It takes a very, very brave builder to tackle an MV Agusta. The slogan of the Varese company is ‘Motorcycle Art,’ and for once, the advertising is true.
But Winston Yeh didn’t baulk when he got a call from MV Agusta’s people in Taiwan. A gleaming new Brutale 800 RR was soon delivered to his workshop in Taipei, ready for a unique Rough Crafts makeover.
‘Ballistic Trident’ has the dark, menacing vibe that has made Winston Yeh famous in the custom world. It’s also got a very obvious (and unusual) nod to MV Agusta’s racing history.
“While looking at old pictures of vintage racing GPs, we saw these bikes with full dustbin fairings. I decided this was the biggest visual reference I wanted to put into the design,” says Yeh.
But dustbin fairings have a downside: They’re dangerous. Side winds can topple the bike, and steering lock is heavily compromised. So Yeh designed what he calls a ‘modern dustbin.’ It turns with the forks and has a compact profile—from the side and the front.
Look at the bike side-on, and the front lower edge of the fairing starts a curve that continues with the ‘wings’ on the tank and extends all the way to the tail section, perched on top of a custom subframe.
The edge of the windscreen marries up neatly with the top of the tank and the tail section, forming another visual line.
Yeh designed the fairing on computer, transferring it to a 1:1 scale 3D model and then a full-size woodcarving—which was used as a mold for the carbon fiber.
“The whole fairing can be mounted or dismounted in a couple minutes,” says Yeh. “We also designed a clamp to hold a headlight when the fairing is removed, in case someone needs to ride it on the road.”
The gauge is the standard MV Agusta Brutale item, since Yeh did not want to lose any functionality. But he designed a small housing to relocate it to the tank, and Shark Factory machined it to factory-finish levels.
After the bodywork shaping was finished, the detail pieces “just kind of fell together effortlessly,” says Yeh. He’s even designed a pair of 17-inch six-spoke wheels, inspired by vintage GP bikes and built by Wukawa Industry.
Pirelli Taiwan donated the Diablo Superbike rubber, the official tyre of the World Superbike Championship.
The performance theme continues with the sculptural gold Öhlins FGR 800 forks, attached via custom-made triples. The brakes are a custom set provided by Beringer, with unique front rotors machined to match the wheel design.
The 12-valve, three-cylinder engine screams to 140 hp at 13,100 revs, so there is little to be gained from extra tuning. And although the stock Brutale 800RR exhaust cans look a bit fussy, it’s not the sort of system you can ditch for a universal-fit reverse cone job.
After researching all possible exhaust fitments, Yeh decided to go with HP Corse. “The ‘Hydro-Tre’ is hands down the most beautiful exhaust range designed for MV Agusta,” he says. “I found myself drawn to that design—and it just flows with the curves of the bike.
“Usually I make my own exhaust systems, but this time I contacted HP Corse. I found that they’ve been watching my builds for a while—and they were willing to provide one of their very first production 800 RR exhausts.”
Most custom builds tend to wilt a little under close scrutiny: Getting factory levels of fit and finish is expensive and time-consuming. But Rough Crafts machines are the exception, with immaculate little details wherever you look.
Take the rear sprocket, for example: It’s been custom machined by AEM Factory, and finished in black and gold to match the colors elsewhere on the bike.
Yesterday the MV was unveiled at the Mooneyes Yokohama show—the most prestigious event on the Japanese custom calendar. But Rough Crafts is this year’s ‘invited builder,’ so Ballistic Trident is not entered into the show’s award system.
That’s probably just as well. Even though the standard of custom building in Japan is insanely high, this incredible MV would be a very hard act to beat.
Year / Model: 2015 MV Agusta BRUTALE 800RR
Engine Make / Size: MV Agusta/798cc
Front End Make / Type: Rough Crafts one off trees with Öhlins FGR800 forks
Rear Shock: Öhlins TTX
Exhaust: HP Corse “Hydro-Tre”
Wheels F: Rough Crafts x Wukawa Industry “RCVGP-6″ style / 17 x 3.50”
Wheels R: Rough Crafts x Wukawa Industry “RCVGP-6″ style / 17 x 6.00”
Tires F: Pirelli Diablo Superbike 120/70 R 17
Tires R: Pirelli Diablo Superbike 180/60 R 17
Brakes F: Rough Crafts/Beringer one-off discs with Beringer 4-piston radial calipers
Brakes R: stock disc with Beringer 2-piston caliper
Sprocket Kit: AEM Factory
Painter: Air Runner Custom Paint
Gauge: Rough Crafts/Shark Factory
Foot controls: MV Agusta Corse
Handlebars: Bonamici Racing Clip ons
Handlebar controls: MV Agusta/Rough Crafts
Seat: Rough Crafts/HeChun custom seats
Tail Section: Rough Crafts
Gas cap: Rough Crafts
Turn Signals: Motogadget bar-ends
Rough Crafts designed Dustbin style fairing molded carbon fiber by Lee Speed
All titanium bolts provided by ProTi
2 Abnormal Sides made custom badge on top of tail section