Rough Crafts Ballistic Trident MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR
When I stumbled across the Rough Crafts Ballistic Trident, a customized MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR, the only thing that rattled in my mind was a particularly relevant quote by the late Henry Miller: “No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty.”
Within the motorcycling community, there are few names as revered as Massimo Tamburini. Whether you know him by name or not, there is no doubt that you are familiar with his work. From his mind and onto the draft table poured the designs of the iconic Ducati 916 and MV Agusta F4 superbikes, and those are merely some of the highlights of his illustrious career. Seven years prior to his passing, Tamburini released the design for his final masterpiece—what we now know as the MV Agusta Brutale.
Since 2007, the Brutale has seen its fair share of updates. They have always been done with the utmost care, never upsetting the careful balance that was originally struck by Tamburini.
Fortunately, Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts based out of Taipei—the builder of the Ballistic Trident—is not one to shy away from taking on a masterpiece.
Commissioned by MV Agusta Taiwan, Yeh’s Ballistic Trident is anything but subtle. “We tried to capture the rich racing history of vintage MV Agusta with the newest model, the Brutale 800RR as the base,” Yeh explains. “While looking at old pictures with MV racing vintage GP, we saw these old GP bikes with big dustbin full fairings. Immediately, I decided this is the biggest visual reference I want to put into the design.”
The carbon fiber dustbin fairing, in many ways, is the centerpiece of this build. All attention is drawn to it, as it is the most pronounced feature. The visually striking elegant paint scheme of black and gold utilizes the carbon fiber weave, and allows it to show through and enhance it. For that, Yeh tapped Air Runner Custom Paint in Taipei, a company that specializes in customized helmet painting. The carbon fiber molding was done by Lee Speed, a company that does outstanding motorcycle and automotive carbon fiber work.
There is a dark side to pulling from the past and in many cases; styling of the past is there for a reason. The dustbin fairing eventually fell by the wayside because of the design limitations it created. First, side winds heavily impacted the bike due to the fairing’s large surface area and, second, they often restricted lock-to-lock steering sweep. In short, they proved to be more trouble than their aerodynamic worth.
Undeterred, Yeh used computer modeling to solve his problem. Dubbed the “modern dustbin,” Yeh solved the quandary by attaching the main portion of the fairing to the fork, allowing it to move unimpeded.
It was no simple task. To start, the fairing and all of its accompanying components were created with 3D computer modeling software, and then a full-sized wooden carving was made. By way of a mold, the wooden carving gave birth to the fairing.
To complete the look, carbon fiber winglets were added to the fuel tank, extending down and, from both an aesthetic as well as an aerodynamic perspective, solved the aforementioned issues. It’s from that jumping point that our eyes are easily pulled back along the gold lining, all the way to the custom subframe and rear cowl.
With that solved, Yeh says, “All the detail pieces just kind of fell together effortlessly.” Yeh opted to keep the stock MV Agusta gauge, as he was quite pleased with its functionality. He tapped Shark Factory of New Taipei City to machine a custom housing piece that pleasantly sits in the tank.
Astute MV aficionados might notice that the gold-laden, six-spoke 17-inch wheels are not off-the-shelf kit. No, they are from the mind of Yeh himself, who developed them and had Wukawa Industry in nearby Banciao City machine a working set. If only we could actually buy them.
Not one to leave stones unturned, Yeh made use of an Öhlins FGR 800 fork and matching Öhlins TTX shock. Complete with high-performance Beringer calipers and rotors, the Ballistic Trident would be a worthy track weapon—it is shod with Pirelli Diablo Superbike slick racing tires—should anyone attempt to tame it.
It isn’t often that custom builders of this caliber use consumer-grade hardware for something as important as an exhaust system, but the HydroTre exhaust, manufactured by HP Corse of Bologna, Italy caught Yeh’s attention and held it.
The HydroTre Satin Cover exhaust is, hands down, the most beautiful muffler designed for MV Agusta. “When I was doing the research of what exhausts can be done to the bike, I immediately found myself drawn to that design,” Yeh explains, “and it just flow with the curves I try to achieve with the bike perfectly.”
The attention to detail within the Ballistic Trident is astounding. The gold embellishments found sprinkled throughout the machine wonderfully tie the build together. Things such as the gold gas cap or gold rear sprocket add finishing details that only a true master builder will put effort into.
I will admit, I balked at the thought of someone attempting to upstage Tamburini, but perhaps we need to think of the Ballistic Trident in another way—it is an evolution of greatness. The Brutale 800 RR will always be the Brutale 800 RR, and Massimo Tamburini’s legacy will always have a home in the hallowed halls of motorcycling history. Builders such as Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts have the steel nerve to take the proverbial scalpel to all that is dear for us gearheads, coming out unscathed and adding their own names to legend.
Photography by JL Photography
Rough Crafts Ballistic Trident MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR Specs:
- Engine: 2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR
- Exhaust: HP Corse HydroTre Satin Cover
- Frame: Stock Brutale 800 RR w/ custom subframe
- Dustbin fairing: Rough Crafts design; Lee Speed molding
- Front suspension: Öhlins FGR800 fork w/ custom Rough Crafts triple clamps
- Rear suspension: Öhlins TTX shock
- Clip-ons: Bonamici Racing
- Hand Controls: MV Agusta / Rough Crafts
- Wheels: Rough Crafts / Wukawa Industry VGP-6; 17 x 3.50” front, 17 x 6.00” rear
- Tires: Pirelli Diablo Superbike. 120/70 R 17, front; 180/60 R 17 rear
- Brakes: Rough Crafts / Beringer custom
- Paint: Air Runner Custom Paint
- Custom Badge: 2 Abnormal Sides
- Gauge: Rough Crafts / Shark Factory
- Bolts: Titanium by ProTi
- Seat/tail section, gas caps, and grips by Rough Crafts