21 Questions with Lowbrow Customs' Tyler Malinky


Ingenuity and bootstrap capitalism are philosophical bedrocks that have provided a solid foundation for motivated citizens of America's rust belt for centuries. A little over a decade ago the Buckeye State's Tyler Malinky was a brainy high-school grad with a life plan that included giving it to The Man in a way that would stick. Armed with a self-motivated teenager's idealism, some cash and a punk rock streak a mile long, Tyler sat down in a tattoo parlor to get the ink that would ensure his place in the pantheon of entrepreneurs forever. "I figured I could tattoo my hands and that would ensure I do something on my own and not be complacent—no one else would hire me." Today Tyler does what he pleases, and what pleases his customers, at a company called Lowbrow Customs. This is his story.


Age: 30

Business: Lowbrow Customs

Town: Hinckley, Ohio

Coworkers: My brother Kyle, Katy Bear, my wife Larissa and my daughter Darly June

Riding buddies: My friend Greg. We went on EDR III and Gypsy Run 2 together, and ride regularly on-road and off. Greg and of course my brother Kyle. We don't have a big group of guys to ride with; usually I ride solo or with one or two people.

First time on two wheels: I was one of those unfortunate kids who was not allowed to ride go-karts or minibikes due to the high risk of injury, though when I was about 13 I used to go to my friend Gabe's grandparents’ farm in Toledo and ride three-wheelers on the down-low. I got my first motorcycle—a ‘70 Triumph with a '77 Triumph Tiger 750cc and 5-speed in it—when I was 18. My Mom was bummed.

First hand-built motorcycle: I chopped my first Triumph about a year or so after I got it. After learning how to turn a wrench on that first bike, then rebuilding the motor from the sludge trap up, I tore the bike back down and ended up building a gooseneck-framed rigid with a girder front end and forward controls with a foot clutch and hand shift. I would build it differently now, but it was a solid, ground-up build for my first attempt.

Earliest two-wheeled adventure: Building a minibike with my friend Gabe while in middle school. That was my only brush with two-wheeled fun until I was 18, when I got my Triumph.

Most recent two-wheeled adventure: Riding from Murrieta, CA, to Las Vegas with Bill Bryant on a borrowed '07 Sportster. We rode through Joshua tree and across the Mojave Desert and hit plenty of rain and cold weather before arriving at the Vegas DicE party 400 miles later. I think we were the only guys who rode out from California. Some of the coldest riding I have done—which says a lot since I live in Ohio! On the way back through the Cajon pass it snowed like crazy.

Current stable of bikes and projects: A die-hard '74 Honda CB750 chopper I paid 600 bucks for and rode on El Diablo Run in 2008; my 1955 Triumph LSR bike that I took to Bonneville Speed Week in 2010; a 1975 Yamaha XS650 dirt tracker I picked up this past fall but haven't even had time to mess with yet; my trusty 2006 Yamaha YZ250F (I love riding trails it's the best); 1954 Triumph Terrier 150cc pit bike. I’m also currently doing a ground up build on a 1959 Harley-Davidson panhead (my first HD) and a 1960 Triumph drag bike that will end up as a sidecar bike that I am going to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and perhaps some local drag strips or the Maxton Mile in North Carolina.

Tool you wish you had but don't: Lincoln Electric Invertec portable TIG welder



Tool you have but wish you didn't: None

Proudest moment: The birth of my daughter. She is the coolest person ever. Following up second would be longer than a moment, but the 8-month all consuming endeavor that was building a bike and then getting to and racing at Bonneville Speed Week.

Darkest secret: None, I keep it real.

Deepest fear: I don't know, I haven't experienced it yet.

Biggest regret: None

Reason for being: Having fun, enjoying life and love. I believe that you only get to go around once, so you have to make it count.

If I lost my right arm: I would get over it.

Thanks: To my wife Larissa for standing by me even though I can be obsessive and overwhelming; to Kyle and Katy for taking care of business and helping make Lowbrow what it is, and to all our customers that help make what I do a passion and not just work.

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Comment with Chopcult (44)

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 07:22 am

A stand up guy all around. I recently took the plunge and made my shop full time. Tyler and Kyle are big influences to me and my shop. And there bikes are RAD!!!!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 07:22 am

Damn Greg, it looks like Tyler was handing it to you all day on the trails. Mud all over you and Tyler is squeaky clean!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 07:40 am

I saw a picture of that bike on an issue of The horse when they were talking about the salt flats. Real cool looking scoot.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 07:50 am

bikes are great but the pic of the fam is the best! congrats on continued success.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 08:51 am

I still want your Shitzu!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 08:52 am

Cheers! I dig Lowbrow.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 08:53 am

a great guy to deal with, his word is worth more than money.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 09:09 am

Lowbrow's customer service has been above all . I've dealt with them many times - Great job . Support those who support us.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 09:09 am

Good Stuff - Good Dude!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 09:17 am

Met both Tyler and Kyle at Mid-Ohio last year both stand up guys answered all the stupid questions I had without any hesitation. They will continue to get my business.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 09:22 am

I met Tyler last year at the Lowbrow Get Down...super nice dude! He's genuine!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 09:27 am

Good to see the ingenuity and passion still have a chance in the world of today. Much respect. Loffer.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 09:36 am

Never heard of 'em.


