Vintage Never Grows Old

Written by  Story by Buck Manning and photos by Horst Rosler Tuesday, 31 October 2017 06:00
Published in Modified Stockers
Back when Y2K was the feared catchword of the day because flipping the calendar over to 2000 was supposed to wreak havoc on life as we knew it, a couple of Deuces were unleashed on the public. Dos Deuces? Yup, the first one was the much heralded introduction of the Harley-Davidson’s new Softail chassis with a counterbalanced Twin Cam 88 that famously featured the first Motor Company-stretched tank along with the fattest rear tire ever offered by Harley, a humongous 160mm x 17! Yeah, I guess that’s not gonna impress anyone today, but there were other over-the-top style points like the smooth chrome dash panel and another factory first, chromed fork legs. Willie G. got all kinds of accolades for bringing such a radical project to production. The FXSTD left a legacy of people who either still speak of their Deuce with respect and the hope of owning a future classic or a majority that didn’t give a damn. Deuce DNA lives on today in the gas tank of the Rocker, which has ably taken over as the current love/hate Harley factory custom. Oh, right, the other Y2K Deuce was Rob Schneider as Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo whose movie tagline kinda fit what most H-D critics felt about the FXSTD, “He's not very good looking. But when the lights go out...he's still not very good looking.” Well that’s probably not fair to Willie G., but there were a lot of unloved new Deuces sitting on showroom floors before their final demise in 2007.


So what’s all that blather got to do with the cool Roland Sands’ Softail pictured here? Well, after checking it out, it’s hard to believe that this was an unloved Deuce in a former life. “We had a Deuce that we built that had gone through a couple of modifications and had some PM parts on it. Somebody had painted it orange and it didn’t work very good, it was a bad color,” said Roland. “The bike had been sitting for a year-and-a-half and nobody really wanted to ride it because it didn’t look all that great. So I said, ‘I’ll just take that thing and make it look cool.’”  As you can see, he did.

The important thing is that this is strictly a bolt-on, total cosmetic change (other than paint obviously). Between Roland’s RSD Vintage line and Performance Machine’s laundry list of parts, this baby is something you could do in your own garage. “There’s a couple of stand-offs for the gas tank on the frame up front you gotta grind down a little bit that hold the stock rubber piece that originally went under the stock tank, but other than that it’s pretty much a bolt-on project,” said Roland. What the grinding does is allow the slipping on of an RSD frame cover to hide the ugly frame tubes and the Vintage tank slips on over that. “If you don’t want to use our gas tank, we sell that piece separately and then you can use any tank you want,” he said. That Vintage tank setup looks just right to me and transforms the Deuce instantly. For EFI models, Roland said, “ We use all the Harley components and make a base plate that replaces the stock piece that goes on the top of the tank and just bolts into the bottom of our tank with no wiring changes.” If you’re using some other tank, this EFI base plate is available to weld into your tank and solves EFI custom-tank problems.

Another big (and I mean 240mm big) change Roland made was bolting on PM’s Phatail kit that includes a wide swingarm and a 1” offset for the ultra-clean PM Contour primary and a longer mainshaft to accommodate the wider spacing necessary to clear the Metzeler-shod PM Gasser wheel. You’ve got to remove the stock struts to utilize the RSD 240 fender kit, but no big deal as it’s bolt on after. RSD’s Vintage seat setup has a fiberglass battery cover covering up the frame ugliness and the sprung seat assembly is a bolt-to-the-stock-holes setup you can get covered in whatever you want. Up front, another Gasser wheel sits fenderless between Deuce forks while PM’s 6-piston/13’5” floating rotor works with the 4-piston/11.5” rotor out back to keep the good looks looking good.

Roland went deep in the RSD and PM parts line for bars, controls, taillight, and especially the engine’s immersion in RSD’s Nostalgia finned motor covers from top to bottom. Other than RSD’s velocity stack on an S&S carb and a set of Vance & Hines’ Big Shots, mechanically this baby’s stock.

Not making the same mistake twice, Roland had The Diablos spray up with a tasteful silver paintjob and graphics and the Deuce was ready for the show circuit and actually tours with PM now. Got an ugly Softail? RSD’s got the bolt-on facelift for you. No surgeon required. 

