With more than 30 years experience as a custom bike builder, Dave Perewitz has gained a worldwide reputation as a consummate motorcycle artist long before it became fashionable and has surely come a long way since his early days repairing and fabricating his friends’ bikes in his father's backyard shed.
Perewitz has been building beautiful bikes for celebrities, sport figures and big names for several decades, but he also prides himself on creating amazing bikes for Joe and Joan Normal as well.
When other bike builders see one of Dave’s creations, the first thing they declare is “We’re not worthy. We’re not worthy!” As a self-taught mechanic and fabricator, and the owner of Perewitz Cycle Fabrication in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Dave entered the motorcycling world in 1967 when he purchased a 1964 Harley-Davidson Sportster. Quickly, he built an impressive business by creating highly unique custom-made motorcycles that aren't just show bikes that sit on showroom floors or only displayed at rallies. No, Dave Perewitz has always built beautiful bikes that people want to ride—and that’s why many of his builds are used as daily riders by enthused owners all over the globe.
What does Perewitz remember about those early days? “Well you know I started my business officially in 1970 and back then I really had no idea what I was doing,” Perewitz explained. “I realized that I loved working on motorcycles and I enjoyed working on cars, so as long as I could make a few bucks I was gonna keep on doing it. I opened my first store in 1975 and shortly after that I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I can actually make a living here!’"
Perewitz is a household name among the best bike builders in the world, and he’s been featured on television in the Biker Build-Off II show on Discovery Channel and his motorcycles have appeared on too many magazine covers to count. He also is involved in motorcycling safety as a spokesperson for Allstate Insurance, spreading the message in towns that host motorcycle rallies by informing drivers that they need to watch out for motorcycles and conversely, motorcyclists need to ride in a safe manner using common sense and unaltered by alcohol or drugs. .
Traveling from bike rally to bike rally during the season, Dave and Allstate promote cautious riding to help make the roads and highways safer for everyone. Allstate is donating Motorcycle Safety Foundation training videos and materials to local driver education classes, independent driving schools and libraries to help raise awareness and prevent accidents at intersections, the most common type of motorcycle accidents year after year.
Who are some of the more notable celebrities and athletes who ride bikes designed and built by Perewitz? “Well, I would say a couple of the guys like Ruben Brown who played for the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills. I've built Ruben six different bikes and Ruben is a real rider who rides as often as he can. He is retired now so he has made it his mission to do all the motorcycle events with us and he is a riding fool by far.” Other Perewitz celebrity builds include the wrestler Hulk Hogan, Brad Whitford from Aerosmith, NASCAR racers Tony Stewart, Greg Zippadelli, Kyle Petty, Ray Everham and Ricky Rocket from the band called Poison.
Major honors for Perewitz include his induction as a member of the Camel Roadhouse Tour (1998-2000); Induction into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame (2001); Named "Best Custom Fabricated Bike Builder" by Easyriders Magazine/V-Twin Magazine (2003); Inducted into National Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame in Anamosa, Iowa (2003); Member, Easyriders Centerfold Tour (2005); Received "Life Time Achievement Award" by Easyriders Magazine/V-Twin Magazine (2005); and Discovery Channel Biker Build-off Winner (2006).
While other bike customization shops in this country have struggled in this recession, Perewitz Cycle Fabrication has stayed consistently busy and the demand for Dave’s bikes is stronger than ever. We asked Perewitz about the main reasons why he has excelled while the industry as a whole is hurting?
“Well I'm kind of a special exception to all the rules because you know, I've been doing it for so long and I've got such a great clientele,” Perewitz said. “There aren’t many builders in this country right now that have customers like I do. And so I'm lucky and blessed with that, but I definitely saw a ton of changes that have happened within the last year or so. I mean, in the last decade I have never had less than a year backlog on bikes. Then we kind of ate up that backlog last year and had a very rough winter. We had work but boy; it was tough getting through it. And then spring came around and the doors just completely opened up again. Since then we've been bombed with work. Our service department has been packed every day and we’re getting orders for new bikes all the time.”
What does a custom built Perewitz bike cost approximately, we asked Dave? “Usually they start at like $60,000. But now we've become very versatile, and now we’re doing a lot of bobbers and pans. We can do those for a lot less money. Everything we do right now is anywhere from $30,000 and up.”