Outfitted: TJ Lavin

The BMX legend talks turning pro, working with Torque, and his dreams of becoming a firefighter.

“Man, I could really hang with these guys.” That’s what professional BMX biker TJ Lavin thought as he watched the XGames during its first run back in 1995. As an avid bicyclist growing up, the Las Vegas native found himself drawn toward the world of BMX and eventually out victorious at the the ‘King of Dirt’ competition. After defeating several top pros in the industry, TJ hasn’t looked back. 

“For this career, you just go out there and do what you do, and people notice,” he told Maxim of turning pro. “As soon as they notice, that’s when you’re a pro. Companies call you, people want to know what’s up. That’s just how it works.”

Since racking up medals at the XGames, Dew Tour, and Gravity Games, the BMX legend has committed himself to other aspects of the industry. More specifically, he’s had a big hand in intertwining the sport with clothing brand Torque, a company founded by Urijah Faber and Scott James. After coming on as a partner, TJ was adamant on making sure the company’s inventory had a more organic feel. 

“Scott takes our feedback to heart, and there’s no questions asked,” he told Maxim. “It’s the best material, the best shirts and the best designs. I wanted things to less loud billboard-style, and a little more laid back. I want it to be a Torque shirt.”

From average Joe to action sports pro, these clothes are here to stay.

TJ spoke with Maxim about that item every guy must own, favorite curse words, and what’s next.

I’ve been wearing these New Balance shoes lately, and to me, they’re just so much better on my feet. I’m a flip-flop guy normally, and so, when you go from wearing flip-flops every day to wearing actual shoes and they’re really nice shoes that feel comfortable, it feels like you’re walking on clouds. Plus, I have the new Torque sweater that I love. I wear it like every day. I probably should wash it, but I don’t really care.

Every guy should own a pocket knife. A friend of mine got me a really nice bench-made pocket knife, and it’s become a staple in my wardrobe ever since. I’ve used it so much from opening nails to opening boxes to whatever else I have to do, it’s so easy. You’ll feel like you’ll never use it, but you feel naked without it. So I really strongly urge guys to go out and get pocket knives.

With any downtime, I really, really enjoy playing the piano. I drive my wife crazy because she’s just trying to cook or do whatever she’s doing and I’ll be pluggin’ away. I’ve been playing for around twenty years now. It’s cool, I like it.

Something on my bucket list that I still want to accomplish is going cross country on a Harley Street Glide or Road Glide with my wife on the back. That’d be pretty cool.

My favorite curse word in the English language is ‘c*nt’ and that’s because it’s a term of endearment on Australia, and I have so many Australian friends. I went there for seven weeks for filming and they’d tell me that I’m ‘a sick c*nt.’ I got in the bad habit of saying it all the time there and all of a sudden I come home and people don’t really love it too much. [laughs]

As for what’s next, I’m trying to be a firefighter right now so I’m really excited about joining the department here in Las Vegas. I’ll be working with Travis Pastrana in the future, we’re going to work on some Nitro stuff. There’s also another show that we’ve been looking at too that may or may not happen with Bunim/Murray. Anything with them, I’m very excited about. We’re going to blow Torque up and just keep it going and make that happen. My partner in Torque, Scott James, is going to bring me some awesome projects that he’s got going on to supplement mine, and things like that. There’s some drink stuff that we’re looking at as well, so it’s just a lot of projects going on in Vegas.

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