Projects tend to take on a life of their own. You start at one place, seemingly knowing where it's headed, only for the entire thing to veer chaotically off to the left, into a field, down a muddy slope, and off a ravine. It's why they're so much fun...and can cause many a sleepless night. 

And that's absolutely the case for Aaron Boss' Harley-Davidson Road Glidester

For those unfamiliar with Boss, he's one of the trick fabricators over at Roland Sands Designs, which I'd hazard you have heard of before, as RSD is widely regarded as one of the best outfits in the custom motorcycling scene. But as for the project itself, and fitting with RSD's penchant for insanity, it's an amalgamation of all of Boss' loves, including rat rods, land speed belly tankers from the 1950s, top tier racers and, of course, custom motorcycles. 

It also looks absolutely fucking bonkers. 


"It's always been like this idea in the back of my head," Boss told me over the phone, adding, "I've loved belly tankers. I love Bonneville land speed records stuff. You know, we've done motorcycles in the past that have done land speed records, and I just kind of wanted to tie it all together and I ended up. Getting nominated or for the Born Free show as an invited builder. And I'm like, dude, I just have to come out swinging and I want to pull everything I'm good at into one package. So chassis, suspension, putting a motorcycle engine in this thing and doing Bonneville, you know, I know what jump started it was a chopper show, but to be the first person that shows up with four wheels at a chopper show, that's a statement."

And a statement piece, it is. Built for the Born Free show this June, Aaron Boss' Road Glidester takes inspiration from all those disciplines, with parts from each, as well as aerospace and even Formula 1. 

The belly tanker-esque design is lifted directly from those early hot rods that ruled the sand and salt after World War II when cheap, old aircraft parts were readily available. But underneath the nostalgia is world-class modern tech and design. 


Centered around a now Pro-Charger supercharged Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Eight 117-cubic inch motor, Boss literally picked up a brand new Road Glide from Harley and drove it to his shop before completely disassembling the bike. 

"Well, originally I was thinking about possibly doing a BMW R 18 motor. I've worked with those guys, BMW, in the past and I had, I was asked once like, 'What would you do with this motor?' And I was like, man, this thing would look super sick and a belly tanker with the cylinder heads poking out either side of the tank, because it's air-cooled to and the exhaust system running down it," Boss tells me, adding, "But then after I got kind of into this Born Free [show], I was like, it's gotta be a Harley."

So I ended up just hitting them up...and I just kind of talked to them about it and they got excited and they got me a brand new 2023 Road Glide ST," he says, adding, "Picked it up five miles, drove it straight here and tore it apart. Pulled the motor out and put it right onto the frame table. And that was the whole beginning to this was just like everything has to be designed around the Harley platform."

And so it has.


Boss built everything by hand, including the Road Glidester's frame which looks like a combination of a top fuel drag racer, trophy truck, Formula car, and modern bunker buster bomb. "I try to use as much stock parts as possible," Boss says, saying, "So it has like the stock gauge cluster and controls. Those things are typically really big on a motorcycle, but when they're in this chassis, they're super sick little hand controls and nice buttons and stuff. It fits perfect for this. I use the stock mirrors because I'm also gonna make this street legal."

Yes, Boss wants to drive this on public streets.

"I'm in California and it's pretty difficult for street legal anything in California. But I don't care, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna drive it around. I mean- If it's nice enough, most of the cops end up just pulling you over to look at it," he tells me.

Apart from the V-twin that's now pumping out around 200 horsepower, the Road Glidester has a Winters Performance quick change rear end with a titanium outboard brake setup, custom suspension setup that's adjustable to be streetable, trackable, and hit the flats-able, power steering, and a Baker six-speed transmission. That Baker even has a reverse gear meant for trikes. 

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It also has a roof scoop straight off of eBay from a Dallara prototype, though it's going to Saddleman for a complete carbon repop, as it's currently carbon kevlar.

The whole thing, however, weighs just around 1,200 pounds. "It ended up way lighter than I thought," Boss says, adding, "I haven't weighed it completely yet. But I had Roland [Sands] and his buddy, they picked up the front of the car. So it's pretty light. You can just pick it up. So I'm thinking if two guys pick up a sports car, you know? Yeah, maybe that's like 600 pounds. It's maybe like two sports cars, so 1,200 pounds. I don't know. It's pretty light. I have carbon fiber and magnesium gearbox and like tie rotors on it and some tie hardware.  I wanted cool race car parts."

And so I asked the final question, "When's it going to be done?"

"June 20th," says Boss, somewhat laughing, as the Born Free show starts June 22nd. "I'm hoping if my suspension comes back from Chrome today, I might have this thing driving Monday, Tuesday," he adds. That was a week or so ago. 

As for what's after Born Free, well, "[I'll] probably shake it down all around town and then El Mirage for some high speed stuff. Uh, El Mirage and Bonneville, I have to work up my licensing. So they want you to do like a run at a hundred miles an hour, 120, something like that, and you can do that in another car, you don't have to do it in this one. But I'll probably want to do a couple runs with this thing and just figure it out, see what it needs."

"You know, it's, the whole car is so experimental. I have no clue how fast I'm gonna go," he adds.

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