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Raked out and ready to rip on RSD Traction Flat Track Race wheels, the Indian Mescalero is one of RSD's most unique and departed builds to date. With the original inspiration being derived from a chopper Roland's father built in the 70's, this modern representation utilizes Indian's air-cooled 111" v-twin and lives in a perpetual juxtaposition between two worlds, that of choppers, and race bikes. No doubt, given Roland was born a chopper builders son, turned racer.
It had a chrome girder fork and mustang tank that had been welded onto the frame which was then molded as you would back then. Plunger rear suspension, chromed and polished motor, it was a full-on show bike.
I’ve always dug that bike, and this was my first opportunity to build something inspired by it. Obviously the finish is completely different as well as the character. This bike is a road bomber meant to go straight with your lady on the back. The Peyote Puffer was a bit more aggressive." - Roland
Starting with the single most critical element of a Chopper, the frame, the Mescalero houses the giant Indian power plant in a full custom Chromoly plunger frame built in-house at RSD. Popular with early chopper builders and frame designers such-as, Amen Savior, the plunger frame suspends the axle between upper and lower springs in an exposed cartridge assembly where the axle plates would normally be. As the bike rolls down the road, the axle floats up an down inside the coil tube minimising visual suspension float, giving it more of the appearance of a rigid frame, without the harsh ride.
Moving to the front, a one-off girder was built from Stainless and then high polished. While not the best material for a springer (Chromoly would be better) the stainless as per Roland, "looks so chopper, it's beautiful!" Traditionally, stiff and heavy to maneuver, "girders" do not typically handle well. Especially when combined with a rigid or plunger style frame.
On the Mescalero Chief though, trying to use modern technology while still paying homage to the past, the girder pivots on a set of CNC machined arm's in conjunction with a custom Ohlins shock absorber to take up (and give) the road vibes. Much like the rear end, the girder front has a very distinct movement when rolling down the highway, especially combined with a plunger frame. And while not nearly a road race fork, you can ride the bike hard. Trust us.
Keeping things with the retro chopper theme, the Mescalero has a set of sort-of rabbit ear tri-bends with micro size high powered LED lights mounted on the lower portion giving the illusion that the bike has no head-light. A custom internal throttle makes sure the rider has smooth action on the gas with minimal visual impact and a RSD front brake perch assembly keeps things classy.
While trying to maintain as much traditional chopper style (and insanity) as possible RSD Chief Fabricator, Aaron Boss custom machined a left side foot clutch assembly with, of course, a jocky shift.
Being the third Chief custom build in RSD's stable, the Mescalero's giant Indian heart lends itself to virtually any style of bike, once you get past the sheer size of it. Board tracker, flat tracker and now, Chopper, the 111' is quickly becoming one of the RSD teams favorite power plants to use. It's the perfect blend of function and style and creates visual history when used in the right custom applications.
In addition to the stainless steel exhaust, the Mescalero's 111 rocks RSD's billet clarity covers and carries the theme blending traditional chopper style with modern CNC machined performance minded components.
The sheet metal and sissy bar were also designed and fabricated in-house. And Having to scream 70's highway-man, the Mescalero Chief received mile-high treatment with a 3' tall sissy bar made from high polished stainless steel mated to a King and Queen seat. And because no Indian is complete without it, mounted on the rear fender, a traditional Indian-head running light with a red LED keeps things legal. (ish)
One of the most unique elements of the Mescalero though is it's wheel and tire combination. It get’s traction care of a Heavy Hammer flat track rear wheel and hub set up straight from Indian's FTR Championship race program, as well a factory TT front hub set on a custom 21” traction wheel. It may be a chopper but it’s got race parts on it. And it's fast.
  • Rear wheel - 19x3.0” RSD Hammer heavy race wheel with Dunlop DT3 (extra hard R10 compound) race tire.
  • Front wheel - custom made 21x2.15” 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).
  • Repurposed the stock Indian Chieftain headdress front fender light as the tail & brake light.
  • PM Vintage 4 Piston Brake Calipers
  • Custom seat by Rich at Bitchin Seat Company
  • Barnett custom cables and clutch pressure plate
  • Burly Brand saddlebag & tool roll
  • Paint by Airtrix
  • Patina by Brass Junkie
  • K&N head breathers & oil filter
  • Motul Oil
Roland’s dad, Perry Sands, built some cool bikes when he was a kid. One of those machines was an Indian Chief Chopper called the Peyote Puffer. It was a hot pink and red metal flake flamed fully molded chopper, with a chrome girder fork and polished motor. Perry ended up crashing that bike and rebuilding it and strange enough, came across the frame a few years back. The bike you see coming together here is not going to be a duplicate of that bike- it’s not going to be hot pink and metal flake, but its creation is certainly inspired by Perry’s Peyote Puffer.
We’ve ripped the heart out of a new Indian Chieftain, mounted it in the frame table and have set about building a new frame around beefy modern V-Twin. This is our third Chieftain, but as is usually the case, we’ve approached this one completely different than the last two by replicating a plunger suspension.
Our Product Designer Guy Driscoll, gives you an inside look into the ideation of the rear suspension set up.
As we can’t just duplicate the original, we’ve done our best to build a plunger that’s going to work much better than the stock unit. Moving forward, the machine will sit on front and rear Traction Flat Track Race Wheels and a hand built stainless girder fork. This bike’s destiny is the highway, and the seating position will be dialed for two up road bombing, as it will make its way to Burning Man late August.

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