From Dunlop to Dunlop, just about every aspect of this '08 Cross Bones has been modified to stand out amongst any of its bone-stock brethren it may come across. Now when you see "modified" most of you might conjure up images of some leathered and weathered grease monkey with a cutting torch, tig welder, mallet, and shot bag going to town on this ride. But actually this bike has been modified in a rather manageable manner for even the most trepidacious wrench turner-it's all bolt-on.
Killing two birds with one stone, Roland Sands of Roland Sands Design (RSD) utilized this bike to fulfill the wants of his latest customer, but also to showcase some of his company's newest parts such as its new gas cap line, Turbine Air Cleaner, Contrast Cut Rocker box, Cam and Tranny covers, and most importantly the new Black Ops finish.
You might not be able to reinvent the wheel, but when it comes to giving the blacked-out look a new spin, Roland has achieved just that with Black Ops. We threw a few questions Roland's way to get his take on a little bit of everything.
HB: For those who don't know, please give a brief overview of your background in motorcycles and design.
RS: I was born a poor white child in Compton, California, in 1974. My parents were two overachieving hippy bikers with a dream and some good ideas. Together they started Performance Machine. I rode my first bike at 5-years-old and promptly broke my arm. I built my first custom, a Sportster flat tracker, when I was 16. I started road racing when I was 19, and about that same time I started designing motorcycle products. I won the AMA 250 GP National Championship in 1998. I built my first ground-up custom in 2002 and retired from racing after breaking 30 or so bones and became the VP of design at PM. I started my own brand, RSD, in 2005 and have been designing the majority of the product that comes from PM and RSD, as well as building more than 80 bikes for a diverse group of customers ranging from Ducati to Mickey Rourke.
HB: What is the story behind this bike? Why was it built? For a customer?
RS: This bike was built for a hard-riding guy named Aaron Presher. He wanted a low blacked-out bike. This was the perfect bike for our newest finish, Black Ops.
Sucker. The new Turbine Air Cleaner has also been given the Black Ops treatment.
HB: What exactly is the Black Ops finish? How does it compare in manufacturing (time, process, material) to Contrast Cut?
RS: We introduced Contrast Cut in 2003 and it's had a huge impact on the industry. Nearly every manufacturer out there now has its version of it, so it was time for something new. It's a proprietary finish and we're not going to reveal the process but, it's a very difficult finish to manufacture and it looks amazing. Gloss black and satin black with sort of a light texture for a rugged appeal. It's utilitarian while also being high class and very detailed. We like it.
HB: When you design a new product, how does the process begin. Where do you get inspiration from?
RS: Inspiration comes from all around. I look towards other industries, architecture, furniture, as well as art and general product design for ideas. There's so much inspiration out there, it's more about filtering out all the bullshit and maintaining what's core and bitchin' rather than hype.
HB: When a customer asks you to build him a bike, does he just let you do your thing or does he usually have specific requests?
RS: People come to us because they want something that works as good as it looks and that's what we supply. Customers mainly trust us on the core designs, but everyone wants to put their own style, color, and finish ideas together so that's what we do. We're down with crazy ideas as long as they don't look gaudy or fucked. We won't let that happen.