TLD And Two-Wheels – Motocross Efficiency Journal


For this month’s Trade Profile, we head west to stunning British Columbia and the person who’s been on the forefront of the Troy Lee Designs model in Canada for years, Cody Swansborough. Rising up in North Vancouver, Cody was an avid baseball participant and lover of something with two wheels. Together with his proximity to the mountain bike-rich space of North Vancouver, Cody spent a number of time driving trails and spending time with a number of of the innovators of the game, and it didn’t take lengthy earlier than he was competing himself. With the Troy Lee Designs model being such of an enormous a part of mountain biking in these early days, Cody’s first introduction to TLD was sporting the gear himself. Cody hasn’t stopped being concerned with TLD; nowadays, he’s the person behind this iconic model in Canada. We caught up with Cody to speak about his journey by the trade and his deep connection to the TLD model. 

MXP: Hey Cody! We all know you’re busy, so thanks for taking the time to talk to us and permitting our readers to get to know you.

CS: No drawback Chris! All of us have busy lives, so I recognize you reaching out to me.

Being a Troy Lee Designs man, how thrilling is it to have a rider like Justin Barcia because the centre piece of the TLD/ GASGAS Staff within the USA?

Justin is nice, and each weekend, whether or not on tv or stay, I like watching him and seeing what he’s going to do subsequent. No matter how he finishes, he all the time makes it into the headlines. He’s calmed down slightly over time as now he’s a dad and seems to be having fun with what he’s doing. I feel Justin is in a very good place, and he represents the TLD model properly.

Sure, he positive does. The place do you and your loved ones name residence proper now Cody?

We stay in Squamish, BC, which is the centre of mountain biking and off-road driving in Western Canada. There are lots of trails and simply a lot nice driving round this space for the whole lot two-wheels. We’re near Whistler, and the Pemberton observe is fairly shut. We find it irresistible right here, and whether or not it’s winter or summer time, there are a number of cool issues to do.

When Cody was youthful he was deeply concerned in mountain biking.

How did you find yourself within the Squamish space?

Properly, I come from a background in mountain bike racing, so I’ve been immediately and not directly concerned with the TLD model since 1997. I grew up in North Vancouver and graduated in 1999, which round that point was the hay day of North shore mountain biking and freeriding on this space. From there, I simply made my method north to Squamish as soon as we had a household, and I’ve been right here ever since.

So that you’ve all the time been each a BC child and a lover of two-wheels?

After I was a child, I performed baseball at a fairly excessive degree, which took up most of my time. However I got here to a crossroads in direction of the tip of highschool after I had to decide on whether or not to proceed with baseball or look to one thing else. On the time, I used to be being scouted by the LA Dodgers, and plenty of of my teammates had been contemplating knowledgeable future in baseball. So the chance was there to go to school within the USA and go down that highway. Nonetheless, the decision to get additional concerned in mountain biking was stronger, and with residing in North Van close to the highest of Fromme Mountain, I made a decision to go down this highway.

Dwelling in that mountain bike wealthy space, you have to have had some robust influences there?

For positive, Wade Simmons and plenty of different legends and now corridor of famers lived close to the place I grew up. Again then, a number of DH racers had been beginning to take to freeriding, which right now actually drives the game outdoors of racing. It was a really thrilling time. My neighbour owned a bicycle store I labored at after I was 14, after which I went on to work at On High Bike Store for a few years, the place I met a number of the trade and am nonetheless pals with the unique house owners to at the present time. I used to be simply surrounded by mountain biking, so it ended up being what I needed to do. I ended up racing World Cups and all the massive Canadian and North American DH occasions for a number of years after which transitioned into the working world. One other cool factor was that after I was in highschool, we had a mountain bike membership and even did some races, which was the primary time this program was being provided.

That feels like a fantastic childhood, and it should have been so cool being part of the mountain scene at the moment and in that space. Was it laborious to maneuver on from baseball?

Sure and no! It was laborious as a result of I had performed it for thus lengthy, and as I mentioned, there have been some alternatives to take it to the subsequent degree. I did find yourself having a shoulder harm, and as a pitcher in baseball, an harm like that’s difficult. However one of many causes I used to be a very good pitcher was as a result of I used to be mountain biking so much. Once you’re pitching, all the rate comes out of your legs, and on the time, I had actually robust legs from biking. So with the shoulder harm and simply being round bicycles a lot, shifting on from baseball wasn’t tough on the time.

The Troy Lee Designs Canada workplace has a plethora of cool issues to see. Photograph by James Lissimore

It should have been cool to observe mountain biking go from a niche-type sport into what it’s right now. Like, a number of it began proper in your yard!

For positive, it simply exploded and took off. In actual fact, most of the riders from my space went on to have stable careers in mountain bike racing or freeriding, so to observe it and be part of it was very cool.

So that you moved on from baseball in your late teenagers and submerged your self within the mountain bike world. Even in these early days, TLD was concerned within the bicycle world. Was that how you bought concerned with the corporate?

Sure, in these days, TLD was concerned in mountain biking after which had athletes like Shaun Palmer, Randy Lawrence, and Steve Pete sporting TLD-painted helmets and equipment. TLD was crafting a search for these guys, and everybody needed to be part of it. That’s how I met Mike Redding from TLD, who ran the athlete help and received immediately concerned with them. Even after I was racing, I used to be getting a free set of gloves and jerseys right here and there, and in addition, on the bike store the place I used to be working, we had been importing TLD gear. There wasn’t even a distribution community arrange in Canada but. We had been shopping for it immediately and promoting it at our store as a result of it was in excessive demand. Truthfully, my relationship with TLD has simply grown a lot over time that right now Troy [Lee] is admittedly like an extension of my household.

