Donation Bike Delivered to UM College of Veterinary Medicine Alumnus

Wednesday of last week I got to deliver the donation bike to the lucky winners – Drs. Melanie and Kevin (KC) Swope out at their veterinary clinic in Cuba, MO. They were very excited to see their prize and we snapped a few photos of the exchange!

Many thanks to those of you who got involved and purchased a ticket, we helped the college raise $20,000 for their scholarship fund which is excellent! Thanks as well to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine for helping us put this together for their Gentle Doctor Benefit and for the opportunity to help the students and the college. This was a great cause that I care about very much and it was really a privilege to be involved.

Read more about the Drs. Swope here: Alumna Wins Motorcycle in Gentle Doctor Benefit Raffle
Read more about the donation bike here: Say Hello to My Little Friend – And Enter To Win Her!

MU College of Veterinary Medicine Motorcycle Raffle Drawing

Donation Bike Raffle Ticket Sales End Tomorrow – Get Yours Now!

Tomorrow is the big day, the 2014 University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine‘s Gentle Doctor Benefit! And that means time is running out for you to get your chance to enter to win the donation bike I custom built from the ground up.

Have you seen this bike?

Read all about her and see more photos on the blog by clicking here!

She could be yours if you enter the raffle to try win…
RIGHT NOW, because not many tickets are left!
Click here to get yours!

Anyone can purchase a ticket for the raffle even if you cannot attend the actual event on April 5th and all proceeds will go to the great cause of supporting the MU College of Veterinary Medicine’s scholarship fund.

Read more about why this is so very important to me: Why the Donation Bike and The Gentle Doctor Benefit Really Matter

Help send students to school to be able to help make life better for the animals we love by buying a ticket–the winner will be chosen tomorrow evening! Good luck to you, I hope you get to see my smiling face delivering this to you at your convenience!

Say Hello to My Little Friend – And Enter To Win Her!

This bike was originally called the Wraith Sleipnir and is now become affectionately known as the “Donation Bike.” Why? Well for the obvious reason that this bike was built exclusively to be a donation to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine’s Gentle Doctor Benefit on April 5th, 2014. Started in the summer of 2013 she was a labor of love from the beginning.

Ready to meet her?

“The bike has a Harley-Davidson feel to its ride and look, but with the Springer front end. It harkens back to the classics of the ’70s era, with the real ‘Chopper’ look. Also, it has the seating and rear pegs for a passenger, but looks great as a solo bike.”

It started out its life as a wide-tire softail but as you can see, it has changed to a hardtail. This decision was made because of the look and the ride difference and the fact that we couldn’t really find any wide-tire conversion kits to suit the frame. As a two-up she rides extremely well, but as a solo she is fantastic. Running an HD Evo-80 and a 5-speed she is very nimble on around the town yet still packs enough power to send you down the highway quite comfortably.

She had to be built with two riders in mind as well as the possibility that someone who is not motorcycle-savvy might win. Because of this she is a very simple setup but with turn signals and other features that allow her to be registered in other states.

The artwork for the chopper is inspired by the College mascots: the mule team of Tim and Terry.


  • 80-cubic-inch Evo Engine sitting on a rigid frame
  • Mikuni carburetor
  • 5-speed Rev-Tech transmission
  • Custom-built tank and rear fender
  • Copper on black Springer front end
  • Chrome 60-spoke wheels
  • 240 rear tire
  • Chain final drive
  • Chrome-finish upper and lower controls
  • King/queen seat, with tuck-away passenger pegs

And she could be yours if you enter the raffle to try win!

Anyone can purchase a ticket for the raffle even if you cannot attend the actual event on April 5th and all proceeds will go to the great cause of supporting the MU College of Veterinary Medicine’s scholarship fund.

Read more about why this is so very important to me: Why the Donation Bike and The Gentle Doctor Benefit Really Matter

Please, help send students to school to be able to help make life better for the animals we love by buying a ticket!

Gary Savill Donation Bike Mizzou Parade

Why the Donation Bike and The Gentle Doctor Benefit Really Matter

I love building bikes but I also love animals. I know that I’m very low-key about declaring this and if you know me at all you could easily miss it.

I’m also versed in the art of sarcasm.

It’s no big secret that I love animals and have done a lot to seek their greater welfare over the years. Lately I have had the distinct pleasure of volunteering with a great St. Louis agency called Gateway Pet Guardians who are using their time–literally all hours of the day and night sometimes–and their own hands and homes to make a difference the stray animals & people in East St. Louis neighborhoods. The kind of passion that leads people into the streets to do something they believe in is the stuff the best parts of life are made of.

