Savannah was a part of our first ride and event ever, before we even knew it was an event...before port o potties, before any entertainment, before the plethora of food and free stuff, before literally anything. We named it Babes in Borrego and it consisted of 50 girls who barely knew each other camping out on government owned land in 2013...yeah 2013, not that long ago right? Since then Savannah has done some incredibly amazing things including taking on a job with S&S Cycle. A perfect fit for someone who loves motos as much as she does. Get to know more about her and one of our amazing sponsors S&S Cycles!
How long have you worked at S&S and what do you do?
I do all the social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, ChopCult, and various forums, along with attending events and taking pictures/getting content. From Sturgis, to Hot Bike Tour, Born Free, Mama Tried, and I get to race my bike at Flat Out Friday coming up, and of course, Babes Ride Out! I started at S&S right after Born Free this year, I hit the road with all my stuff and now I live in Wisconsin.. It’s beautiful out here, my drive into work is 20 miles of twisty back roads!
How did you get into the industry?
Well I sort of forced myself into the industry – I started with my own vintage store, specifically selling Harley shirts and parts, leather jackets and cool old junk. Through that, I attended every show, swap meet, and party I could, and ended up making friends with some really rad people. When the opportunity came up for this job, I jumped on it, even though it meant leaving So Cal where I was born and raised.. totally worth it! The weather isn’t quite what it was back home, but the riding here is beautiful.
What is the history behind S&S Cycle?
S&S has been around a long time, since 1958, and has focused on making performance parts for Harley Davidsons, and other American V-Twins. Back in the early 50’s, George J Smith was determined to go faster. He actually built up his bike, a 1939 Knucklehead, with a 61” engine, called the Tramp, which he upgraded to 91” and it managed to hit 152.02 on the salt flats. He realized he wasn’t the only one who wanted to go faster, and started the company with Stanley Stankos, who later sold his half to Margie Smith, the wife of George J Smith. Margie used to not only answer phones and tech questions, but she built and tested a lot of the parts herself! Guys used to call in, looking for tech advice, and ask for “one of the guys” – well, they soon learned that Margie dished out all the tech info they needed. She knew her stuff, front and back. There’s pictures of her working on the big machines making parts, and we have her actual Shovelhead parked downstairs. She’s definitely one of the major women in the scene, although she’s not as widely known about.
S&S makes everything - new Twin Cams, Evos, and we still make parts for vintage bikes - everything from an improved KN (knucklehead style) engine, PH (panhead style) the SH (shovelhead style), and we even make a 100” Sportster engine.. We’ve even moved into exhaust, and have an EPA emissions lab (which not many companies can say.) Basically, we have really smart guys in engineering who can look at something, and figure out how to make it better. It’s really cool to see – you can even take a tour – of how we manufacture the parts. Our whole thing is American Made – which is really awesome. It’s great to work for a company I really believe in, making parts that I actually use – hell, a good portion of us here ride to work daily, and you can see in the parking lot just how much we believe in the products!
What kind of products do you make and how do they make your moto better?
S&S is all about performance. We can’t leave anything stock here, it’s all about going faster. We manufacture pretty much everything for V-twins, from entire engines, exhaust, and more. Want more horsepower? We can do that. Every part, from intake to exhaust, from cylinders and pistons, cams, and everything in between to help you go faster.. Not just faster, but better quality. And not just for Harleys, either. All of our parts are handmade here in Wisconsin, and fit together perfectly – ask the old chopper guy next door, or the dude with 12 motorcycles parked in his garage, and I bet he’ll tell you that S&S makes ‘em best.
Do you have any of the parts on your bike? If so, tell us about them:
I just finished hardtailing my bike, which is a 2000 Sportster, and installing our new Hooligan Kit – I went from 1200 to 1250. It got new bigger cylinders and pistons, new bigger 482 cams, and new tappets, along with a Teardrop air cleaner. Hiding inside I have the Hi4n Ignition system, coil, and our spark plug wires. Next up is the Super E carburetor! The Hooligan kit is rad, it gives you more horsepower and torque without a lot of work – it’s all bolt-on. And it means I can go faster on the bike I’ve spent so much time on – I don’t have to upgrade to a bigger bike to get more power.
