To create the ultimate immersive experience for all levels of bikers, riders and gear heads, High Seas Rally will be cruising with a crew of awesome custom bike builders who will host talks, show off their work around the ship and spark some exciting new entertainment on the cruise. Each month we throw a spotlight on one of our amazing builders who are bringing some of their awesome motorcycles to display on the ship. This month our featured builder is Jason Hallman, owner of Speed Metal Built Motorcycles out of Lakeland, FL. We thought you might like to get to know Jason a bit before you shake his hand at the World’s Only Motorcycle Rally on a Cruise Ship. We had a few questions for Jason and he had a few answers for us. Here’s what he had to say.
HSR – Did you grow up in a family that rides motorcycles?
JH – Yes, I did. my parents were bikers. I grew up in Detroit proper and my dad built motorcycles in our house. The neighborhood was shady even way back in the 1970’s so we never kept the bike in the garage, it was stowed in the living room
HSR – What was your first bike?
JH – My first Harley was a proper Sportster Custom with a 21-inch front wheel and I put drag pipes on it.
HSR – What was the first bike you ever customized?
JH – The first bike I ever REALLY customized was my 1991 FLHS. Back then everyone wanted a chopper, I wanted one too, but I needed to be able to ride across the country, so I built a bagger that had a little of both.
HSR – Every biker has a defining moment when they first realize that custom bikes and the lifestyle is in their blood. What was your defining moment?
JH – Funny…I got a phone call in 2003 from my dad who was at Daytona Bike Week for the first time. He was telling me what he was seeing down there, and he even sent me some of those grainy, photos that took forever to download (it was after all, 2003 and I still had dial up-LOL). Well, by the time he got home from that trip I had already gone to the dealership and bought a bike.
HSR – Love it! Tell us about the bike you will be bringing to the High Seas Rally.
JH – It is a bike that means a TON to me. I designed a frame over a decade ago and since life has a way of getting in the way of building my own chopper, it has never been finished. It is really a special bike because the parts on it have all come from my friends in the industry. Paul from Bare Knuckle Choppers built the frame, Pat from Led Sled built me a one-off custom set of wheels like you’ve never seen before, Bill Dodge gifted me a set of triple trees. I have a Rigidaire seat from Paul Cox…and the paint is from the last custom bike I built for myself. I sold the bike they were on originally in 2008 and the parts came back to me about five years ago so, I am stoked to build this bike and finally ride a chopper again!
HSR – Very cool! Sum up your design philosophy for us.
JH – My dad instilled in me the idea that no part goes untouched. Even if only to polish it, you need to leave a part of you or your work in or on everything you bolt or weld to a bike. I’d like to think (now that he has passed) that I feel the same way. It may lack the originality of being “my own” philosophy but I look at it like I am carrying on his legacy.
HSR – We’re sure your dad would be very proud of that. Tell us a little bit about your custom bike shop. We understand it has a lot to do with your dad’s legacy as well.
JH – All my dad ever wanted was a bike shop. My mother told me that when I was a baby and before, my dad would lay in bed and tell her all about what his bike shop would look like, what they could sell there, and what types of customers and bikes they would have. My Dad was 52 when we started this journey together. When he died in 2018, I seriously thought about hanging it up, but I just couldn’t do it. My dad gave me freedom. Freedom from being tied to a desk, freedom to attend Sturgis and Daytona. Today my daughter works with me and she wants to take the business over. She was four when my dad and I started this full time. She doesn’t remember a time that we didn’t have a bike shop. I am glad that she loves it so much. It would make my dad proud to see it still going for a third generation. I work with amazing people, and I do an amazing thing for a living. Sometimes it’s great and sometimes it isn’t so great, but I’ll take the good with the bad in this business over a great day working in a job I don’t absolutely love.
Jason opened CycleStop USA with his father in 2003. He is also the editor of Torque Magazine, host of Torque Television and host of the Garage Built Podcast.