For this year's Sturgis rally, Ducati teamed up with West Coast custom builder Roland Sands to put a Californian twist on the Italian-American XDiavel cruiser. The result is this sexy, swoopy and beautifully finished design that gives the XDiavel a classic twist without straying too far from the original.
But it's an American-style cruiser, which means no self respecting cruiser fan is going to be caught dead on it without putting a few personal touches on it. For some, that's going to mean a lavish shower of farkles out of the accessory catalog, and for others that's going to mean a bigger style overhaul.
Roland Sands would tend to fall toward the latter end of the scale. Finding reality TV fame through Discovery Channel's Biker Build-Off in 2005, Sands has quickly become one of the most prolific custom builders and style merchants in the American motorcycle landscape. We've covered a number of his bikes in the past. He makes sweet bikes and rides them hard – occasionally too hard.
For this year's Sturgis rally, the must-go mecca of the cruiser fraternity, Sands has teamed up with Ducati to put his own spin on the XDiavel.
And as a custom bike overhaul, what's most interesting to me is how little Sands has done to the XDiavel to make it his own, certainly compared to some of his more adventurous efforts.
The big ticket items, such as they are, would include a new single-seat, one-piece bodywork kit that gives the top half of the bike a longer, more aerodynamic, classic and swoopier look, a pair of short custom pipes, and a 19-inch front wheel that's frankly just not that different to look at from the 17-in stocker.
Beyond that, it's mainly just small billet details like frame bolt covers, clutch covers, bar ends, sprocket carriers, fork caps and the like. Each with Roland Sands written on them. I'd love to see a final count of how many times he's felt the need to write his own name on this bike. If you're a fan of the look, it's not hard to see these little aluminium detail pieces showing up in a parts catalog somewhere down the track.
Either way, the final bike looks awesome, providing a subtle Californian twist on an original design that looked pretty damn cool to start with, and presumably something that'll get XDiavel buyers thinking about what they can do with their own machines. But if I was one of the original XDiavel design team, I'd feel pretty stoked about how much of my original work Sands chose to leave untouched.