Monday, February 10, 2014

Pro Ho #1

Anyone who knows me knows that I am completely incapable of objectivity when it comes to brands like TLD, Shimano, and Maxxis. They are the greatest ever, there is no other helmet or tire or set of brakes I would want to run, and all mistakes or sins are ignored, forgotten, or rationalized.

Of course, I ride for these companies, so you could point out that I am not objective by nature of my sponsorship. But that's putting the cart before the horse. It's true that I get support from these companies, no denying that, but long before I got #freeshitbro, I paid full retail to ride these companies parts, tires, and gear by choice.

No, objectivity went out the window a long time ago, probably 10 years ago now. As soon as I started following downhill, I concluded that Sam Hill, Jared Graves, and Nathan Rennie were complete badass riders, and they all rode TLD. Thus I rode TLD. Today, even as I was typing this out, I found out that Sam Hill might be on Royal next year, and I needed to be alone to grieve for awhile. I still don't know what to do with that fact:

The world might be ending?

Sam Hill rode TLD, so I rode TLD. I got my first D2 in 2007, and I raced in that thing for 3 years. It was so much better fitting and better looking than the Giro Radmax I had before it, that there really was no comparison. That original D2 saw Fontana (twice, for some reason), Snowmass, Deer Valley, Angelfire, the birth of Port Angeles into the racing hub it is now, and Skibowl and Willamette Pass about a million times. A lot of good memories in that helmet. Sure, it probably wasn't safe by year 3 (or year two for that matter), but what was I going to do, buy another Giro? Come on.

2007-2009: Gold D2 Composite. Amazing. Hooked for life.

2007: the Mountain Cycle days.

2008: First legit race bike, the '08 Giant Glory with real, bonafide Fox suspension front and rear. Compression damping!

2009: Year 2 on the Glory. By race #3 at PA (pictured), the bike was, how you say, "le clapped."

2010-2011: America edition D2 composite. Originally a Steve Peat paintjob, local paint wizard Danny Swan ( made my dream helmet, complete with my name in gold leaf, a golden, glorious eagle, and "freedom isn't free."

2010: rode for Evil, and for the first time I actually rode like I knew what I was doing. The beginning of good things. A really fun year.

2011, rode for Transition, drove across the country with Lars Sternberg, failed to qualify at a World Cup race for the first time, and won a NW Cup. Party on.

2012: I rode a Kali helmet. Bummer.

2013: D3 Carbon, Team Red.  AKA the Luke Strobel helmet, AKA I am Pro Ho #1.

Seriously, how freaking pro do I look now? I look awesome. In other news, I got Sam Hill to sign those shoes at Sea Otter the week before this picture was taken, so that's a definite bonus. He was so bummed out when he was signing them.


Like a teenage girl waiting for the Beatles at Yankee Stadium or Justin Bieber at your local NBA arena or pick your age-appropriate cultural reference, every year I wait with baited breath for the new TLD stuff to drop.


And every year when I finally see the new line, every year this is the question: What's the best looking stuff that I  *don't think* everyone else is going to buy?

Because there's stuff that everyone else is going to buy. That's a fact. Like rabid pack animals, people instantly pick the slowest gazelle, or the lowest hanging fruit if you will, and buy that. There's some stuff that just looks good from any angle, online or in the store, and that's what everyone else is going to buy. If you bought any one of those kits or helmets, you found out very quickly that:

A) you look awesome, and

B) everyone else bought the same shit as you

If you bought any of these fine products, you were borderline bummed when you found out everyone and their brother bought them, too:

No, buying TLD gear is an art. You don't want to pick the obvious stuff, but you also don't want to pick the weird stuff either. And yes, there's weird stuff. Every year there's one helmet that's just covered in snakes or lightning bolts or it's all bright neon fluorescent green with eyeballs all over it, and you don't want to be that guy. Someone's going to be "that guy," and it's not going to be you. No, there's a sweet spot between too obvious and too out there, and picking that sweet spot, threading that needle, it takes work.

Yes, I've spent this much time thinking about outfits and color schemes. Ask Pro Rider Kyle Thomas if you doubt the validity of any of this, he had to be my teammate for two years. He lived this.

Well, with that said, the new 2014 helmets are out. Let the games begin:

Moto gear's up on the TLD site, too. Bike gear drops soon:


bobby said...

looks like a trip to Sherman Williams Paint Supply is the second stop after the helmet purchase

Anonymous said...

what is this shit? some thinly veiled TLD ad? what's next- a post about how Felt bikes don't suck that bad?

Anonymous said...

They are the Nike Jordans of DH accesorizing...which is why I will never own one. Why would you pay so much for something that costs so little? So you could help pay for the ads in mba and decline? Most of their helmets don't look bad, but I could never associate myself with a brand willing to put something like this on the market:

PRKT said...

This article doesn't even begin to capture the amount of time Chaz has spent thinking about his "kit."

Anonymous said...

Coming soon to Chainlove

stikman said...

My lord, between pinkbike biters and you goons, the P51 stuff is all from our moto line, none of the bike apparel has that look, 2 totally different design departments. We did a D2 in that theme because our BMX shops really love that stuff, so one helmet out of 18 helmets has teeth and an airplane, GOOD LORD...and none of the apparel has that look. Get over it, TLD bike and TLD moto have 2 very different philosophies and customers.

Anonymous said...

Well, we had a good little hate train going there for a bit.

TLD and "philosophy" Ok, whatever. I guess they do rhyme. Maybe next year they come out with a series of kits that celebrate the great philosophers of mankind. The names are very marketable; Plato, Epicuras, Zeno, Aquarius, but Aristotle would be a little over the top.

Instead of airplanes and teeth, the graphics will be fashioned after the individual characteristics of each of the great philosophers beards, and the helmets will be modeled after their flowing hair.

Seriously though, the best deal on sweet jerseys comes from googling 'ebay motocross bmx downhill jersey used' But I won't buy a used helmet, cause of lice eggs.

bobby said...

I say there should be a TLD PNW kit - it'll be all black with a goat head on the front and a pentagram on the back.

This kit WILL sellout. Guaranteed. Rennie and Kovarik will come back to the WC circuit, Sam Hill will find an old Sunday and win Pila by 8 seconds in the wet.

Hail Satan

rob said...

Hail Seitan!

Waki said...

New tld prototype:

All the top flight ews racers will be sporting it next year.

Anonymous said...

Tld is also apparently doing after market fork upgrades also, this guy got the sticker to prove it:

mtg said...

And, let the 2015 games begin....