There is something about the Japanese custom scene that really understands the look and feel of vintage Americana. For that reason I’m hardly surprised that Go Takamine, founder of Brat Style with custom motorcycle shops in California and Tokyo, managed to build this pitch-perfect hardtail Indian custom from a brand new Chief. It’s fantastically simple with big chunky tires, polished bits only where necessary, brass accents, and astonishing minute details that only show themselves when you get up close.
The bike, as mentioned in the headline, was built for actor Nicholas Hoult. You might know him from Mad Max or X-Men, but he’s been in a lot of pretty decent films and television programs. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of his work, per se, but I’m never disappointed to see him on screen, I guess. That this is the kind of bike he wanted to ride around in Los Angeles just bumped him up a few notches, though.
The bike started life as a factory-standard 2022 Indian Chief, and retains the big aircooled V-twin and electronics package from that bike. It is only the styling that truly kicks it old-school here, as evidenced by Go’s bodywork and throwback parts. Apparently the rear fender for the bike was shaped from a 1937 Ford pickup truck fender, and the brass gnarled pegs have been fitted with Buffalo Nickels on each side of the bike.
In a truly wild move, Go converted the brand new Indian to a hardtail with a sprung solo seat. Maybe I’m just unaccustomed to pain, but I found the Chief to be a little hard on my backside, so getting rid of the suspension back there seems like a recipe for a busted butt. I don’t reckon Hoult will be riding this bike very far, but he’ll look totally badass when he does.
Here’s a list of everything custom done by Brat Style for this bike:
- Converted the rear suspension from a swing-arm/softail to a rigid, hardtail by installing cross members from the rear axle to the main frame.
- New Brat Style bars and brass risers
- Relocated the digital speedometer to the lower left side of the bike just below the fuel tank. Did this by fabricating a special mounting system for the speedometer, rerouting the bike’s existing wiring to this new location.
- Cut two inches out of the center of the tank to narrow it from its stock size.
- Installed a new leather spring loaded solo seat.
- Fabricated short, low-profile sissy bar for rear fender.
- Fabricated and installed a new set of custom cone-end exhaust pipes.
- Installed new headlamp with integrated vintage Indian Motorcycle brass coin.
- Created upper fork leg covers to create a muscular old-school look for the front end.
- Installed sidemount (left side) Brat Style/Shi-Sa tail light and license plate holder
- Repainted the bike gloss black, with silver scallops on tank and gold Indian script logo.
Everything about this bike screams cool. It’s just a wild machine and a piece of art all in one, delivered by an old-school artist of the motorcycling world. If I were in Hollywood motion pictures, I would also commission someone like Go to build a bike for me. I’m not sure I’d want a hardtail, though...