Yamaha Unveils Checkered Scrambler Project

Brat Style-built Yamaha SCR950 “Checkered Scrambler” pays homage to the early days of off-road motorcycle racing.

The following is from Yamaha Motor Corporation regarding the release of its Yard Built Project scrambler, the “Checkered Scrambler” by Brat Style:

Part of Yamaha's series of Yard Built projects, Brat Style's Checkered Scrambler Yamaha SCR950 pays homage to the early days of desert racing when big twins dominated the scene.
Part of Yamaha’s series of Yard Built projects, Brat Style’s Checkered Scrambler Yamaha SCR950 pays homage to the early days of desert racing when big twins dominated the scene.

Cypress, CA-October 13, 2016–Yamaha recently launched “Faster Sons” as a moniker for its category of Sport Heritage models. Descended from the heritage of motorcycling’s past, today’s “Faster Sons” represent both the motorcycles and the riders who respect iconic Yamaha designs while continuing to push performance forward.

At this same time, Yamaha established an initiative to support custom bike-building globally. In garages all over the world, Yamaha owners dream of creating their very own customized motorcycles. Yamaha’s “Yard Built Project” seeks to enable these reams by asking talented customizers to provide inspirational ideas on how to transform modern Yamaha models into ‘Yard Built’ specials.

When complete, each builder is given the opportunity to produce unique aftermarket parts and make them available for purchase, enabling Yamaha owners to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. This initiative helped builders from both the West and East coasts of the U.S. to deliver stunning interpretations of Yamaha’s Sport Heritage models. These custom builds have included the scrambler styled Bolt from Florida-based builder Greg Hageman of Hageman Cycles, as well as Californian Roland Sands’ multiple Yard Built creations, like the SR900 “Faster Sons.”

For the very first custom build on the brand new Yamaha SCR950, Yamaha turned to legendary Japanese builder and California resident, Go Takamine of Brat Style. With his fearsome reputation for shaping custom motorcycle culture, Go Takamine was the perfect choice for this first special build.


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.”

“The SCR950 is a fun and versatile bike for the street, but it has the capability to go beyond asphalt,” commented Yamaha Motor US Motorcycle Project Coordinator Shun Miyazawa. “After working with Go Takamine for an SR400 build several years ago, the finished custom far exceeded our expectations. Once again, with the SCR950, he has perfectly captured he spirit of the scrambler, and his influence and style are clear in the build.”

“I really like the SCR950,” said Takamine. “It is powerful, comfortable, and very easy to handle. I had great fun riding it on the street, but also on unpaved dirt roads. I also like the coloring; it takes some design cues from the old Yamaha dirt bikes. It was an enjoyable challenge to customize it.

“As usual, I fabricated most of the key body components to make this into a ‘Brat Style’ machine, including the fuel tank, seat, fenders, side covers, exhaust pipes, and handlebars. The fuel tank was especially challenging. I scrapped the finished fuel tank and started all over again a couple of times in an effort to make it perfect. Also, the fuel-pump integration was tricky. I took out quite a bit of eight compared with the stock SCR950, and now, the bike is even more fun to ride. Having worked on the SCR950, 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 beautiful 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 beautifully tie the back end of the bike to the front. Chunky 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 he bike and make it ready for any scrambling challenge.

To find out more about BratStyle, visit http://www.bratstyle.com.