Up Close: Nostalgia Velocity Stack

When I was a 12-year-old kid perusing the pages of Road & Track magazine nothing looked more exotic or serious than a picture of an early Ferrari V-12 with a row of six two-barrel Webers with aluminum velocity stacks nestled between the heads. The sound of air being kidnapped into twelve cylinders of combustion had to be spine tingling. So much so, that I went out to our ’56 Ford Country Squire’s 292 Y-block and ripped the oil-bath monstrosity of an air cleaner off and listened to the unfettered sound of the four-barrel reluctantly gulping air. Unfortunately, that didn’t last more than my father’s first start-up when he knew something was amiss underhood and somehow knew I was behind it and demanded I return it to stock.

Like the masked man Clayton Moore, once did, you can return to those thrilling days of (my) yesteryear with RSD’s Nostalgia Velocity Stack. This absolutely gorgeous piece of CNC’d billet aluminum fits EFI, CV carb, and S&S equipped Harleys and has RSD’s Drilled Breathers, a removable screen, and all the hardware needed to slap it on. You’ve also got a choice of chrome or high-gloss black anodized finishes. Fits 1993-2006 Big Twin engines with stock CV carb, 2001-2007 EFI Softails, 2004-2007 Dynas, and 2002-2007 FLT models. Cool just doesn’t come any nicer.

Obviously, I can’t recommend this for cross country work as filter elements do serve a purpose, but for a seriously fun knock-around rider, this is a piece that takes the simple velocity stack and adds a huge amount of style to it. For you high-mileage riders, RSD ‘s filtered Venturi air cleaner is a viable alternative.

Visit for more info. 

Builder: Roland Sands

Although he never would, Roland Sands should dress up in a red and white striped jersey with a matching stocking cap as he’s become motorcycling’s version of Where’s Waldo?  Nah, that’s not to demean him in any way, it’s just that he’s got a hand in every possible type of motorcycle design (or should I say redesign) from American V-twins to spec road racers to metric superbikes and a lot more I’m not even beginning to cover. His ability to crossover from one genre to another and be successful at it, shows an eye for design and good taste in general. Roland Sands Design’s Vintage conversion kits for H-D Softails is an ever growing line of parts that allows an owner to do all or most of the work themselves converting their bike into a cool bike with bolt-on parts that doesn’t leave it looking like a typical stocker with the H-D P&A chrome catalog thrown at it.

“I’m doing a lot of different stuff.  I’m doing stuff for sportbikes. Just kinda keeping it fresh, transfer the product ideas back and forth,” said Roland. “A lot of times you wouldn’t think it makes sense, but a lot of the time it really does make sense. Our aesthetic works on both sides so that’s something very unique to us. I never wanted to be considered just one thing.”

For all you V-twin lovers who don’t own Softails, Roland said, “Most of my products fit a wide range of motorcycles. The Vintage kit stuff is definitely aimed at the Softails, but everything else like my air cleaners, bars, and wheels fits Dynas, Sportsters, baggers, anything. We’re going to be coming out with more and more seats with Mustang. You’ll se some different cool stuff.”

Be sure to see if you can find Where’s Roland? and all his cool parts at

Owner: Roland Sands Design Inc.
Year/Make: 2000 Harley Deuce

Roland Sands Design (RSD)

Assembly: RSD
Build time: 1-month
Engine: 2000 H-D TC88 B
Cases/Rods/Pistons H-D Stock
Cylinders/Heads/Cam: H-D Stock
Ignition: H-D Stock
Carb: S&S
Pipes: Vance & Hines Big Shots
Air Cleaner: RSD Velocity Stack
Transmission: 2000 H-D Stock
Primary: Pm Contour
Clutch: H-D Stock

2000 FXSTD Stock

Forks: H-D
Rear suspension:

PM Phatail Kit 240mm


Progressive Suspension Airtail

Front wheel:

21" PM Gasser

Rear wheel:

18" PM Gasser

Front Tire:

120x21 Metzeler

Rear Tire:

240x18 Metzeler

Front Brake: PM 6-piston/13” rotor
Rear Brake: PM 4-piston/11.5” rotor
Oil Tank:

H-D Stock

Fuel Tank: RSD Vintage
Fenders: Performance Machine Phatail
Handlebars: RSD Short Stack Vintage
Risers: RSD
Headlight: H-D Stock
Taillight: Performance Machine
Hand/Foot Controls: PM Contour
Pegs: PM Contour
Grips: Performance Machine
Painter/Graphics: The Diablos
Color: Silver
Seat: RSD Vintage Seat Kit

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