Modifying your bike can be personal, tell us about why you made your mods and how they changed your bike for the better:
My bike is my baby. Seriously, I didn’t even buy myself a new bed when I moved here until I got all the parts I needed for my bike! I actually bought it off of my mom about a year ago, so she’s still a work in progress. So aesthetically, I’ve always wanted a chopper. This goes against the performance ideals a bit, but they just look SO COOL. I’ve modified nearly everything on this bike! I have a weld-on Road 6 Customs hardtail kit, with a sprung seat, big sissy bar, Wassel style tank, custom handlebars, Hippy Killer pegs and grips, and a handful of Biltwell parts.. and countless other small mods. She’s still in primer, and will get a pearl paint job this winter. As far as motor work, she was a dead stock 1200.. but that’s changed for sure! Engine upgrades are my favorite part, though. There’s nothing like being able to keep up, and pass, the big bikes on my little Sportster! You should see the look on their faces when a little chopped up Sporty flies past them on their big ol’ Road King..
Have you noticed a significant upgrade in performance?
Every mod I’ve made I feel like the bike is better and stronger.. oh yeah, and faster! A LOT faster.. I can keep up with the guys on Dynas just fine now, whereas before, there were a few times I was left in the dust.
What are S&S’s goals for this coming year? Anything in the works we should know about?
As far as this year, we’re always working on new parts. We have a lot of parts in R&D for the new 2017 bikes, along with always improving on parts for all the years. but my favorite is the new Hooligan Kit. So we named it for the new trend of Hooligan Racing.. you know, Rusty Butcher? Hooligan racing is all about taking your street bike, your daily rider, and getting out there and ripping it around like it probably wasn’t meant to do! Mark jumps higher on his Sporty than I’ve ever seen.. So since Sporties are getting so popular, we put together the big-bore kit. It’s really not just for dudes looking to get crazy, it’s definitely a quality upgrade for any bike. Especially since a lot of us bought a cheap 883 Sportster as our first bike, we’ve modified them and painted them exactly how we want, this gives you a way to get that bike going a little faster without having to buy a whole new motorcycle.
We know you are one of the original 50 who came to the first ever BRO, tell us about how you found out about it and the experience:
Wow, that was so long ago! I actually met a girl named Emma at a party, and she rolled up on her Triumph Bonneville. I thought that was so awesome, I had been wanting so badly to learn to ride. My mom had already been riding for years, and somehow I just never got around to it, as I was a classic car girl. Well, Emma told me about this all-girls campout she saw on Instagram, and I got my ass in gear. Yep, Instagram. Crazy how it took off! I took the MSF course, and got my motorcycle license and bought a little Honda CB360T, which was quickly replaced with an 883 Sportster, which I rode for the first time all the way down to Borrego.
I had SO MUCH FUN that trip, it was a new thing for me to ride with girls at all, much less 50 other girls! I met up with everyone at the Long Beach meet at Iron Cobras, from which we rode down to meet up with the southern crew. We all rode down to have lunch, then hit the dirt road out to the dry lake bed. Hanging out around a campfire all night, and sleeping under the stars next to my bike was really an amazing experience I’ll never forget. There’s nothing like the deserts out there, and I’ll never forget Babes in Borrego!
What is S&S contributing to the raffle?
We’re contributing a Teardrop Air Cleaner – it’s a classic, and probably the most recognizable item from S&S – you’ll see it on everything from old choppers, to Dynas and even baggers! It’s also one of the easiest ways to improve your bike, and the first step we recommend in upgrading – getting more air to the engine is the quickest way to improve your performance. Oh, and it looks awesome! Come check out my bike to see it in person!