Lee Design's marquee helmet athlete, and won't settle for anything other than the D3.
He's tried other helmets, been offered deals from other helmet manufacturers but knows he is safest in his Troy Lee Designs lid.
Here the masking tape is carefully removed after another layer of paint.
A meticulous task, but Troy Lee have the best craftsmen at their disposal.
The visorless D3 gets another masking ready for pinstriping.
Monster required a black canvas for the side of the lid, so Troy and Monster worked together for this creation.
No room for error here as the visor gets the paint treatment.
A work in progress.
The visor's applied – now time to check with the initial design again…
A job like this requires attention to detail and patience. And time – 30 hours.
Time to check with the design again.
See those bubbles in the design? They're a nod to the 'speed bubbles' from the '90s era of racing. Sam was a "godlike creature on a bike on the tail end of the ‘glory days’ of gravity racing, and he then carried it through the new school era of 2000 and beyond, did things unimaginable on a bike and is still doing it present day, so I think it’s a throwback to the glory days, on the sports greatest racer," says Craig.
"I have been seeing TLD custom painted MTB lids for 20+ years, this one is by far, my favourite ever." Craig Glaspell.
"This is my favourite helmet I've done in years, really stoked on this Hill deal." Troy Lee.
Enough said. Here it is in all its glory:
All images are © Troy Lee Designs, who we'd like to thank for their help with this article.
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