Among the younger builders operating in the market today, one of the most prolific is Roland Sands, who during the World Championship of Custom Bike Building had four bikes entered in the show. His highest placed build was “Black Beauty”, the runner-up in the 2009 Modified Harley Class.
ROLAND Sands’ success as a custom builder may well be due to the fact that he is not afraid to experiment with bikes. He is one of a handful of professional builders who are as comfortable working on metric bikes as they are working on V-twins, and this ideology clearly can be seen in the styling of Sands’ “Black Beauty”. “Black Beauty” is the one of two bikes he entered in the Modified Harley Class at the World Championship of Custom Bike Building last year and placed second in the class.
The rules of the class require that the frame used on any of the bikes originally must be built by Harley-Davidson. Any and all modifications are allowed, so the crew at Roland Sands Design (RSD) took a hacksaw to the frame and removed everything from the back of the tank down to the swingarm pivot. Then for good measure the swingarm was binned too. The influence of the many metric bikes RSD has worked on clearly can be seen in the design of the replacement swingarm, a collaboration between RSD and Gregg’s Customs, a single-sided unit reminiscent of those used by the Ducati factory. However, in this case, the original Harley-Davidson shock location was re-used, albeit with Progressive Suspension shocks.
Once again Metric parts were utilized at the front of “Black Beauty”, where a Suzuki GSX-R front end was bolted up. However, this was not left stock. The left side front brake mount was removed and a set of custom triple trees were added. As would be expected, the wheels used in the build came from the Performance Machine catalog and are a set of Assault wheels; 21in at the front and 18in at the rear. Unsurprisingly, the brakes too came from PM with a radial mount four-piston fitted at the front and a regular four-piston caliper on the rear.
As with the frame restrictions, the engine’s cases have to be by Harley-Davidson, but the rest is open to any change. And it is at this point that Roland’s racing background became apparent. The stock cases were kept, and performance heads, cylinders, pistons, valves and cam by Küryakyn were added to them. Induction was taken care of by a Mikuni carb, and spent gases exit by a RSD Tracker exhaust. The engine was blacked out before being detailed with gold anodized covers from the RSD catalog.
More Performance Machine (PM) parts can be found in the transmission with the use of one of the company’s open primary drives, which takes the engine’s output to the stock H-D gearbox. On the other side of the motor, a full set of RSD Vintage line covers, finished in a gold anodizing, have been fitted. Further RSD production parts used in the build include the rear set foot controls, motor mount and taillight, while PM provided the Contour hand controls.
“Black Beauty” is finished with a gas tank built in the RSD workshop and painted by regular painter Chris Wood of Airtrix, a prototype beehive oil tank mounted in front of the engine, and a seat by Bitchin’ Rich.
With this bike, Roland Sands has shown what is possible to do using a stock bike as the basis of a build and using a little imagination. If the stock engine were retained, a bike like this could be built for a relatively small budget, offering an entry into the world of Customs without having to do a ground-up build.
ROLAND SANDS DESIGN
La Palma, California, USA
Tel: 714 228 8481
Fax: 714 228 8468