Commented on 2-23-2011 At 10:01 am

I want to ride the dark Ohio dirt with you guys.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 10:05 am

im lucky to live close enough to Ohio with out having to live in it to enjoy hangin out or running into tyler and his brother from time to time, great dudes, great business. proud lowbrow wierdo

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 12:15 pm

I spent some time in North East Ohio in 2010, I consider myself lucky to have meet the guys. All around good people! Thanks for being awesome, and keepin it real Lowbrow!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 01:11 pm

Awesome company may they only get bigger

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 01:13 pm

Lowbrow, the whole crew good people!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 01:51 pm

such a cool crew.....massive props to them.....

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 01:51 pm

Great company and great service lowbrow is the shit.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 01:58 pm

from the down to earth family business, to great customer service, to supporting the best parts of the current chopper community, to their efforts for charity (buy a winged wheel patch and support the cause! see the lowbrow site for details)...the lowbrow clan is simply good people. i think they will be around for a long time to come and continue to provide a good example for others to follow.

ps-congrats on expanding to the new space and good luck on the salt!

say it loud! i'm weird and i'm proud!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 03:10 pm

I am a repeat customer and they are top notch every time. Hope to run into these cats and have a beer with them some day.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 05:00 pm

These guys rule and are about as core in the chop scene as you can get. Love doing business with them. If you haven't checked them out get on it son cause your late to the show!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 05:06 pm

I'm in Hudson, OH anytime you wanna ride!

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 05:24 pm

Tyler is a great guy, for sure. I wish I lived in OH so I could bug him more.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 05:48 pm

I feel like a nerd reading an article about myself, ha, thanks though for real for the kind feedback, it is really appreciated! I do have to say again Lowbrow wouldn't be what it is without the hard work from Kyle, Katy, and Todd, the newest member of the Lowbrow crew.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 06:13 pm

i am opening a small 1 man shop and I know how much work it is and this cat has his shit together .... trust me . Great job dude..

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 07:46 pm

These guys have always been stand up and Tyler and Kyle both have never seemed to amaze me.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 08:21 pm

best online buisness ive dealt with and quailty parts

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 08:33 pm

Tyler I have a : Lincoln Electric Invertec portable TIG welder I may be selling soon. It is an awesome machine.


Commented on 2-23-2011 At 09:35 pm

Tyler, Kyle and the rest of the LB crew are awesome people. No more, no less.

Commented on 2-23-2011 At 10:31 pm

I am proud to call Tyler my business partner (in the DVD Biz) and friend. Go Lowbrow!!

Commented on 2-24-2011 At 03:04 am

I've always had positive experience from the people at Lowbrow, I live close so its always nice to be able to support a local business.

Commented on 2-24-2011 At 05:06 am

Top bloke.

Commented on 2-24-2011 At 02:07 pm

just ordered my first thing from lowbrow a few weeks ago...I dig this company and rep them...keep up the good work

Commented on 2-24-2011 At 02:44 pm

I've bought parts from Lowbrow a few times. Now i have a face (and names) to go with the great parts and service. You guys rock...keep it up.

Commented on 2-24-2011 At 04:34 pm

Lowbrow. Two thumbs up!

Commented on 2-24-2011 At 06:29 pm

Everyone could learn a thing or two from the Lowbrow team.

Commented on 2-24-2011 At 09:48 pm

Tyler is a great guy, and Lowbrow is a great company. They get my support all the way. Livin the dream!

Commented on 2-25-2011 At 10:08 am

Hard work and doing the right thing does actually work; take a look at this guy! I am glad to associated with such a stand up dude! Tim

Commented on 2-26-2011 At 08:53 am

"you only get to go around once, so you have to make it count."

well put. I agree.
keep it up!

cheers from Sweden!

Commented on 2-26-2011 At 11:08 am

People like Lowbrow and Biltwell give me hope for the chopper industry, after the shitshow it turned into in the last decade. Big thanks to Tyler and Kyle and the others at Lowbrow for the awesome parts that are helping my '53 Panhead chopper come together (can't wait for those vintage cloth wires to arrive this week!)

Commented on 3-2-2011 At 03:56 am

Add me to the Tyler fan club. Go Lowbrow or go home.

Commented on 8-30-2012 At 09:13 am

he sounds like a real cool dude

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