Two years ago, Harley-Davidson flew Winston Yeh to Barcelona to test ride the new Milwaukee-Eight big twins. And like most riders at the launch event, he was impressed by the new Softail platform.
“I’ve had the idea of building a performance version of a Softail in my head ever since,” Winston tells us. “So when a customer arrived with an open brief, I knew exactly what I had to do.”

There’s a dark, almost baroque feel to ‘Tarmac Raven.’ It drips with the signature Rough Crafts style, but remarkably, it didn’t require any grinder work. Which must have been a relief for Winston’s longstanding fabrication sidekicks at CT-Garage.
The new bodywork sits comfortably on the stock frame, and accentuates the long, sled-like vibe. The tank’s a heavily modified Sportster unit, and the tail’s been fashioned out of fiber glass. Both have been wrapped in a layer of carbon fiber by Simon Fiber Craft, then painted by Air Runner in contrasting matt and gloss shades of black.

But it’s actually the mighty Milwaukee-Eight that dominates the side view. And as you might have guessed, this V-Twin is a long way from stock.
“I had a chat with David Zemla from S&S Cycle,” says Winston. “He provided their latest kit for the M8 engine: the 124 ci Power Package.” This includes forged pistons with an 11:1 compression ratio and a hotter cam, and promises 124 horsepower at the crank. Torque rises from the stock 110 ft-lb to a massive 135.

“I haven’t had a chance to dyno mine,” says Winston, “but man, it really has some serious push!”
Keeping all this power in check is a full set of trick Öhlins suspension. Up front are beefy 48mm FGRT301 forks, originally designed for the Ducati Diavel. These move the Street Bob away from Harley’s typical laidback cruiser geometry, to a more aggressive, lean-forward stance.

“Öhlins also custom made a rear shock that is an inch longer than their regular product for the Softail,” Winston reveals.
CNC Racing provided a triple clamp, which Winston modified to take a Harley-style neck and risers. He then installed his favorite super-light carbon fiber wheels from BlackStone Tek—this time the seven-spoke ‘Black Mamba’ rims, which are around 25% lighter than forged aluminum.

They’re wrapped in the latest Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 rubber to complete the 17-inch handling package. The brakes are Beringer all round: dual 4-piston calipers and Sunstar discs at the front, and a modified Ducati Panigale brake kit at the back.
Winston’s next port of call was Florida-based Roaring Toyz, who know a thing or too about custom billet sportbike parts. “I called to see if they were interested in the Softail platform,” says Winston.

Roaring Toyz developed and delivered a single-sided swingarm for the Street Bob. “They actually bought an M8 Softail to develop a whole new billet single-sided system,” says Winston, impressed.
“It works with Ducati Panigale-style rear eccentric drive/single sided wheels. It showed up at my door and was a perfect fit!”

On the opposite side to the swingarm, there’s an SC-Project Titanium S1 series muffler. Rough Crafts have matched it to custom titanium headers, which SC-Project will jig up and replicate soon for a full production system.
A smattering of proprietary Rough Crafts parts add to the ‘Guerilla’ vibe—like the clutch cover, the handlebars, the finned air filter and the gas cap. For the grips and rocker arm covers Winston turned to Arlen Ness, and for the blinkers and taillight, Rizoma. 2 Abnormal Sides whipped up a set of push rod collars and tank badges.

“You can really tell how much work Harley put into this platform for customizing,” Winston notes. “Even sporting this radical look, it actually has no cutting anywhere.”
“Even the stock gauge for the Street Bob is so nice, we simply designed our finned risers around it—so it maintains all the stock functions.”

Just to make things even easier, the Italian Harley aftermarket specialist Rebuffini has found a way to make hand controls interface smoothly with the Softail’s CAN Bus electronics. So Winston has installed their RR90 controls with radial master cylinders: “It’s a super-clean looking plug-and-play kit.”

The good news is that Winston is working on production versions of many of the parts shown on Tarmac Raven. So if you have a Street Bob in your garage, you’ll be able to sprinkle a little of that Rough Crafts black magic over it.
Are you ready to go over to the dark side?
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