Company: Back Alley Custom Cycles
Location: Rochford • England
Speciality: Metal Engraving & Custom Bike Builds
As this is my first ever ‘Interview’ I may have made a mistake or two so I apologize in advance for lack of video.
Almost immediately upon meeting Brian we got straight into it and started chatting about everything. 1½ hours later I realised I perhaps should have set up the video!
So for this interview, you will have to rely on my memory, the few answers I did write down and some photos. I promise to get more professional!
I first found out about Brian on one of the many Facebook pages dedicated to all things motorbike. He posted an image of a Derby cover with the Motorhead War Pig
that he had hand engraved. Surely that’s not possible I thought to myself. Delving deeper and looking at his website I was quite amazed that these
amazing detailed pieces of art were being sculpted into metal by HAND.
As I was in the process of building my K100, I wanted some unique tank badges showing my company logo, and initially had a pair of aluminum discs laser etched
with the logo. The finished result was…. crap. This is when I reached out to Brian. Within a couple of weeks I had a stunning pair of unique handcrafted tank
badges with the Beard Juice logo, and to be honest at a very reasonable price. So impressed, I knew I had to go out and meet the man himself.
Brian or Benn (which of those two names you call him depends on how well you know him), on the face of it looks like your normal guy, albeit with a very impressive beard,
and as we strolled down to the back of his garden, his man shed also looked like any other shed you find the length and breadth of this fine nation.
Its once you step inside you very quickly see something very special happens in here, and this is by no means your average shed.
The walls are covered in tools, precisely laid out in order. Everything has its place, and I get the feeling that for my short period I am going to be the
apprentice carefully watched over by the masterful Jedi Knight.
After a very short time chatting, it is very clear that Brian is a remarkable man who likes to get his hands dirty and can put said hands to almost anything and succeed.
With a “if I cant buy it, make it” attitude, his shed has machines and tools that he has made himself to suit his purpose, from his own hand made engraving knifes to
a home made metal engraver, much like a tattooist gun.
With a background in Carpentry and Elec-trickery, Brian spent much of his working career adding the finishing touches to peoples houses, and although he was
fairly fond of this career path it just didn’t give him the satisfaction and desire to explore his talents.
Having ridden motorbikes most of his life and already built several bikes, along with working on friends and families bikes, Brian has been part of the biker community
for many years, and for some time had been fabricating his own parts and practising with metal engraving, applying his carpentry skills and knowledge to metal. Brian
and Back Alley Motorcycles have been around for over 2 years now, but It is only more recently that Brians work have been noticed, mainly thanks to the internet.
Brian started posting photos of his work on Instagram and Facebook and it didn’t take long for people to sit up and notice. He’s now completed work for customers
all over the world and a waiting list is starting to form.
As well as being a dab hand at engraving Brian has made a few bikes in his time and he is currently working on a full Cafe Racer build for a
client at his dedicated bike yard not so far away from his home. Having the skills and equipment to fabricate bespoke parts gives Brian the freedom
to put his imagination to the full and doesn’t limit his clients to off the shelf bolt on parts.
When he does get a spare 5 minutes he concentrates on his own bike called “Lay About” aptly named as it has been built from parts … laying about his workshops.
Many of these parts have been given the Back Alley Custom treatment, as the engraving on them is something to behold. And using parts from old oil burners and
converting them into fuel caps, an original musket ball used in the sissy bars are just some of the intrecate parts that make you go back for another look.
Bike envy is an understatement as the attention to detail and one-off fabricated parts are simply stunning.
One thing is certain, the future is very bright for Brian and Back Alley Motorcycles. You only need a few minutes in Brians presance
to see he loves what he does, and that love shines through in his work. So if you are ever in need of some custom work on your bike,
or even want a bike built, head for Southend on Sea, or just look online!.