Winston Yeh is a bike builder and college-educated industrial designer who cut his teeth in the American chopper scene during an apprenticeship at Roland Sands Design. Today Winston builds mild to wild customs for fans of his retro-inspired aesthetic throughout Europe and Asia. Winston built this Brass Racer Sporty in his Rough Crafts studio several years ago, and the bike helped the Taiwan citizen gain notoriety in chopper media throughout Asia.
Rough Crafts and its founder are proof that "builders without borders" has become the rule in today's scene, not the exception. Go anywhere on the planet and chances are you'll see the handiwork of a young gun with a grinder and a dream plying his craft on some vintange iron. Harley-Davidson deserves some of the credit for why this might be so. The comparative ease of customizing these iconic motorcycles seems to spur the imagination of every new two-wheeled freedom seeker who joins the fray. Combine this with the MoCo's own glacial pace on technical innovation and you can see why the barrier to entry in today's chopper scene is so low. If it feels like everyone IS building custom motorcycles, it's because practically everyone CAN. Old chopperheads love to wax nostalgic about "the real guys" who popularized the scene in Harley's pre-AMF glory days. I personally don't scrutinize young bloods like Winston with the same juandiced eye as the sages of yore.
Call me insouciant or merely unwashed, but I think youthful exuberance and naivete are sometimes a good thing. Winston Yeh's chopper style clearly reflects what I see as an appreciation for "old school" (whatever that means), without being slavishly dedicated to period correctness. Remember—it's a late-model Sportster. If you're under 30, bikes like Winston's were designed and engineered in the only period you might relate to. I understand period correctness in the context of building and judging concourse-quality show bikes, but if you're rebuilding a shovelhead for weekend blasts to dive bars and rockabilly barber shops, does it matter if your Wassell tank was dented by a key grip in Steve McQueen's trailer on the set of "Bullitt?" Respect for pedigree and antiquity are admirable—in modernation.
What many curmudgeons in today's game seem unwilling to realize is Winston Yeh and thousands of young garage builders like him are just having a good time. These bikeriders mean no disrespect to the people and practices that came before them, but neither are they obligated to sanctify them. As in politics and religion, a little tolerance goes a long way. Think about that before you flame someone on a message for putting dirt-bike shocks on a Duo-Glide.
See more of Winston's work here and here.