Indian Chief Dirt-Tracker Custom

Roland Sands Design and GEICO team up to celebrate 75 years of Sturgis.

Roland Sands Design Indian Chief Racer static side view

It's no coincidence that this latest Indian Chief custom build by Roland Sands Design is inspired by American dirt-track racing's long history. And while the bike successfully recalls the brand's great legacy in the sport, the company is also using it to help announce this big news: Indian will be going AMA Pro Flat Track racing by 2017.

And so we have this lean machine right here. Hard to believe this bike actually started as a Chieftain. But about the only thing remaining from the production machine is its engine and the heavily sectioned and notched fuel tank that you can see you Roland Sands himself cutting and shaping in this brief teaser video Nothing stock ever really escapes RSD alive.

Indian Chief Racer custom motorcycle on-road action

The Thunder Stroke 111 is hopped up with prototype performance cams from Indian and features a hand-fabricated aluminum and carbon-fiber intake, plus full exhaust system. An RSD prototype Clarity cam/timing cover lets you peek inside the mechanical bits with a window, while a custom billet pressure plate from Barnett gets its time in the sun from a similar one-off billet Clarity primary cover. A chain, not a belt, sends power to the rear wheel. An interesting powerplant twist: The throttle operates the stock ride-by-wire potentiometer that is now hidden behind the front number plate.

The hand-fabricated chrome-moly rigid frame runs a sporty 26 degrees of rake and stubby 85mm of trail. While the overall lines of this custom Indian are gorgeous, the sweet touch is the wood seat pan (paddle?) made by Paul Schmitt of Schmitt Stix skateboards and covered with leatherwork by Mauricio Aguilar of Azteca Leather. Another really sweet touch is the Fox Float downhill mountain-bike air shock designed to make your ride in that saddle a little smoother.

Indian Chief Racer custom motorcycle off-road action

While most of this bike—down to the leaf-sprung front end—is a flight of fancy, it will not be lost on dirt-track fans that RSD built prototype flat-track racing wheels in 19-by-3-inch sizing to take racing tires. Rear brake only, of course, a Lloyd Brothers Motorsports dirt-track disc squeezed by an RSD Machine Ops Caliper and contrast-cut master cylinder.

Like most custom bikes, the Indian Chief dirt tracker is meant to trigger good feelings and launch dreams. Indian, of course, won’t be using a Chief engine in its flat-track racebike. Nor will it use the Scout’s liquid-cooled twin. As for us, we’re already dreaming about a lightweight, liquid-cooled high-performance 750cc V-twin entering production at Indian’s Spirit Lake assembly line in time to be legal for the 2017 AMA flat-track season. Better hurry up!

Indian Chief Racer custom motorcycle front wheel
Indian Chief Racer custom motorcycle fuel tank
Indian Chief Racer custom motorcycle side profile close-up

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