Words by Wes Reyneke
Images by JL Photography
When Winston Yeh first burst onto the scene with his shop, Rough Crafts, he quickly made a name for himself by turning stock Harley-Davidsons into dark and menacing bobbers. Since then, the Taiwanese designer has spread his wings and applied his sharp eye to motorcycles from a number of other brands. But the real artistry lies in the fact that whatever platform Winston’s working with, his signature Rough Crafts style always pushes through.
This time, he’s stamped his mark on a most unusual donor: a 2018 Ducati Hypermotard 939. Anyone who’s swung a leg over the Hypermotard knows what a cracking ride it is. With 110 horses and 98 Nm from its 937 cc Testastretta twin, decent suspension, and a dry weight of just 181 kilos, it’s proper fun.
The thing is, it’s also tricky to customise. The Harleys that Winston cut his teeth on are simple bikes that are easy to take apart and reconfigure—but the modern Hypermotard has a very distinct look, and everything’s designed to fit together a particular way. Still, when a customer brought in a Hypermotard 939 and asked Winston to modify it, he was keen to take up the challenge.
His brief was twofold: give the Ducati the Rough Crafts treatment, and lower it a bit at the same time. “It was obvious that the 870 mm seat height was too stressful for him,” says Winston, “especially in Taipei city traffic, where there’s a lot of stop and go.”
“We still wanted the direction to reflect the Hypermotard’s natural purpose—light, nimble, and fun. A street tracker came to our minds—a flat tracker-styled bike with regular street tyres and brakes.”
Winston went straight into Photoshop—fiddling with ideas and fettling the bike’s stance virtually until it looked right. The final design called for a 2” drop in the front, and a 1” drop in the rear. To achieve this, Rough Crafts installed a set of Öhlins FGRT207 upside-down forks, originally intended for the Kawasaki ZZR1400, along with a new top triple from CNC Racing. Öhlins then hooked the Ducati up with a custom rear shock to complete the set.
The chassis upgrades didn’t stop there. Rough Crafts installed a full Beringer brake set, an Öhlins steering damper, and a set of carbon fibre wheels from South Africa’s own Blackstone Tek. Even though flat track bikes typically feature 19” wheels, Winston knew this bike would be spending its time on tarmac—so he kept the wheel sizes at a road-biased 17”, and opted for grippy Pirelli Diablo Corsa II tyres.
Rough Crafts operates as something of a collective, with Winston regularly outsourcing different parts of a project to various talented craftsmen. For the bodywork, he pulled in metal shaper and frequent collaborator, MS Pro. The result was a new fuel tank and radiator trim, designed to flow seamlessly into each other and show off Rough Craft’s hallmark scalloped style.
When it came to the rear half of the bike, Winston had something else in mind. He called up David Sánchez at BOTTPOWER in Spain, and asked him to send over the company’s carbon fibre BOTT XR1 tail piece. It turned out to be the perfect match for the Hypermotard’s updated design. Kingsman Seat executed the neatly stitched seat pad up top, while lower down, the Ducati’s subframe was rebuilt to accommodate the new tail.
There’s so much to fawn over on this build. Rough Crafts and CNC Racing collaborated to create two special edition parts: a hydraulic clutch slave and a brake lever protector. There’s also a clear clutch cover from Ducabike, and a front sprocket cover from Rizoma. The new fuel cap is a Rough Crafts catalogue part, while the custom tank badges are from a Taiwanese artisan called 2 Abnormal Sides.
Up in the cockpit you’ll find CNC Racing bars, Beringer controls and Motogadget grips. The stock speedo is still in play, but it’s been moved to just in front of the fuel tank. There’s a flat track-style shroud up front, with twin Koso lights embedded in it, and Rizoma indicators at both ends. Lower down, Rough Crafts installed AEM Factory foot controls, and a quickshifter from Cordona.
The Hypermotard’s new exhaust system is equally eye-catching. It consists of pie-cut titanium headers, expertly put together by Tron Racing, along with a titanium SC Project S1 muffler.
Winston roped in Ameuro Motors to handle final assembly, and Air Runner Custom Paint to tackle the Hypermotard’s new paint job. And it’s a stunner too—full of carbon-esque finishes, textured gold striping, and even finer silver pin stripe detailing.
Nine out of ten times, we’d say that attempting to customise a Ducati Hypermotard is probably a bad idea. But, as Winston has proved time and time again, Rough Crafts operates on another level. Equal parts bad ass and innovative, this Hypermotard is a worthy addition into his ever-expanding portfolio—and one of the sweetest Ducati customs we’ve seen.
Find out more at https://roughcrafts.com/