Founder of Roland Sands Designs
At 38, Roland Sands is one of those rare individuals in the motorcycle industry whose work bears a distinctive look, easily recognizable yet indefinable and certainly beyond the ordinary. With a blend of classic old- school, raw streetfighter, and high- tech styles, Roland’s designs continue to evolve. While his RSD line of parts is geared for the V- twin market, his recently released line of leather jackets and custom bike builds has no such boundaries.
A love of speed and success on the track is evident in everything he creates, and his fusion of board- track racer, café and modern functional design is fast becoming a popular trend. So we put a call in to see where he plans to take his future sportbike builds:
Roland: We’re doing some cafe racer- style bikes now, and we’ve got some full- bore sportbike builds coming up, like an Aprilia RSV4. We’re going to turn them into more of a classically styled bike while still retaining the function of their design. When I first think of custom sportbikes, I think of the typical stretched and chromed- out bike and that’s not anything I want to continue to do. I’m more into lightening the bikes up, stripping them down and simplifying them; taking a bike that is mega- functional and making it stylistically different but not killing the function that makes the bike special.
Inspiration for this style is really coming from the past when bikes had more simplistic lines. I call it deconstructing, which is a combination of technical functionality as far as aesthetics goes, and then just working backwards from there making certain parts look a little bit older and a little simpler. A lot of people who really appreciate function, speed and handling don’t particularly care for the way modern sportbikes look. You can kind of combine the look of the past with the technology of today and in the end you get a whole new look out of it.
As to where the future of custom sportbikes is headed, that’s tough to say. One thing I know is that when sportbikes get crashed, it’s expensive to put them back together. I end up stripping them down and turning them into something else. It’s like a blend of everything that we do. Deconstructing bikes. We’re gonna see more of that going on, and probably a little less of the stretched look and big money show bikes. Kind of like how the chopper world has gone to a more home- built style, the sportbike world is going to see more of that too, which is really a cool direction because it’ll give people a chance to be more creative.