Welcome back everyone and thanks for tuning in to another Killman Customs interview, where we not only take a more intimate approach to the giants of the vintage and custom scene, but we shine a little light on the unsung heroes too.
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We love bringing you the stories of the grass-roots types of dudes and dudettes that we all see at the swap meets, shows and at the track, riding, wrenching and helping out.
Everyday folk that just keep on being awesome and contributing to the industry, even without all the media accolades. Those are the folks with the mystery histories that we all want to hear more about and today's offering to the Gods of Speed is a worthy one indeed.
Now we've known Joe Allan for more than a moon or two. Matter of fact, he was actually one of the guys we had in mind when we first decided to start this series of interviews.
Joe's son Kurt is now 29 and a Red Seal Motorcycle Tech and Millwright in his own right. With his two daughters Fawn and Masika and three grandkids to boot, Joe's got a lot to be proud of!
He's One of those old school talents that doesn't see a lot of mainstream fanfare nowadays, but he keeps putting out solid machines year after year.
So let's get to it and hear from the man of the hour himself, Joe Allan!
Joe Allan, born and raised in Northern Ontario, moved to BC in 1968.
"The 750 Guy" as the result of a strange phone call late one night, years ago. It started with "Are you the 750 Guy? I got a 750 Honda I need to get rid of and I gotta be outta town by tomorrow!"
Lately my family has been insisting that I am "Hoarder Joe", due to my accumulation of bike related stuff. That's what my business cards say now... I take it as a compliment.
* We've had the pleasure of visiting Joe's office and seeing the White Widow in person, she's even prettier up close!
Info by Joe:
What's been one of your coolest bike moments so far?
Two of my builds were published in major motorcycle publications.
* Joe has had bikes published in both Pipeburn and Canadian Biker
Here's more from Joe about the White Widow, the bike featured in Canadian Biker. "I rebuilt the White Widow in 1993 out of an original chopper I constructed in 1974. The spider theme was chosen as a result of seeing a set of spider earrings in a display case and after mounting them on the gas tank, I reworked the spider theme throughout the bike. The White Widow was featured in the June 1994 issue of Canadian Biker Magazine."
What’s awesome about you and your life?
Managed to do most everything I wanted...within reason.
How did you wind up where you are?
Just by fluke. It could have been different, but I just got lucky I guess.
What was your favorite glory moment?
* Now that is not an answer I get everyday. Good on ya for serving your community Joe!
I think I'm a mechanical guy and I've managed to do mechanical stuff as a career as well as a hobby.
Why do you do what you do?
I really enjoy it, I like building and fabricating motorcycles. Almost as much as I like riding them.
The swingarm uses one Suzuki 750 front fork as a shock and the front end is a CR80. The motor was bored to accept Kawasaki 440 Pistons, head was planed to the valve seats. Colt Cams in Vancouver made the custom cam. It runs H2 Kawasaki carbs and is fired by a belt driven 90,000 volt magneto, from a Mercury outboard motor. The compression is 14 or 15 to one and it runs on 80% Alcohol and 20% Nitro.
My son was really light and it went very well.
* Editor's note: I'll just bet it did!
Waited a month to get 4' of custom cloth covered spark plug wire, rushed out to the shop and cut it into four equal pieces... Problem is the two coils took different sizes. Swear and go back and order another 4'.
* Yup, brain farts can totally suck.
What’s in your shop right now that you’re thinking about?
Finishing the CB750 Brass Chopper, (when I get the plug wires), the 1966 HD Aermacchi 250, 1972 CL350 and a 1967 CL77 305 Honda. Got some small Honda S90's to find parts for, more long term.
Anything hanging in your shop or office that gives you joy to look at and what’s it’s story?
Isle of Man race posters. Two posters signed by John McGuinness and Ian Hutchinson, as well as signed ball caps. I've wanted to go to the Isle of Man for over 50 years and a friend I met from England a few years ago got the keepsakes for me.
Kenny Roberts flat track win and Mike Hailwood's return to the Isle of Man.
Who do you want us to interview next and what do you want us to ask them?
Jay Donovan of BareSteel Design. Ask him if he has considered doing a small engined custom bike, maybe based on the popular Honda C70 or C90. Or even a small two stroke, like a Yamaha Twin Jet 100.
* Jay Donovan's interview with us, and his answer to Joe's question, will be coming your way real soon!
What’s your next adventure?
Going to The Isle of Man TT Races 2018, got a place to stay near the track :-)
Thanks for sharing your story with us Joe, it's good to know there's guys like you in the mix and we're looking forward to hearing all about your adventures at The Isle of Man TT!
Over the years we've actually had the pleasure of dealing with Joe quite a bit. More than a few of the bits on one of our upcoming projects came from his private parts stash.
In addition to being a hella nice guy, he's an amazing source of vintage bike lore and manages to turn up with the most frustratingly awesome finds. Hell, we even scored an old Goldwing from him recently.
He's a straight shooter and if something's not right he doesn't fart around, just gets the job done, with no excuses. What we're trying to get across here is that Joe Allan is one of those solid dudes that the motorcycle world is built on and we're happy to have brought him your way.
Check back in regularly here, and on our Patreon page, for more in depth interviews. You really don't want to miss this next one!
Bonus round, A few more of Joe's builds from the wayback files!
Screaming Yellow Terror
How my 8yr old relaxed... I know, eight year olds don't relax
In 1992 I built this bike to prove to myself that the japanese factories could take an engine design they were good at building and combine traditional styling to make a classic cruiser.
I love the look of the old full fendered Indians, so I built this fat custom for a friend of mine.