Dave Miller: 1955-2020

| May 26, 2020

Dave Miller: 1955-2020. The motorcycle community mourns the loss of industry icon Dave Miller, who was found dead on Friday at his Anaheim race shop, Dave Miller Concepts. His body was found by a shop employee shortly after noon on the floor in front of his welding bench. The 64-year-old racer-turned fabricator/tuner had recently completed an exhaustive series of chemotherapy treatments following a cancer diagnosis late last year.

Dave Miller: 1955-2020
Legendary motorcycle tuner Dave Miller (of Miller Mana and later Dave Miller Concepts) passed away at the age of 64. Photos: Scott Heidbrink

Dave was a three-time National Minibike Champion and accomplished pro racer during the early years of motocross in Southern California, but it was his skill as a tuner and fabricator that really stood out. In 1973, Miller went to work for Donny Emler at FMF, building pipes and aftermarket products that squeezed every bit of performance from the early Honda Elsinores, Yamaha YZs and Suzuki RMs. Miller also built custom bikes, such as the famous “Penda” and became well known for quality and attention to detail.

In 1975, he opened his first shop, Miller Mano, creating the slogan “Everything’s Sano at Miller Mano” and sold it in 1977.  Miller’s growing reputation as a master craftsman made him a hot commodity for many MX-, auto- and boat-racing teams, while also producing custom race bikes for well-heeled clients. He opened his “non-profit hobby shop,” Dave Miller Concepts, in the early ‘80s and continued to produce works of art, right up to his death.

Dave Miller: 1955-2020
Miller had the magic to make small-bore bikes go much faster. At one time he was a hero with minibike riders.

“Dave was a true genius with a photographic memory, he could tell you the specs on every bike he ever worked on, right down to the size of the pilot jet and how many turns out on the air screw,” said lifelong friend Todd Peterson.

“One time as we left a rider’s meeting, he talked about casting an aluminum radial head in metal shop class!” said Ross Maeda. “I was just learning to split cases, and he was making cylinder heads in high school!”

Patrick Johnson, a fellow bike-building craftsman, described Miller: “Dave was a sculptor, a painter, an architect, an engineer, a chemist and a physicist. He could explain the inner workings of a motorcycle and tell you where to best set up for the next corner. He was a true Renaissance man. Dave was our Michelangelo, our Da Vinci. He molded motorcycles with his hands out of raw metal and saw potential in a design none of us could ever imagine. He was cut from a rare cloth that they don’t make anymore and there are but a few of him left.”

Dave Miller: 1955-2020
Of course, Miller was also a racer.

Friend Dave Carlson wishes people knew the Dave Miller that he knew so well. “Sure, Dave was a motorcycle genius,” he said. “He had a gift and he used that gift to provide for his wife, Jody and sons David, Cole and Andre. I’ve never known anyone as dedicated to family as Dave was.”

A **GoFundMe** https://www.gofundme.com/f/dave-miller-dmc-dave-miller-concepts?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet account has been created to help the Miller family with medical expenses and other expenses related to his passing.

Steve Bauer

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