Cycle News

Cycle News 2021 Issue 24 June 15

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 137 of 139

VOLUME 58 ISSUE 24 JUNE 15, 2021 P137 a young man who tragically lost his life in an accident in 1985 at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. It was a pretty helmet but, as a tribute helmet, it wasn't about me. It was more a vessel to channel some kind of bravery at America's Mountain that made me choose the design, and it worked, kind of, with two second places over the two years I wore it. My second helmet was much more personal. Green and gold and wrapped in a boxing kan- garoo for my homeland, I felt a touch emotional when Tag and Bronson handed it to me for the 2019 Pikes Peak race. It's a thor- oughly beautiful design, one very much "me" and is now on display in my father's office in Sydney, alongside his leathers from the 1978 Isle of Man TT. Tag and Bronson are now hard at work making my third helmet, and I can't wait to see the result and rep Tagger Designs, once again, here at Cycle News. The work put in by a painter cannot be underestimated. It takes usually over 20 hours of painstaking work, all done by hand, to create a design for a customer. There are so many little intricacies impossible to rep- licate if you're not a pro, which makes the helmet all the more valuable to the end user. You can imagine the pain felt by the painter when one of their designs gets thrown down the road. Anything custom is about show- ing who you are and never is that more evident than with a helmet. I personally hate how riders and drivers now change their helmets more than they change their underwear—it dilutes their power as a sporting star (in my opinion)— making it harder for the general public to know who's who. More recently, I've started seeing custom painted helmets ripping around on the canyons and at the moto track, which is wonderful because America has a plethora of incredibly talented painters who can make you really stand out. I spoke to my good friend and now KTM Flat Track Team Manager Chris Fillmore on this subject, a guy who has a career's worth of amazing helmet designs by Troy Lee. "It's part of your brand," Fillmore said. "I saw it as my identity. Whether I was riding adventure bikes, supermoto, su- perbike, motocross, if I kept the same colorway, for the most part, it became identifiable. "When I was 16 racing super- moto for Troy Lee, I wanted what was on my mind at the time, what- ever influenced me that month (perks of riding for a custom helmet painter). I'd incorporate bands I liked, or aspects of other racers' helmets I thought were cool. When I went to superbike, I wanted the design to be clean and consistent. That's why I kept a similar colorway and design fea- tures for over 10 years, everyone knows Rossi is a yellow 46! "Nowadays most teams have a team sponsor that takes priority on the helmet but you can still see a lot of the MotoGP riders finding a way to express themselves in the details of the design, even with a full Red Bull lid. When you're at the races, racing is 100 percent your identity and focus but with helmet designs it seems like riders have chosen to show off a bit of their personal side and I love it." We all like to be individual, isn't that part of why we like riding in the first place? And, hey, maybe it's time to look at a custom helmet design? They make the helmet become far more than just another thing protecting your squash. It becomes your iden- tity, part of who you are. There's probably not a single iPhone out there in the same layout as an- other, so why keep your helmet like that? We can't all be Ayrton Senna, but we can stand out from the crowd. CN "In direct contrast to Senna's helmet, McGrath's were an evolving statement of who he was and where he was at a particular point in his life and career, interpreted by a true genius of the game and put on show for us all to see."

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