GPG partners with an amazing animal hospital called Hillside Animal Hospital that has a staff with hearts equally as gigantic and also the specialty medical knowledge really needed to help found animals who may be sick or wounded. Many often are, like Ziggy and Clemson.

I think we need more people in the world with these kind of hearts that also have certain skills. This is the reason that Barbara and I sought to contribute to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine and built a bike as an additional donation to their annual Gentle Doctor Benefit. I want to do what I can to share what my own hands can do but I also want smart, strong people to be able to have access to the training they need to help even more without going into much debt, if at all. From their website though:

MU veterinary graduates incur an average debt load of more than $100,000. To encourage the best and brightest students to attend MU and remain competitive with other veterinary colleges, we need to ensure sufficient scholarship funding is available.

That’s a $100k shackle that binds these students for a long, long time from being able to really open up and be able to help in all the ways that they may really want to. That’s a huge burden.

But there’s a way you can help right now.

By purchasing a raffle ticket for the donation bike I’ve built your money goes to help these students have less of this debt to worry about as they establish themselves after graduation. You’re also entered to win this pretty piece of machinery I’ve put together with MY own skills. Just look at her:

Silver Wraith Choppers Gentle Doctor Benefit Donation Bike

Anyone can purchase a ticket for the raffle even if you cannot attend the actual event and it’s all going to the great cause of supporting the MU College of Veterinary Medicine’s scholarship fund.

Please, help send students to school to be able to help make life better for the animals we love by buying a ticket!

Ron Burgundy See How Good I Look

New Silver Wraith Choppers Website Is Live!

Hey everyone, check out the new website! We got it stripped down, tuned up and purring like a kitten now, ready to be looked over on your desktop or stroked just as easily on your smartphone or tablet.

Now stop wasting time, go look at what’s currently for sale and send a message on the contact page to get your next ride started…or just leave a comment here or on Facebook telling us how dead sexy the site is and what kind of bike you want to see us build next!


Savill Family Endowment Announcement – University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine


Yesterday was a really special day for my wife, Barbara, and I where an important decision we made for our futures and the futures of many others was announced. We are pleased to share that we have made an estate commitment of $2.5 million to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in hopes of seeing the school fortified and growing long beyond the time we are here.

Building bikes is indeed a deep passion of mine, an incredible channel of creative expression, but of even greater significance in my core is a love for animals. Barbara & I are both avid animal lovers and we also know how hard it can be for the wonderful people who train to help them clear up debts and start their practice upon graduation but we hope this choice can make some part of that transition easier.

We had an excellent time on the campus in Columbia, MO yesterday and you can see some photos from the announcement above!

Another special contribution that I’m excited to make to the College–but far more immediately!–is the donation of this custom-built chopper motorcycle that I completed in the fall of 2013 to be raffled off at their Gentle Doctor Benefit fundraiser on April 5th this year.

Silver Wraith Choppers Gentle Doctor Benefit Donation Bike

Ready to buy a ticket? Get it here!

Anyone can purchase a ticket for the raffle even if you cannot attend the actual event. You can really kill 2 birds with one stone here: feed your need for speed by purchasing a ticket for this raffle bike that I’m very, very proud of AND know that no matter what, your money is going to the great cause of supporting the MU College of Veterinary Medicine’s scholarship fund.

Help send students to school to be able to help make life better for the animals we love by buying a ticket!

See the full announcement from yesterday:

St. Louis Couple Gives $2.5 Million to Fund Veterinary Medicine Scholarships at MU

And check go like the MU College of Veterinary Medicine on Facebook!

College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri


Industry Pros & Friends – Schaaf Built Custom T-Shirt Fundraiser

Hating to sound like the Miranda Lambert song ‘Automatic’ (which I actually like – yeah, shoot me), Zach Schaaf, who runs Schaaf Built, is not only a great friend, but an incredibly talented craftsman.  I believe he was born on the rear fender of a Knucklehead, and when he feels a little low on energy, drinks a quart of Royal Purple.

In addition to being a great person – he is also extremely lucky to have an amazing wife, and two fantastic kids.  On top of running a very successful parts business, hand-crafting cast parts, servicing motorcycles and building them, he also manages to do great things for humanity.  Zach’s latest project is to travel to Cambodia to repair 3 orphanages.  In order to pay for his expenses, he is working with a local designer and t-shirt printer to sell shirts to raise the money. To buy one, check out the front page of his website or click on the shirt below!

When the new store is open on my website, I am only going to be selling a few items from some very select manufacturers.  Zach’s stuff will be amongst them.  Over the next 4 months, I have some monster builds going on as well, and they will all feature some killer cast-parts from Zach.  Keep your eyes peeled for more Schaaf Built products in the future – he is gonna kill it!

