You can’t get much more influential than being the creator of a genre. In the case of Okinawa-born Go Takamine, “brat style” is named after his Tokyo shop, Bratstyle. Hallmarks of brat-style motorcycles are simplicity and ruggedness. Major components on the donor bike are typically left alone, as the devil is truly in the details. Brat-style builds look ready for the zombie apocalypse, with every intention of coming out on top.“For me, bike culture started at school. Half of my class were bike crazy, and that’s what shaped my life and direction”, Takamine recalls. “I learned a lot in the early days from friends and my local bike shop. Brat style evolved from this, as did my shop. It’s about things being simple and effective, and yet still feeling like a kid”.
Takamine has since moved to California, keeping his shop in Tokyo and opening a branch in Long Beach. One could argue that Takamine has gone Hollywood, as his latest build is a Bratstyle Indian Chief for actor Nicholas Hoult. You may know Hoult as Beast in the X-Men movies since 2011 or Nux in 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. In biopics, he played J.R.R. Tolkien, Nikola Tesla, and J.D. Salinger. Hoult became a dedicated motorcyclist after learning to ride for his character Flem Lever in the 2014 movie Young Ones. Eventually, he picked up an Indian Scout.Takamine worked with Indian Motorcycle Director of Product Design Ola Stenegärd. A friend of Takamine’s, Stenegärd showed Takamine sketches of the Indian Chief, which sparked an idea. “The frame design was the first thing that caught my eye,” Takamine explains. “Straight away, I could see the potential, which of course, Ola had intended when he and his team designed the new Chief. It fits so well with what I like to create, and so the seed was sewn for this project.”The fuel tank is the centerpiece of the Bratstyle Indian Chief—Takamine made it shorter and narrower, with a custom paint job that accentuates the Indian logo. Indian again appears on the air filter, engine case, and side cover on the left side. On the right is a patinaed engraved engine case cover reading “Bratstyle Motorcycle, Long Beach, Calif. USA”. Also dominating the right side is a pair of upswept chromed reverse-megaphone Bratstyle-brand mufflers.The closer you look, the more is revealed. The rear fender is sourced from a 1937 Ford, and the reproduction Firestone ANS tires on wire-spoked wheels recall the same decade. The handlebar riser is brass, as are the footpegs (with embedded Indian Head nickels) and the pegs of the brake and shift levers. The thin leather solo seat is conspicuously sprung, reinforcing the hardtail look. More subtle are the fork covers and belt-drive cover—all hand-formed sheet metal. Oh, and don’t miss the repositioned speedometer mounted below the tank. With less weight and more power, Takamine reports that the Bratstyle Indian Chief is more fun to ride than the stocker. This isn’t a custom that ruins the operating experience—it enhances it.“It’s my baby,” Takamine admits, “but the customer’s reaction when I hand over the bike is the most important thing.” In this case, Hoult said simply, “Whoa.” We concur.
Bratstyle Indian Chief by Go Takamine Photo Gallery
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!