Call me old-fashioned, but I reckon dirt bikes have lost the plot in the styling stakes: give me an Elsinore over a CRF any day. And we could devote acres of pixels to the beautiful machines coming out of Spain in the 60s and 70s.
So wouldn’t it be great if you could match the performance and reliability of a modern-day motocross weapon with the elegant, desert sled styling of yore? That’s the thinking behind this latest build from Roland Sands—a KTM 450 SX-F with the aesthetics of a long-gone bomb runner.
“There’s just something great about the simplistic lines of vintage bikes,” says Roland. “And the cool thing about customizing modern day motocrossers is that underneath the plastics, the bones really haven’t strayed too far from the bikes of the past.”
So Roland stripped the KTM back to the mechanical components, and sketched out a new, easy-on-the-eye design. Then fabricator Aaron Boss, mechanic Scott Dimick and project manager Cameron Brewer set to work.
First up is a hand-fabricated aluminum gas tank—with matching side panels and number plates—and a chromoly subframe. If the fenders look familiar, that’s because they’re based on a 1974 Husqvarna design.
The controls were chosen with one man in mind: off-road racer Kurt Caselli, who died during the 2013 Baja 1000. Why? Because the KTM will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Kurt Caselli Foundation—an organization promoting safety for off-road racers.
The bike features Caselli’s preferred bars, grips, levers, pegs and wheels, using knowledge from his factory mechanic Anthony Di Basilio. “We think this bike would be set up just how Kurt would have liked it,” says Roland.
Best of all, the core of the machine is unmodified, from the engine to the frame. “You could pretend you’re riding down cow trails alongside Steve McQueen one day—then return it back to a stock KTM 450 SX-F, and go race Anaheim 1 with it the next.”
The Caselli bike is one of the stars of the upcoming blockbuster On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter. But there’s a shorter, more touching film about its significance, which you can see below.
If you’d like to put this fine machine in your own garage, head over to the Compass Auctions site right now.
Bike and performance parts donated by KTM USA.
Other contributors include Airtrix (paint), FMF (custom titanium exhaust), Dunlop (tires), Taw Performance (Brembo race calipers), Bitchin Seat Company, Dubya (Talon hubs, spokes and nipples), RK Excel American (Excel A60 rims), Race Tech (suspension mods), Renthal USA (handlebars, grips and sprockets), D.I.D. (chain), K&N (air filter and breather), Enduro Engineering (skidplate), Spiegler USA (brake lines), IMS Products (footpegs), Lightspeed (carbon fiber fork guards and brake line guide), BRP (rear chain guide) and Matrix Concepts (Kurt Caselli Foundation bike stand).
Images by Joseph Hitzelberger.