That could be a very cool story, Cody, and from the skin wanting in, it looks as if TLD has been that tight-knit family-type firm over time. Did it shock you again in these days how shortly mountain biking and motocross grew to become intertwined?

By no means! So many people had been doing each, and as I mentioned, firms like TLD had been making gear for each. Additionally, that was the age of VHS movies like Crusty Demons of Dust and Terrafirma, so excessive sports activities had been simply taking off, and MTB borrowed a number of their fashion from the moto riders. I used to be fortunate sufficient to be part of a few of these early MTB movies, and shortly after it grew to become cool simply to go someplace and movie hitting jumps. Wanting again now, all of it occurred so quick, but it surely’s been good to see that a number of the blokes that had been round again then doing the intense stuff are nonetheless concerned within the moto and mountain biking trade right now.

There’s a lot historical past with the enduring TLD model. Photograph by James Lissimore

So, how lengthy have you ever been formally with TLD on the retail and distribution facet of issues?

It’s been 15 years since I used to be first working as a rep for the Canadian distributor of TLD on the time. These had been positively some thrilling years, and I discovered so much. I had a 4-year employment with Purple Bull in advertising and marketing and nonetheless maintained my rep duties at TLD alongside that function. All through that interval I used to be additionally working a gross sales and advertising and marketing company repping different manufacturers with my spouse. About six years in the past, we built-in to a direct mannequin with our USA head workplace and a Canadian Warehouse, which has been superb.

It’s been an extended highway for you, and truthfully, I can’t consider how briskly 15 years have handed. So was it TLD USA that approached you about beginning up TLD Canada, or was it the opposite method round?

I feel it was extra simply me staying persistent about TLD Canada’s must kind and do the enterprise that method. It positively made a number of sense, after which in 2018, all of it grew to become a actuality.

Since 2018, the model has grown much more in Canada?

It actually has, and we’re working laborious to maintain constructing the model. We’ve got a warehouse right here now, and handle six Gross sales Companies all through Canada, so the whole lot has been going rather well. Our vendor community can also be robust, and it’s getting stronger every year.

Troy Lee has painted so many well-known helmets over time together with the late nice Greg Moore’s IndyCar helmet. Photograph by James Lissimore

We all know you deal so much with the moto facet of issues now, however do you continue to have an enormous comfortable spot for the mountain bike trade?

Most definitely, that received me into the trade, and truthfully, I wouldn’t even be working for TLD if it wasn’t for mountain biking. That mentioned, I’m spending extra time on my Moto after I get the time to journey!

Clearly, it’s extremely tough to forecast what would possibly occur within the subsequent few years, however the place do you see the TLD model headed?

We’ve had actually explosive development within the final three years, and we’ve expanded our distribution by key retail companions, so I see the TLD model simply getting larger and larger in Canada. I like and consider within the model a lot, and I need to preserve constructing it. Just a few years in the past, we needed to rebuild our community inside the important thing Moto retailers, however we’re very proud of the place we’re right now and have many extra thrilling issues deliberate for the years to return.

The 2Ride Group bought TLD final March. How has that transition been?

It’s been nice, and with the 2Ride Group having the Shark and Nolan Helmet manufacturers, I’m positive you’ll see extra vertical integration between the model portfolio within the months to return. We presently serve the US home market with the Shark and Nolan helmet manufacturers. Whether or not it’s a Shark helmet with TLD graphics or a TLD helmet with Shark graphics, there’ll most definitely be some form of collaboration on the street bike helmet market alongside their in-line merchandise. That is very thrilling as a result of, as you already know, Troy has been very obsessed with all types of motorsports racing, together with MotoGP. I don’t know the precise quantity, however virtually 80% of all motorbike helmet gross sales in Canada are avenue bike helmets so it will little question broaden our client base shifting ahead.

TLD Canada is again in 2023 because the title sponsor of the TLD/GASGAS/SSR Race Staff.

That sounds very thrilling for positive. Let’s speak about your involvement because the title sponsor of the TLD/GASGAS/SSR Staff for a second. You’re clearly an enormous a part of Steve Simms’ group. What does being a part of this group and the Triple Crown Collection imply to you?

Steve has been a fantastic associate of ours, and he actually does go above and past for the model. We’re blissful to be certainly one of title sponsors of his group, and we can’t wait to go racing within the Triple Crown Collection this 12 months. This week we introduced that Tyler Gibbs and Daniel Elmore could be the 2 riders on the group, which could be very thrilling. I’m excited, and I do know Steve is happy to get issues going. It feels prefer it’s been an extended low season up right here.

It has, and with spring simply across the nook, racing will likely be beginning quickly. I feel it’s nice what you’re doing with the TLD model in Canada, as simply listening to the title TLD brings me again to my youth. Rising up, each moto child needed a Troy Lee Designs painted helmet like Jeremy McGrath. Total, it’s simply such an iconic model in motocross and, as you mentioned earlier, in mountain biking as properly.

Sure, TLD has been such an iconic model for thus lengthy, and I’m extraordinarily proud to be not solely a part of it but in addition be shut pals with Troy Lee and all of the workers as properly. Troy’s imaginative and prescient and keenness for racing run deep, and it’s been enjoyable to be there and expertise the journey to date. We’ve got a fantastic management group below Jason Steris, our CEO, and it’s been a profitable marketing campaign to date, and I can’t wait to see what the longer term holds for myself and the TLD model.

Cody, it’s been nice chatting with you, and I want you nothing however success in 2023 and past. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, and we sit up for seeing you on the races this summer time.

Thanks, Palms for reaching out. We’re wanting ahead to this 12 months, and I hope 2023 is a profitable one for each of us.