When I approached Phil, who happens to be my boss, to discuss featuring this article on our page, he looked at it for at least a couple of minutes without saying a word while I just stood there. And then, I saw his face changing. Squinting confusion to pale blank to the awestruck excitement. Then he looks at me and I’m already giving him the ‘Yeah I know. I did that too’ face. Tinngg!... there, I just got myself a brownie point.
The rule of three, or “omne trium perfectum” as it was first written in Latin, debates that everything that comes in threes’ is perfect. This maybe the reason why the MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR is that good. An exotic Italian motorcycle that reached a new pinnacle of technical development and performance with that biblical three cylinder power mill. And where the looks of this bike go, it is so good that it was voted the most beautiful bike of the year at EICMA 2016. This bike oozes sex appeal unlike any other brand or motorcycle could offer.
Just when you thought MV pulled off a great show with this Brutale, and you started walking back with awe-filled in your body, everything goes pitch dark and the spotlights turn to the ‘Ballastic Trident’. Metal sparks fly everywhere. At first, you don’t know what to think of it, you’re brain is confused. It is still not developed enough to handle the dripping sexiness. But give it some time and you’ll thank me later for the hankering lust.
In Taipei, Taiwan there is this design powerhouse that specialises in custom motorcycle, graphic design, product development, street art... and blends them all together to create lust filled masterpieces. It goes by the name ‘Rough Crafts’. The mad guy running the show is Winston Yeh, the one who is responsible for the Ballistic Trident. When the people at MV Agusta Taiwan handed him the keys to a brand new Brutale 800 RR to work his magic, no one predicted such wizardry to go down. One cannot fathom how he created this demonic art, especially when the tagline of every MV Agusta is “Motorcycle Art”.
Carrying the signature dark menacing stance with carbon-fibre finish and bodywork creases, Winston Yeh has created a machine that captures the rich racing history of vintage MV Agusta. And the first cynosure of all eyes is the Lee Speed carbon fibre ‘Dustbin Fairing’; a single piece design element covering the front half of a motorcycle. They are reminiscent of the old school racers which were later banned by Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) from racing in 1958 because it was thought that the frontal point of wind pressure made them highly unstable. Bikeexif reports that Yeh said, “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.” And so has he. That is why I called him ‘mad’. A ‘mad genius’.
The fairing creates a super-narrow front and side profiles along with managing a perfect line from the top of the windscreen, the peak of the tank and to the top of the tail section. Yeh also designed the tank section to be an extension of the fairing revealing a whole lot of lines and curves. This will eventually get all your imagination to focus and all of a sudden you can see the witchcraft you hadn’t until now. Slow clap
To prevent steering lock, the dustbin fairing is integrated with the forks itself and turns with it. This is why it is christened as ‘Modern Dustbin’. It is technically not legal. Nonetheless, this bulbous fairing can also be swiftly removed to install just the headlight unit making the Trident road legal. The carbon fibre fairing doesn’t fully cover the front wheel, and there are vents for the intake and brake discs. On the sides, you get the marque’s insignia coat of arms. The motif of a motorcycle everyone dreams of having in their garage.
Once designing the fairing was done, it was then time for getting the finer aspects of the custom job to complete with detailed finishes and touches of exquisite elements. Laying down that bloody glorious black and gold laced paint job is by Air Runner Custom Paint. The stock instrument panel of the motorcycle was relocated to a Shark Factory custom-built housing on the tank. Even the rear sprocket is an AEM Factory custom machined element finished in sync black and gold. Also new grips from Motogadget, Bonamici Racing Clip ons, HeChun custom seat with diamond stitching, ProTi titanium bolts and custom motifs on top of tail section by 2 Abnormal Sides fit the bill here.
The 12v, three pot engine, however, was left untouched. With 140 bhp at 13,100 rpm and a maximum torque of 86 Nm at 10,100 rpm, you just don’t want to iterate it even more and retain the riding dynamics and sheer exhilaration. That said, Winston sourced the exhaust unit by the Italian HP Corse. Designed exclusively for MV Agusta, the “TRE PISTONI” is a stunning design, sprung from the imagination of the “Master Craftsmen”. Winston said “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”. I found myself drawn to that design—and it just flows with the curves of the bike.
Yeh personally designed a set of vintage GP inspired wheels and forged the bespoke 17” 6-spoke Rough Crafts wheels by Wukawa Industry to enhance the look even more. Brakes on this wheel are made by France-based Beringer, which are also a set of one-off handcrafted iron rotors with brilliantly machined Beringer 4-piston radial callipers. The rear, however, gets a stock disc with Beringer 2-piston calliper. The Beringer levers look as though they’ve been taken straight from the MotoGP paddock. To match this setup, Pirelli Diablo racing slicks came from Pirelli Taiwan, the same ones used in the WSB championships. Suspension units on this one-off build came from Öhlins FGR800 forks at the front mated to Rough Crafts own custom triple trees and Öhlins TTX shock at the rear.
There is a reason why few fret when it comes to custom builds. Yes, there is no shame in accepting that most of them tend to wilt under close scrutiny. But whom can you blame? Getting factory levels of fit and finish is expensive and time-consuming and of course you need an expert mechanic having steady hands and one crazy mind. it seems like Rough Crafts have got it all. With immaculate little details wherever you look and a persona like Yeh Winston behind this, making machines that are responsible for us to drop our jaws all the way to the ground is just another day at the office for him.
No doubt, the new Brutale 800 is simply a stunning piece of machinery which the Gods have made it taking all the time. But it takes an act of ballsy stature to take that and turn it into the ‘Ballastic Trident’. Literally, throws the rulebook out of the window. This is perhaps the sexiest bike I have ever written about. Psst… don’t tell it to the other ones.
No word from Winston about the build time or pricing, but looking at the level of work, we assume such craftsmanship does not come for the price of two lollipops. He showcased this built at the Mooneyes Yokohama show—the most prestigious event on the Japanese custom calendar.
As Lucian Freud, one of the foremost 20th-century portraitists once said ‘It is the only point of getting up every morning: to paint, to make something good, to make something even better than before, not to give up, compete, or be ambitious’.