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Roland Sands Design - XR1200

Roland Sands Design (RSD).

This week they finished up a XR-1200 build.  They customized reinvented a stock Harley-Davidson XR-1200 over the course of a 30 day build and clearly created a high-performance work of art.

Congrats!

After 10 years on the professional level and multiple track records, including the 1998 AMA 250GP Championship, Roland Sands focused his efforts on the Performance Machines product line as VP of Research and Development.  In 2005 he founded Roland Sands Design and has been illustrating to the motorcycle industry what his performance minded customs and aftermarket parts can do for V-Twins, Metrics and Sportbikes.

Stock Harley-Davidson XR-1200

RSD’s mission is to create the best motorcycle products in the industry without regards to the bikes beginning.  Whether it’s a chopper, sport bike, or sport chopper they build the best for it.  They walk the line between custom and performance bikes trying to deliver the best of both worlds.

A detailed review of the 30 day build out is available on their blog HERE.

Photo courtesy H-D and RSD.

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Does the economy need yet another motorcycle company?  Or more important will people buy yet another premier motorcycling brand?  First it was Indian and now after 15 years of U.S. ownership, Norton’s back in England. Just in time it would seem because the country is experiencing manufacturing sector shrinkage at the fastest rate since records began.  It’s the fifth consecutive month of contraction, levels of output, new orders and employment registrations are at unprecedented declines.

So, along comes businessman Stuart Garner who bought the rights to the Norton name from an American company in a multi-million-dollar deal that included the Norton, Manx, Atlas, Commando and Dominator brands, and all intellectual property. Unfamiliar with Norton then read SCM’s Paul Duchene’s article on the 1999-2003 Norton Commando VR880 and the 1990-91 Norton F1 Rotary.  Spectacular motorcycles and if successful it hits right at the heart of Harley-Davidson Euro growth plans with their new XR-1200.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not immediately discounting the Norton brand out of hand.  Some of their bikes have been real head-turner’s and as a Harley guy any competition whether it’s Indian or Norton or ? makes them better.  But I’m suspicious of those “lifestyle” marketers and demographic strategists grabbing a hold of this and it becoming another Excelsior-Henderson failure?

I hope they are successful.  I’m a bit doubtful given the financial timing, but at a minimum I’m looking forward to another large t-shirt motorcycle showroom full of iconic logo’s and fashionable clothing based on premium denim and vintage leather.  It’s now all about setting the standard for upscale living…T-shirts for $38, sunglasses for $150, sport shoes for $125, after-shave $50, soft terry cloth wash towels $100, and exclusive outdoor furniture sets to match the crystal glasses…for the “puff-n-bluff-n” look at me crowd.

Sales people asking me if I can smell the lineage…it’s Déjà vu all over again.

Norton Logo  and Ad courtesy of web site.

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