Some custom builders work to a strict formula, while others have a signature that shines through in the details, regardless of the style of build. Winston Yeh at Rough Crafts in Taiwan falls into the second camp. He’s designed cruisers, cafe racers and street trackers—and even though they all cut different lines, they all clearly come from the same source.
This time around, Winston’s turned his hand to the Yamaha XSR900, with brutal results. The XSR gets praise for its performance, but criticism for the messy packaging of its triple-cylinder power plant and the peripheral bits. Winston’s unfazed though—he’s ramped up the aggression by turning it into a menacing and unapologetic street tracker.
He’s also designed it so that it’s easy to replicate—from the custom bodywork, to the extensive and tasteful list of bolt-on upgrades. That’s because Yamaha Europe have opted to add this XSR to their Yard Built custom bike portfolio, where the emphasis is on ease of customization.
“The whole idea of Yamaha Yard Built was to inspire bike owners around the world to customize their bikes and make them unique,” Winston explains. “So if the builder develops bolt on parts from the build, that would be a big bonus.”
“On my previous Yamaha builds I didn’t really focus on the parts development—many people asked me if I had kits for sale, and sadly I had to reject them. So, when presented with the opportunity for this XSR900 build, the first priority was to focus on how it can be reproduced and bolted on—but still totally Rough Crafts, without sacrificing aesthetics.”
“Even for all the parts around it, I tried to use as much off-the-shelf stuff as possible. So people can recreate their own interpretation, maybe with a different exhaust, different headlight, even with clip-on handlebars… who knows?”
Winston started by designing a full set of bolt-on body panels for the XSR900, then commissioned an artisan to shape them out of carbon fiber. Everything interfaces with the stock frame with zero cutting or welding, and with minimal fuss—like the new tank covers, which mount up just like the stock parts.
The flat track-style tailpiece bolts to the OEM subframe with just two fasteners, so the whole setup truly is a plug-and-play affair. “You can even use the stock double seat if you like to carry a passenger,” Winston adds. “The lines still work with our tank covers.”
Up front is a carbon fiber headlight nacelle that wraps around the stock gauge, which has been lowered. There’s also a pair of Koso LED turn signals, and a carbon fiber fender lower down. The cockpit still uses the stock bars, but it’s now sporting Motogadget grips, Beringer controls and a CNC Racing brake lever protector
Out back is a Rough Crafts license plate bracket, with a pair of turn signal and taillight combo LEDs that Winston developed with Koso. Other bolt-ons include Gilles Tooling rear-sets, GB Racing engine protectors and a TWM gas cap.
Winston wanted to upgrade the Yamaha’s running gear too, but discovered that Öhlins only make a cartridge kit for the XSR, and not a full set of forks. So he had a set of custom triples and spacers machined to run the Swedish brands ‘universal’ FF521 forks, without changing the bike’s geometry. Naturally, he’s looking to offer this as a kit too.
The rear end uses a custom built Öhlins shock from the suspension gurus at Andreani. The wheels are drool-worthy carbon numbers from BST, and the tires are Pirelli Supercorsas. A full set of Rough Crafts-branded Beringer braking components complete the package.
With 115 hp on tap the stock XSR900 is plenty quick, so Winston kept the performance upgrades basic. This one’s kitted with a Sprint Filter air filter, and a full exhaust system from SC Project. A tuning module from Rapid Bike ensures optimal output.
In classic Rough Crafts style, the XSR900 is finished off in swathes of black, with subtle pin stripes and areas of clear-coated carbon. Line & Circle Custom Paint Studio handled the livery, while Zeus Lighting helped with the final assembly.
Winston has once again delivered the perfect Rough Crafts recipe. But this time, it’s a recipe you can cook up at home too… once those kits are ready.