With a father, Perry Sands, who was a well respected custom builder in the late 60’s and who later founded Performance Machine to produce high-performance disc brake systems, Roland Sands grew up around choppers of all kinds, drag, flat-track and road racing machines. Deciding at the age of 15 that a Honda CR 125 would be his first machine, his love for speed while riding it lead him to a 10-year racing career where he got multiple track records in the U.S. and Europe to culminate with the 1998 AMA 250GP Championship.
32 broken bones later, Roland joined Performance Machine as VP Research & Design, first focusing on wheel design, then on custom motorcycles to showcase PM and his own proprietary line of parts and accessories, all work earning him several professional awards, and later acknowledgment by the public at large after he was featured in a Discovery Channel episode of Biker Build Off (Roland Sands versus Jesse Rooke)
In 2005, he created Roland Sands Design (RSD), relying like his father on state-of-the-art equipment to create new parts, enhance their appearance (he is behind the idea of the “Contrast Cut Finishes), taking on new adventures like being the first one to build a custom motorcycle out of a factory MotoGP motor, and keeping his 2-wheel creations in the category of those pushing design while maintaining high performance. Like many of the young generation to which he belongs (he is only 36 years old) he is perfectly aware of the rapid advances made by technology and electronics, and is convinced that it will soon lead the motorcycle industry towards many more innovative and higher performance products offered for much less money.
While recovering from surgery after breaking a bone for the 33rd time, Roland answered my questions…
Cyril. In High School, what your teachers said about you? Roland. I was a day dreamer. I used to spend all my time in class drawing and writing when I wasn’t trying to make people laugh. I had one really cool teacher named Mr. Stover. He was a creative writing teacher who introduced all of us to Nirvana before anyone knew who they were. He would of said I was going to do something creative if I didn’t end up in jail.
Cyril. Who were your childhood heroes? Roland. Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Kenny Roberts, Bob Hanna, Bubba Shobert, Marion Owens, Elmer Trett.
Cyril. What was your 1st vehicle? Roland. Suzuki RM 50 motocross bike.
Cyril. What is your favorite way to relax? Roland. It’s hard to beat a couple of cold beers, the woman you love and a beautiful beach. If that’s not available I’ll just take the beer.
Cyril. What is the last music you downloaded in your iPod? Roland. I don’t have an iPod, I bought a Duran Duran record the other day.
Cyril. What are you afraid of? Roland. Running out of ideas or of people to sell them to.
Cyril. What is the person you would love to meet? Roland. I suppose it would be a person with big creative aspirations and a bank account to support it. A person who was open to free form creation of Ideas space and culture. Someone with the ability to help express a true form of creative freedom as a lifestyle. It’s what we are doing now but without the need to satisfy a bottom line number at the end of the year.
Cyril. Which film made you cry? Roland. I forget, but movies always make me tear up.
Cyril. Name five things you hate. Roland. Keyboard gangsters, broken bones (I’m currently in pre-op for a broken tib/fib surgery), budget cuts, the economy, the couch.
Cyril. What do you miss most at home when you are on the road? Roland. My woman. If she is with me I miss the weather. If the weathers is good I miss my dog.
Cyril. What was the last book you read? Roland. “Me talk pretty one day”. David Sedaris. Fucking hilarious.
Cyril. Preferred actor, actress? Roland. I like Mickey Rourke. I always root for the underdog.
Cyril. Where is your favorite vacation place? Roland. Somewhere I haven’t been.
Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Roland. Souffle. Chocolate and raspberry at Fora down the street from my house.
Cyril. Do you collect anything? Roland. Motorcycles and broken bones. I think they go hand in hand.
Cyril. What was your worst buy? Roland. My 2009 Ford 250 4×4. Horrible gas mileage. I feel like I have “fuck the Enviroment” painted on my tailgate. Any takers? I got to get rid of it.
Cyril. How do you take your coffee? Roland. Latte.
Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made? Roland. A boob sculpture with Travis PASTRANA. It was not good.
Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Roland. Ribs. I can make a he’ll of a Cadillac margarita too.
Cyril. When was the last time you were really angry? Roland. When I crashed my dirt bike in Mexico last week. I knew immediately I broke my leg and I was not stoked.
Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home? Roland. Little partying and music Friday night. Maybe a surf Saturday morning/afternoon. “Nap” with the old lady. Play some music and see what happens. Sunday schooners. Horseshoes on the beach. In bed by 10 and ready to get back at it on Monday.
Cyril. What is your preferred rally? Roland. Daytona is fun because I get to see all my friends from the motocross and road racing worlds as well as from the building scene. Sturgis is so good for riding though. It’s hard to beat.
Cyril. What is the worst question a journalist asked you? Roland. How do you take your coffee?