In case you're unfamiliar with the gallivantings and bona fides of one Mr. Josh Allison, we have a little list of some of the awards he's brought home. This boy is SOLID!
You may have heard of some of these awards. You may also need a fortifying beverage to finish the list, without having to seriously rethink some life decisions. I recommend Booker's. One for each hand.
For those of you seeing the man and his work for the first time, you're in for a real treat today. Josh really brought the love in this interview and then he followed it up with an avalanche of amazing images.
So without further ado, let's hear from the man himself, Josh Allison!
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Josh Allison. I’m a custom builder from Greeley Colorado. My shop is Cry Baby Cycles. I specialize in metal shaping, restorations, full builds, fabrication and design work.
What's the story behind the name Cry Baby Cycles?
Got any nicknames and how’d you get 'em?
My wife used to call me Chatty Cathy because I talk too much!! Lol!!
What’s awesome about you and your life?
Well, I think it’s pretty awesome that I get to build vintage bikes and cars for a living! I’m also very lucky to have a badass wife and son that support me and have been my biggest fans. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do and be a part of this industry!
How did you wind up where you are?
I got my first dirt bike when I was 7 years old. I stuck with it, then got into racing and eventually FMX. In my early twenties, I started to custom paint my helmets and that led to a small custom paint shop. One of my customers gave me a 1980 Honda CB750. I started to build my first café racer out of it and it was my first riding experience on the street.
My building skills were very limited at the time, but I was in love with the whole thing and wanted to grow my abilities. That led me to WyoTech, a trade school in Laramie Wyoming.
I took Street Rod, Advanced Street Rod, ASM, Collision and Refinishing. I learned how to TIG weld and some basic fab skills - I fell in love and knew I wanted to be a custom builder!
After graduating, I worked at several hot rod shops over the years and was building bikes on my own time after hours. That led to me opening up my own shop nearly ten years later. And here we are!
What was your most annoying fuck up or brain fart?
On my 1969 BSA build, the oil tank tabs I made broke at Sturgis during a ride with Roland Sands and crew. I realized on our first stop and was able to hold it on. As soon as I got back to camp it fell off! LOL!
No one knew but my buddy. It would have been super embarrassing. I didn’t fully weld the tabs and had no rubber washers or anything. It was a big mess up, needless to say I learned an important lesson.
What was your favorite glory moment?
Boy there have been a few. I would have to say David Uhl painting the 51 Panhead I built, “The Dead Pan”. I couldn’t believe it when he called!
Also, getting the call to be a Born Free Invited Builder.
The TV show build off Wrench Against the Machine. That was a crazy experience!
And finally, Michael Lichter shooting the Black Gypsy.
* Anyone that's seen Wrench Against the Machine episode 4, (and if you haven't drop what you're doing and go find it) knows how fortunate it was that Justin Webster, of J. Webster Designs out of Gainesville Florida, brought Josh to the party.
The concept behind the show was three days to build a bike with a budget of $3000. The winning teams would take home the trophy and the other team's bike. In episode 4 the surprise goal was to turn a 1977 Suzuki GS550 into an Easy Rider inspired chopper and while Justin has a ton of experience and finesse with vintage Japanese metal, making this machine into a chopper was not in his wheelhouse.
Enter Josh Allison. The man literally has old school biker in his blood. Hell, even odds that's actually 50W pumping through his veins. The rest is history, but suffice it to say, there aren't a lot of people around that could hope to take a bike from a master like Craig Rodsmith. They totally did it though.
Anything hanging in your shop or office that gives you joy to look at and what’s it’s story?
I have an award I won a long time ago for a bike that now I look back on and think how bad it sucks! LOL. But, it reminds me to remain driven and is a reminder of how far I’ve come. Also, the David Uhl painting hung in my living room is unreal!
What has been your favorite client moment so far?
You know, they’re all different and awesome in their own ways! I love seeing clients excited for their builds, it makes we want to keep pushing and trying harder!
Favorite motorcycle-related story?
Man, there are a lot! Every show and ride has one! But my ride to Denver with a buddy for a chopper show sticks out.
It was getting late and you could see some gnarly clouds moving in. We took off and my headlight on my bike went out because my over flow regulator on my BSA was broke. So, we decided no big deal I will just follow him home. It started pouring rain and then his taillight burned out!
At that point in the ride we were committed. So, I rode home in a down poor in the dark with no head light and couldn’t see crap! We thought the storm will pass….it didn’t. We got back to the shop that night laughing! It was just a good friend memory and a crazy riding experience.
Who do you want us to interview next and what do you want us to ask them?
Interview Cristian Sosa and ask him how the hell is he so good!!! Damnit! Lol
Who, or who’s work, do you have a crush on right now?
Man, there are so many good builders! Cristian Sosa, Maxwell Hazan, Toshiyuki “Cheetah” Osawa, Vintage Technologies, Justin Walls. The list goes on and on!
Got any heroes or role models?
My Grandfather was an insanely talented artist and teacher. He showed me a lot and inspired me. Travis Pastrana for showing the world that anything is possible on two wheels and to dream big! Evil Knievel for just being bad ass!
Any sources of inspiration you want to share?
I think that inspiration comes from everywhere. From other builders, people, buildings, books, art. It’s all around us.
Thank you to you too, Josh. You've been a class act all the way. It's truly been a pleasure to get to know you a little better and an honor to have you aboard as the first guest in our series of interviews featuring the Born Free 10 Invited Builders.
It brings a lot of light into my day to be able to introduce a hard working family man and true artist like yourself to our followers. I'm sure they've enjoyed the experience as much as I have.
Good luck with the '46 Knuckle and the judging. One thing we all know for sure, your machine is going to be something special. my Born Free 10 Grass Pass is on the way from Loser Machine Company as we speak and I'm looking forward to hoisting one with you in June. First round's on me!
But wait, there's more! Josh sent us so many amazeballs pics that they overflowed the article, so be sure to scroll down and feast your hungry eyeballs on more bikes, more metal and more awesome!
We'll be sharing the rest of the Born Free 10 Invited Builders interviews between now and the event and we'll also be bringing you the inside scoop on other builders, event runners, artists and schwacks of just generally cool mofo's. So Don't forget to check out our online general store for merch and to stay tuned to our Patreon page, so you can keep up on the newest interviews and behind the scenes content as we roll it all out!
Keep the shiny side up y'all and we'll see you back here real soon, peace!
Born Free 10 Invited Builder Josh Allison - Photo Gallery
You might wanna grab some lotion and a kleenex before you start clickin' away, just sayin'...