Yamaha is a big supporter of the custom bike scene, encouraging builders from all over to make their Yamaha their own. As part of the Yamaha “Yard Built Project,” talented builders are asked to customize certain models to help inspire others, with the possibility of making their custom parts available for purchase to the masses.
The “Checkered Scrambler,” introduced today at AIMExpo in Orlando, Florida, is the very first build of the new SCR950. Yamaha turned to legendary Japanese builder and California resident, Go Takamine of Brat Style to make it unique. Born in Okinawa next to a U.S. military base, Go Takamine had his first exposure to motorcycles when he would watch the U.S. soldiers having fun riding motorcycles on the dirt courses that meandered throughout the base. Fast-forward to 1998, and Brat Style was born in a workshop in Tokyo, where Takamine built cool custom street machines that arose from his deep passion for riding motorcycles on all kinds of terrain.
Now, nearly two decades later, Brat Style is a California-based company whose brand name is firmly established as a bellwether of custom bikes, in no small part due to Go Takamine’s love of the Yamaha SR400/500. The Japanese builder has created over 100 Brat Style SR-based machines in his career, including his first Yard Built collaboration, which is the exceedingly cool SR400 “B.S.R.”
For the SCR950, Takamine essentially stripped the standard bike bare and fabricated his own tank, seat, fenders, side covers, exhaust pipes, and handlebars. He comments that the fuel tank was especially difficult, having scrapped several finished iterations until he built the one he was finally satisfied with. To make matters even trickier, Takamine had a challenge on his hands to integrate the fuel pump.
Of the SCR950, Takamine says, “I think it has good potential for customizing. It has a simple, clean, tubular frame with a good-looking rear subframe. That means it’s easy to swap around the exhaust pipe, seat, and fenders. It wasn’t hard at all to customize the handlebar area, as well. I believe that, without changing that many parts, the SCR950 will allow you to add your own personal touch to it.”
To create the “Checkered Scrambler,” Takamine revised the front end and added wider handlebars for better off-road control, along with a new, smaller headlight unit. Brat Style signature engraving can be found on the fuel cap, which pays tribute to Yamaha’s Faster Sons platform, as well as a beautifully engraved custom air filter cover.
Custom rear suspension by Works Performance was added for greater travel and ground clearance, and a handmade subframe and rear fender tie the back end of the bike to the front. Off-road tires were added to prototype wire rims, and no Brat Style bike would be complete without Takamine’s signature taillight unit. Custom exhausts run along both sides of the Checkered Scrambler, and a handmade heat shield keeps the legs from cooking.
A handmade seat unit by Mauricio Aguilar and an old-school paint scheme featuring vintage Yamaha graphics and checkered flags on the tank complete the bike.