1980 KTM 125 | The Bike That Changed My Life

Rider: Troy Lee
Then: Aspiring Pro motocrosser
Now: Owner, Troy Lee Designs

“The bike that changed my life was probably my KTM 125, back in like 1980 … or ’79? The white-tank model. I was usually the only one on the starting line with one. I went and raced the AMA Nationals with it, went to Washougal, Washington, had some of my best finishes on it.

“No one else was really helping me. There was a KTM shop on Katella Avenue in Anaheim called Pro Gas or something like that. One of the guys there used to sell things to charge your shocks. Kind of a wacky bunch, but super-cool.

“I went from there to racing for Mitch Payton on the Pro Circuit Husqvarna team. That was a lot more serious effort. I became really good friends with Mitch, started welding pipes for his Huskys in his parents’ backyard. That was around the time I started painting, going to the races and giving helmets to Jeff Ward, Danny 'Magoo' Chandler and David Bailey. Kinda started carving a little path for me…

“I had to put clutches in that KTM all the time, but I used to get great starts on it. The thing was just rocket-fast! The suspension was the part that was lacking—it was an old twin-shocker. I should have spent more time working on the suspension, but I was trying to start my helmet-painting business. It was definitely a great part of my life!”

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