Cincinnati V-Twin Expo Trade Show Recap

Cincinnati wasn’t any better weather-wise than Cleveland, but the one thing it did have was an over-abundance of some of the industry leaders in custom motorcycle building and parts fabrication. I’m not talking about the huge corporate giants that have all their stuff just shit out of some machine and sitting on a factory floor in the middle of China. I’m talking about guys like Led Sled or Schaaf Built, etc. These guys (along with a growing number of people) are making this stuff here in the US, out of US metals, by US craftsman.

For these guys, it’s not just a matter of it being the right thing to do – its about taking back, in small pieces, the manufacturing industry that we were once a leader in. For myself, I try to build from US parts as much as possible but sometimes, with costs being prohibitive and the economy not supporting high prices to cover those costs, I still have to compromise. Its still a business reality right now but by working together we’re starting to bring it back.

As for the show – not sure I will be going back for the show. As for the after-parties and the ‘real’ people though — I’ll be THERE every year! In this business it’s about honesty, integrity and being able to drink like a monster and still make it back to the hotel for pizza!

Read more about the show here: V-Twin Expo 2014 Robin Bradley reviews this year’s 13th Annual V-Twin Expo at Cincinnati

Cleveland International Motorcycle Show Recap

It was a bitterly cold weekend in Cleveland, but that didn’t deter the die-hard fans of all things motorcycle (and motorsports) from turning out. In what could turn out to be one of the highest attended shows (in my opinion), my peers in the industry pulled in some great builds for the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder competition. The Wraith Heimdall was sitting amongst some tough company, but I felt good about her chances of walking away with at least a small token of recognition.

I do have have a bit of a frustration with these competitions. A growing percentage of bikes represented are not hand-crafted builds–with people actually taking the time and sweating the blood to fabricate the parts–they’re simply assemblies of existing pieces. I could just throw a huge bunch of money at a sled and win everything too but where is the honor and the challenge in that? It’s just not what I’m about.

As far as I’m concerned, if you are entering your bike in a ‘Build-Off’, then build it – don’t have it built.

Anyway, The Heimdall did walk away with the People’s Choice Award, which to me is the most important one (even over placing in my class). Overall it was a great weekend with great people and a killer crowd. I especially want to thank Pat from Progressive and Bob and Keith from J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder who, as always, made this show a great one! See you there next year!

Read more about the show here: J&P Ultimate Builder Cleveland Results 2014 2014 Ohio J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Competition Winners Class and bad-a** – 2013 Wraith Heimdall is our pick for best custom chopper at Cleveland Progressive International Motorcycle Show Cleveland Ultimate Builder: ‘Hashtag Hustler’ award debuts



Starting Your Own Bike Building Business 2

2013-Wraith_HeimdallHope everyone is enjoying the great St. Louis weather at last. Within the last 5 weeks we have gone from a foot of snow to 93 degrees today… what do they say here, if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes?

So, on with the story. I talked about money and skills, so on to other critical success factors you will need to accomplish when getting your business off the ground.

  • Tools and supplies. When thinking about starting, look at reducing your start-up costs. Do you really ‘need’ those items to start, or are they just something you would like because you love filling your garage with tools? I definitely love filling my garage with tools, but I also have to ensure that the money is being spent on the business in a way that each dollar I spend is invested with a view to a return. The best advice I can give is that when you look at buying tools, by the best brand you can, with the best guarantee. You will break them, it will piss you off, and you will spend more time and money going back and forth trying to replace them than it would have cost to have bought good ones in the first place.
    • Don’t be cheap when it comes to items such as welders, just suck it up and buy a Miller TIG welder that also switches to AC for Aluminum – trust me, it’s worth it. Buy a good MIG as well for tac welding, like a Lincoln MIG. Buy a decent, 3-head, 80 cubic feet compressor. Anything less, and you will spend all day waiting for it to catch up with your tools.
    • When it comes to air tools I buy Harbor Freight. That goes for the tools, air lines and the consumables, such as sanding discs. The reason – they are cheap, I buy two of everything and if they break, I throw them out and open a new one. I know it goes against my mantra of buying good quality, but lets face it, they are probably made in the same factory as everyone else’s tools as well, and I reduce my downtime by having a spare on hand – plus, their guarantee isn’t too bad either.
    • The most critical tool is a bike lift. No need to go mad and drop a grand on one, just keep your eyes on the Harbor Freight website, or sign up for their e-flyers. Every couple of months they sell their bike lift for $299.00 with $100 delivery charge – that’s about $200 less than normal. That’s what I use, and its never failed me. Just make sure that once you raise it to the height you need, insert the safety bar in the slots, and then lower it onto the bar – that way, you are not carrying the weight of the ramp and the bike on the hydraulic rams.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned!