Greatest Hits: Rough Crafts’ Best Harley-Davidson Customs

Rough Crafts Asphalt Glider Harley
Bringing a truly unique
style to the scene is not an easy task, and it’s even more impressive if you can make it stick. Winston Yeh started Rough Crafts in Taiwan more than ten years ago, and every bike he builds is a fresh take on his signature style. With a list of regular collaborators assisting with fabrication, assembly and paint, Rough Crafts is a crowd sourcing of talent, so to speak—but Winston’s eye for design is apparent in every bike.

Blacked out paint schemes with a delightful application of carbon fiber are hallmarks of a Rough Crafts machine, in addition to trick suspension, devilish details and imaginative monikers. Winston’s style has been exercised on Ducatis, Yamahas and more, but there’s something special about a Rough Crafts Harley.

Rough Crafts Asphalt Glider Harley
Asphalt Glider
Rough Crafts’ ‘Stealth Bullet’ Sporty set the internet ablaze years back when it won its class at the AMD World Championship, so it comes as no surprise that one of Winston’s customers would request something similar. But for ‘Asphalt Glider,’ the customer wanted something more extreme, more exaggerated, and that’s exactly what they got.

To suit the build’s more extreme proportions, Winston started with a Softail Breakout model and dropped it on the ground with a rear air shock from Legend Suspension and a girder fork. The latter was built by Italian FG Racing, a company that specializes in performance girders, and the whole thing is made from billet aluminum.

Rough Crafts Asphalt Glider Harley
The Glider rolls on a somewhat unlikely wheel combination, creating much of its visual effect. Out back, is a solid steel wheel from HD Designs wrapped in meaty 230-section rubber, while the front is a slender 23” Arlen Ness. While the two couldn’t be any more different, the whole thing works, and Winston chalks it up as the right “weird balance of visual weight.”

With one last request, the customer specified that the bike needed to be done ‘shrimp style,’ meaning long-reach drag bars and forward foot controls. That puts the rider low over the quintessential Rough Crafts fuel tank, sort of folded over the bike like a cocktail shrimp. If ya didn’t know, now ya do. [More]

Rough Crafts Tarmac Raven Harley
Tarmac Raven
Ever since Winston first test rode the new Milwaukee Eight Softail, he couldn’t get the idea of a hot performance Softail out of his head. With an amenable customer on the line, the idea came to life as ‘Tarmac Raven’—a Street Bob that’s so bold, you wouldn’t believe it’s on a stock frame.

With its core geometry unaltered, transforming the Softail required significant suspension work, starting with beefy 48 mm Öhlins FGRT301 forks—originally designed for the Ducati Diavel. Next, Winston contacted Florida-based Roaring Toyz, who designed an all-new, single-sided billet swingarm. “They actually bought an M8 Softail to develop a whole new billet single-sided system,” says Winston, impressed.

Rough Crafts Tarmac Raven Harley
To match the aggressive stance, Winston opted for a set of trick carbon fiber wheels from BlackStone Tek. To complete the package, Winston installed Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 rubber, Beringer four-piston brakes up front and a modified Ducati Panigale brake kit in the rear.

With the Softail on sure footing, Winston phoned phoned S&S Cycle, who provided their latest 124 ci Power Package for the Milwaukee Eight, to the tune of 124 hp and 135 lb-ft of torque. Winston finished the engine off with an array of Arlen Ness, 2AbnormalSides and Rough Crafts’ parts, and a custom titanium exhaust with a SC-Project Titanium S1 muffler dominates the side profile.

No Rough Crafts’ project would be complete without the requisite black shades and carbon fiber, and a heavily modified Sportster tank and carbon-wrapped tail section complete the cockpit. [More]

Rough Crafts Thunder Chaser Harley
Thunder Chaser
How do you celebrate a decade of building custom bikes? For Rough Crafts, it was about getting back to basics, all while putting a new spin on things. With roots firmly planted in retro-modern bobbers, Winston had a few ideas, and his customer’s prompt gave him the opportunity to shake up the script a bit.

Winston was a big fan of the new Softail after building Tarmac Raven, and his unofficial 10th anniversary bobber, dubbed ‘Thunder Chaser,’ would be a completely different take on the platform. “The final answer was to go back to our roots: bobbers with retro lines and modern finishes, but with different silhouette that we haven’t done before.”

Rough Crafts Thunder Chaser Harley
Starting with stance, Winston ditched the factory 19F/16R wheels in favor of 18” Arlen Ness wheels and retro rubber from Coker. Progressive Suspension supplied an uprated rear shock and a lowering kit up front, and Winston added black inner tubes from TopLineTubes and Arlen Ness ‘Hot Leg’ lowers.

Cosmetically, Thunder Chaser follows Rough Crafts’ signature style, with ample use of carbon fiber and black paint with silver pin-striping. The aluminum tank was fabricated by MS Pro, and is slightly more rounded than Winston’s usual scalloped design. A significant diversion, the tilted rear fender was shaped from fiberglass over a 3D mold and finished off with a carbon fiber overlay.

The upswept exhaust was also a Rough Crafts first, and the whole system was custom fabricated and finished with black ceramic coating. [More]

Rough Crafts Raging Dagger Harley
Raging Dagger
You can do just about anything with a Harley Sportster, and Rough Crafts has more than a few genre-bending examples to its credit. But when it came to ‘Raging Dagger,’ Winston had some interesting design constraints to work with.

“So I went over and found out that the customer had already ordered a brand new Forty-Eight, and was waiting for me,” says Winston. “All he told me was: ‘I like the look and feel of American V-twin engines, but I want something over the top. Something that you won’t recognize as a Harley, but is still easy to ride’.”

Rough Crafts Raging Dagger Harley
Inspired by Buell, Winston elected to transform the Sporty into a street fighter, prioritizing lightness, and keeping the engine and frame as stock as possible. Suspension, brakes and weight savings would be the focus to maximize the Forty-Eight, all without sacrificing rideability.

Like Tarmac Raven, Winston used trick suspension to supercharge the Dagger’s geometry, starting with the Öhlins AG629 shock. He also added a lightweight Trac Dynamic swingarm with a custom oil reservoir, and installed modified Öhlins FGRT206 forks (originally made for the Yamaha R1). Keeping things light, the bodywork is a combination of carbon fiber and aluminum, and MS Pro fabricated a custom titanium exhaust for the Dagger.

With the addition of carbon fiber BST wheels, Rough Crafts managed to shave 90 pounds off the Sporty. [More]

Rough Crafts Obsidian Fighter Harley
Obsidian Fighter
The idea of a ‘modern performance Frisco bobber’ sounds like a tough sell, but one look at Rough Crafts’ Obsidian Fighter has us saying ‘of course.’ Proof that it’s all in the execution, this Sportster Roadster combines traditional Frisco cues with Rough Crafts’ signature look, and loads of custom parts.

Born from necessity, Winston’s customer for this build was a fan of traditional chopper era styling, but already had a 2019 Sporty XL1200CX in hand. “The main question,” says Winston, “was: ‘How do we combine a Roadster with chopper style, wrap it in a Rough Crafts package, and still surprise the owner?’ The answer is a ‘Frisco’ Sportster bobber with race influence.”

Rough Crafts Obsidian Fighter Harley
Changing up the Roadster’s stance started with a new set of wheels from Gale Speed, 19F/17R, with a pair of custom carbon fiber covers added to the rear. Next, Öhlins provided a set of slightly shorter-than-stock FGRT 206 forks with blacked out lowers and a single disc conversion. Blackline HD 757 rear shocks keep the rear slammed, accentuated by the carbon fiber, almost tracker-style, tail section.

To nail the Frisco vibe, the Sporty tank sits high and pulled back from the bars, and it’s finished in Rough Crafts’ style with carbon inlays and custom badges from 2AbnormalSides. Another of Winston’s trusted partners, MS Pro handled the fabrication on the project, including building a custom slash-cut exhaust with a slight industrial twist.

With no shortage of custom details, Obsidian Fighter is finished with Arlen Ness foot controls, Rebuffini switches and an array of Rough Crafts’ parts, including the headlight, risers, fuel cap and engine covers. [More]

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Rough Crafts Obsidian Fighter Harley