As the head man and namesake behind Roland Sands Design, Roland Sands has been busy as hell the past few years. Between having a couple of babies, starting the Super Hooligan race series, and putting together more amazing custom machines than the internet knows about—and they know about a lot; you’d swear the guy has 12 hands (or at least a team of wizards and warlocks working with him). The latest build to leave his shop is called “The Mescalero,” and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen from Sands and the team yet—or really any chopper we’ve laid eyes on.

Inspiration can be a hard thing to find, but it gets a lot easier when your dad was an epic builder and you happen to uncover some of his old gold in your shop. Back in the day, Sands’ dad built a plunger-framed Indian Chief chopper known as “Peyote Puffer.” The bike was hot pink with Candy Red flames and a molded frame. It was far out and it was awesome. But let’s be real… The building scene has changed, and Sands isn’t the far-out chopper guy his dad was. No, he’s much more of a racer.

Indian Chief Chopper
"The Mescalero," Indian Chief Chopper by Roland SandsJoe Hitzelberger

“We feel we can honor history as long as we try and make it work better than the original,” Sands said. “That’s what we’ve done with The Mescalero. There’s just something about a chopper. It’s more about how it makes you feel when you ride it, not how fast you can go. You’re transformed as soon as you sit in the seat and grab the bars. When you let the clutch out and don’t stall the bike and do it with style, it’s a reward. It’s a motorcycle that requires a relationship and time spent with the machine. A chopper is like a woman in that respect; it asks for a commitment. And this bike does that.”

Indian Chief Chopper
"The Mescalero," Indian Chief Chopper by Roland SandsJoe Hitzelberger

The juxtaposition of old and new, of soul and speed, is where this bike finds its unique flair—the blend of 1960s custom style with a handshift and a custom-machined mechanical foot clutch next to modern high-performance components like the RSD floating brake rotors. Or the stainless steel Indian-style girder that pivots on custom-cut CNC arms with an Öhlins shock—yes it’s vintage style and I would still call it a proper chopper, but according to Sands and the guys, “You can ride the bike hard. Trust us.”

Get the full story of the Mescalero and the Peyote Puffer at RolandSandsDesign.com

Indian Chief Chopper
Details on "The Mescalero," Indian Chief Chopper by Roland SandsJoe Hitzelberger
Specifications:
Rear wheel: 19 x 3.0-in. RSD Hammer heavy race wheel with Dunlop DT3 (extra-hard R10 compound) race tire
Front wheel: Custom-made 21 x 2.15-in. RSD Traction wheel and TT brake hub with Dunlop K180 tire (the original flat-track race tire of the past, still in production in Japan)
Foot clutch: Uses a mechanical linkage, not hydraulic
Tail/brake light: Repurposed the stock Indian Chieftain headdress front fender light as the taillight and brake light
Brake calipers: Performance Machine Vintage four-piston
Seat: Custom by Rich at Bitchin Seat Company
Barnett custom cables and clutch pressure plate
Burly Brand saddlebag and tool roll
Paint: Airtrix
Patina: Brass Junkie
K&N head breathers and oil filter
Motul oil
Indian Chief Chopper
Tiny little secret chain tensioner on "The Mescalero," Indian Chief Chopper by Roland SandsJoe Hitzelberger
Indian Chief Chopper
Stainless girder with custom CNC machined arms and Ohlins shockJoe Hitzelberger
Indian Chief Chopper
Front wheel and brake setup on "The Mescalero," Indian Chief Chopper by Roland SandsJoe Hitzelberger
Indian Chief Chopper
Upswept exhaust and a three-foot sissy bar on "The Mescalero," Indian Chief Chopper by Roland SandsJoe Hitzelberger
Indian Chief Chopper
A little storage and a plunger shock on "The Mescalero," Indian Chief Chopper by Roland SandsJoe Hitzelberger
Indian Chief Chopper
RSD's clear cover and the foot clutch/ hand shift combo on "The Mescalero," Indian Chief Chopper by Roland SandsJoe Hitzelberger
Indian Chief Chopper
Everything except the wiring harness and engine were made in-house by the RSD teamJoe Hitzelberger
Indian Chief Chopper
Everything except the wiring harness and engine were made in-house by the RSD teamJoe Hitzelberger
Indian Chief Chopper
A blend of old and new with nothing looking out of place.Joe Hitzelberger
Indian Chief Chopper
Roland Sands testing out "The Mescalero," in proper RSD fashion.Joe Hitzelberger