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Well here we are. It's time for Killman Customs to roll out our first in depth interview, to be featured on our shiny new Patreon page.
We couldn't have asked for a more kickass guest, to start things off with a roar, than husband, father and Born Free 10 Invited Builder Josh Allison, of Cry Baby Cycles out of Greeley Colorado!
Welcome to the mix Josh!
* For the easily confused, (looking at you Scooby-snax): when the Q&A starts between Josh and I, text in orange are questions and italicised black text are answers from Josh. Orange Text following a * would be me flapping my gums to bring you all a little background and color commentary, in case folks need some context to the conversation.
This one is beyond pic heavy y'all, don't forget to check out the photo gallery of bonus shots at the end of the article. You can click on any of the pics to make 'em bigger!
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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.
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?
The name Cry Baby Cycles kinda came about when we were in Austin Texas last year for the Hand Build Show. We were off Congress St and in a cool vintage shop. Sarah my wife bought an old coat and on the back it said Cry Baby and we loved it and it’s kinda a throwback name to the 50's.
Sarah said, "man Cry Baby Cycles would be a killer Chopper Shop name" and we loved it!
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!
What would be your superhero name?
I’m no super hero that’s for sure! Maybe Metal Man! Lol!
Why do you do what you do?
Because of my love for motorcycles! I’ve been obsessed with bikes since childhood. They were always so cool to me! I love to create and build things with my hands, always have.
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.
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!
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 the last thing you did that made you swear later?
I fully restored a VW Bus and it made me swear every day! Lol! Hands down the most challenging project yet!
What’s your next adventure?
I think the big one will be Born Free. After that who knows!
What’s in your shop right now that you’re thinking about?
The 46 Knucklehead build for Born Free.
What was the best thing to happen to you due to poor life choices?
Meeting my wife!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
What would you like to see more of in the custom world?
I’m not sure? There are so many awesome things going on with so many different styles that I’m blown away all the time. But I do like killer metal shaping!
What would you do with one million dollars?
Move somewhere where there is no winter first! Then travel the world!
* Editor's note: Yup, fuck Winter.
Want to give some shout outs to other talented peeps, or anyone that helped along the way?
There are so many talented people and builders out there! But Sosa and Hazan are always pushing the limits and are insane at what they do! They inspire me to be better! There have been so many people that have pushed me and have helped!
My wife is my rock and my best friend! Without her I don’t know where I would be.
My friends and family.
ChopCult for all the years of support!
big thanks to Shane at Baileigh Industrial for getting behind me and getting me tooled up!!
Born Free for giving me a shot! To all the shows that have had us – thank you!
And there you have it true believers, Mr. Josh Allison!
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.
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!
Keep the shiny side up y'all and we'll see you back here real soon, peace!