What Is A Brat-Style Motorcycle?

Defining the functional and stylish custom genre developed by Go Takamine

A vintage Bratstyle Yamaha SR500 built by Go Takamine.Go Takamine

Brat style is a genre of custom developed and made popular by Go Takamine, whose garage, Bratstyle, shares the same name. Based in Tokyo, Japan, and Long Beach, California, Go has been making bikes under the Bratstyle name for more than 20 years. As with many custom genres, it's hard to give a concrete definition, but there are certain style points and pieces that stay consistent throughout all brat-style bikes.

Takamine on his custom-built Yamaha SCR950.Go Takamine

For starters, brat style bikes are typically unchopped, stock frames with swingarms and full suspension. The seat is often replaced with a long, flat bench seat or a slammed solo seat, keeping with the minimal aesthetic. Any unnecessary items are typically removed, like large blinkers, mirrors, reflectors, or anything else that you don’t really need. Mid-mounted foot controls or rearsets are common and you can expect to see flat bars, MX-style bars, superbike handlebars, or something similar.

Brat-style bikes are more about funk and function than flash, so you won’t typically see a lot of chrome or candy paint. Engines are typically black or bare metal, and very rarely polished. The same goes for exhaust pipes, often heat-wrapped or ceramic coated; if there’s any chrome it tends to just be on the slip-on muffler. Patina paint and vintage themes like scallops are common, but there really aren’t any rules.

Yamaha SCR950 built by Takamine in his iconic brat style.Go Takamine

Like Go says so often: “Be first, be cool!” So throw your own flair in there and so something different! It’s all about style and self-expression, so adding your own flair is what it’s all about!