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The Ultimate Brat Style Chout

Two Indian Legacies Mated to Form a Classic

By Bandit Ball with photos by Michael Lichter

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This turned into one of those stellar awakening motorcycle moments. A couple of years ago after Born Free, Michael Lichter and I toured a handful of regional shops. He shot this piece of patina Indian history outside Go’s new Long Beach shop on the west side, Brat Style.

I was caught off guard by this young Japanese builder and his lovely wife, Masumi, who had within the last six months set up their shop and home in Long Beach on the industrial West Side, near Phillip’s Steel, while maintaining their original shop in Toyko.

At the time, I was impressed with his style and all the old chopper shit lining his shop. Didn’t someone tell us, “Choppers are dead.” Here was a shop devoted to the originals, the shit guys rode in the late ‘60s. I’m talking the time when Ron Paugh hit up his dad for replacement Knucklehead primaries. It was like stepping back in time, yet we weren’t.

Step forward two years, and Go and Masumi have resided and grown their industrial site business in Long Beach, and they are cooking. But times have changed somewhat and not how you would expect. He hasn’t shifted to billet and new products, or long choppers with flashy paint jobs, but he has shifted to working mostly on Indians.

His style is still classic and unique, coupled with rush and patina paint jobs. So rustic you would swear his latest build rolled out of the shop 60 years ago.

Our major focus this round is this red Indian. To the naked, unknowing eye, it’s a classic slightly modified Scout, but it’s way more. First, it started with 1940 Indian Chief motor and matching transmission.

That’s sorta the end of the stock stuff. He got ahold of a 1929 rare, Indian 101 Scout frame and started to modify the frame to allow the big twin engine to fit. He raised the backbone and modified the engine mounts. Let’s stop here for a minute to give you a brief history lesson around the famous Indian Scout brand.   

Hang on.

A museum shot of a stock 101 Scout Indian. Note the frame backbone.
A museum shot of a stock 101 Scout Indian. Note the frame backbone.

101 Scout (1928–1931)

In mid-1928 the Scout Series 101 replaced the original Scout. Designed by Charles B. Franklin, who had designed the original Scout, the 101 Scout had a new frame with more fork rake, a longer wheelbase, and a lower seat height. The geometry of the 101 Scout wheelbase, steering head angle and rear sub-frame were all adopted from the new Indian 401 model under development at the same time. The standard Scout 101 was available with a 45 cu. in. (740 cc) engine, but it was also available with a 37 cu. in. (610 cc) engine from the original Scout, although this was rarely advertised.

The 101 Scout was noted for its handling and was popular with racers, hill climbers, and trick riders.

In 1931, Indian's management decided to rationalize production by designing a new corporate frame that, with some detail variations, would be used across their entire, new-for-1932 model range of Scout, Chief and Four. The economic hardship of the Great Depression forced Indian to discontinue the 101 Scout, since it was as expensive to produce as the 74 cu in (1,210 cc) Chief, and therefore had a small profit margin.

Legacy of the 101 (1927-1931)

The 101 Scout has been called the best motorcycle Indian ever made.

Enthusiasts have differing views on the replacement of the 101 Scout. Fans of Indian's technical achievements acclaim the 101 Scout as the pinnacle of Indian technology, while fans of classic Indian styling hail its replacement for bringing classic Chief styling to the Scout line. The 101 is still used in wall of death stunt exhibitions.

Standard Scout (1932-1937)
Cost-cutting led to Indian designing a new basic frame for 1932 that would form the basis for the Scout, Chief, and Four frames. The 1932 Standard Scout that was based on this new frame was heavier and bulkier than the 101 frame, and was less successful as a result. The Standard Scout remained in production until 1937.--Wikipedia

Meanwhile back at Brat style, Go installed the driveline, and then built the gas tanks and oil tank (incorporated into the gas tank) to fit over the arched backbone of the frame. He proceeded to build the mid controls from Harley and Indian parts.

He ran only chief drum brakes, front and rear, and he rebuilt them with new shoes. He upgraded the electrical system with a 12-volt, 2-brush generator and regulator. The front end is all Junior Scout from about 1930, before the leaf-spring girder.

So, although it appears to be an old racer found in a barn, it’s actually a very custom motorcycle, and his painter, Denis Babin, does an amazing job with the patina paint scheme. I just noticed several changes from this shoot to the shoot at the Race of Gentlemen. No disc brake, spoked wheels, etc. Could it have been the ROG rules or Go refining his vintage style?

Okay, so if you have a pile of Indian parts in a dusty corner of your garage and you want something ultimately cool, Go, from Brat Style might be your man, but his eyes got big when we discussed the price of old Indian parts.

The Brat Style customer base includes Japanese enthusiasts, European collectors and good-ol’ Americans. His website contains tees, hats, gloves, knick-knacks and very little text. But if you walk into his shop, you’ll be inspired from the minute you arrive and you’ll notice a drop of drool as you stumble out. Hell, by the time I arrived at the Bikernet Headquarters 10 minutes later, I was already planning another build.

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