When you talk about a builder who has taken home major trophies at Mooneyes, the Custombike show in Germany and the AMD World Championship of Bike Building, you’re talking about one of the most elite players in the game. Winston Yeh has taken his distinctive style of tough lines and a sinister hue and built a global empire with his Rough Crafts brand; transforming just about any kind of two-wheeled machine into the coolest of customs. Proudly operating out of Taipei, few people on the planet have managed to spin their spell over everything from little Hondas to hulking Harleys. But to add something totally different to his portfolio, Winston picked out a 2020 Husqvarna FE501 to be transformed into this stunning city slayer of a Supermoto.
Apart from a few notable exceptions, we don’t see a lot of custom Supermoto builds anywhere in the world. They are by definition uncompromising machines and much more suited to racing or a quick blast than any serious time in the saddle. With their limited usage, minimal range and dialled-in suspension, you basically need at least one other bike at your disposal for regular two-wheeled duties. But when it comes to ripping up the roads of a tight and twisty urban jungle, no other bike can do it with the precision and speed of these ultra-focused machines.
There are only a handful of suitable donors if you want a modern motorcycle and Rough Crafts would have at their disposal one of the best, in the form of the 501 Husky. It packs the most power of any bike in the company’s enduro range, weighs just 111kg and comes back with an incredible array of technologies. From the factory floor, however, this is a bike designed to be used off-road, so the first step for Winston was to sit down and design a motorcycle that not only looked incredible but had all of the necessary changes to make it a black top beast.
Working with Faber Studio to bring it all together, the robot-welded chrome-moly frame and carbon composite rear subframe make for the perfect base. Onto that frame goes a set of CNC machined FOAR triple clamps that are used in national and international level Supermoto racing. Not only do they offer lightweight and improved rigidity, but an adjustable top plate allows for the offset to be accurately dialled in. With this done the excellent factory WP suspension was pulled out and can be saved for another day, and in goes some of the best suspension money can buy, in the form of Ohlins RXF48S forks that have been fitted with Supermoto legs.
At the rear end Winston wasn’t going to cut any corners and to match the incredible front end, an Ohlins TTX Flow shock is the new and improved version of the all-conquering rear damper. The braking is all just as impressive, with another big name brought on board to join the party. Beringer discs are used front and rear, measuring a very generous 310mm and 230mm respectively. A combination of the company’s four and two-piston calipers provides the clamping force, with a properly sized master cylinder on the bars.
The standard Husky spoked wheels aren’t suitable for tarmac terror, so Winston chose a set of ultra-lightweight Marchesini M10RR Kompe Motard rims. Black, of course, the tubeless design allows for a pair of grippy Pirelli Rosso Corsa II tyres to be fitted, with the rear a meaty 160 section. With a sweet roller on his hands, Winston designed a seat to suit the job, straight from the Rough Crafts playbook, black, with a bold look and perfect for the task. The front fender was then shortened, not needing to catch huge amounts of mud as it would in stock form, and like the rear and the fork guards it gets hit with gloss black.
The front mask is a mix of a custom fabricated shield that was built in-house and a single boxed-in Koso headlight that just further enhances that sinister look that Wintson is known for. To get the rest of the bike looking spot on and take a leaf out of the dirt bike playbook, the remainder of the machine is covered by MTR Custom Wrapping. The look is nothing like the over-the-top colour schemes you normally associate with such a bike, and a simple modification transforms the whole mood of the build. To continue that blacked-out theme, the frame covers are all carbon fibre taken from the CMT catalogue.
The 510cc single-cylinder engine is an absolute beast, but you can always have more power and the best way is to let the big girl breathe. For this, an entire titanium exhaust system is used that features a trick mix of an Akrapovic header with SC-Project tailpipe. Power is sent to the rear tyre thanks to a RK Takasago chain conversion with a pair of KCT sprockets, and the quick change nature of these parts means dialling in the gearing is a breeze. A set of ProTaper bars with Rizoma grips and the shadowy warrior is ready to cut a slice out of the tight Taipei tarmac.
[ Rough Crafts | Photography by Kin Lin ]