Project R9T Japan was the name given to a special BMW Motorrad project that challenged four leading Japanese customisers to each produce a custom version of the German brand’s innovative R nineT Roadster. This second R nineT project followed the successful completion of custom builds from renowned European custom houses. Once again motorcycling was rocked into awe and appreciation when the Japanese builders revealed their finished bikes. This week World of BMW Motorrad spotlights Go Takamine of Brat Style and its superb ‘Cyclone’.Based on his previous custom builds, the watching world knew that 40-year-old Go Takamine of Brat Style would produce a finished motorcycle even more stunning than the standard R nineT. What nobody knew was just how far this talented builder would go in creating his finished product. Right up until the reveal event at BMW Motorrad Days Japan (30-31 August 2014), the only clues to the extent of the transformation were monthly reports and tantalising photographs of work in progress. When the time came and ‘Cyclone’ was ridden onto the main stage – by none other than Motorrad’s own Freestyle Stunt-meister Chris Pfeiffer – the audible appreciation of Takamine’s hard work was loud and clear.The most striking point of Cyclone is the modern day ‘tracker’ custom theme although it could be said that it follows old-school trail bike styling, and that Takamine’s R9T wouldn’t look out of place in an early 70’s cult American dirt-biking film with a famous actor astride its seat. But is this look intentional or just the way it all came together?“At a glance, I think that my bike probably looks like an older bike,” says Go Takamine, the man responsible. “I have changed the width of the tires and the external look is entirely different. Although it looks like an older bike, I think I have achieved an interesting feel that mixes both new and old.” He is, of course, correct. The mix of style and modern running gear is very much a subtle one. This wasn’t an easy task, though, according to Takamine, because the standard R nineT has a feel of being something from the near future, which is why he wanted to create a bike that you would normally ride around the city. “Although I have customised many parts of the bike, I didn’t want them to be obvious. My aim was to create a normal city bike, not a show car.”Part of the process in designing Cyclone was Takamine’s attention being focused on creating standard parallel lines that would not look unusual if the bike was to be lined up with Yamaha SR and SX bikes that are very popular custom projects inside the Brat Style workshop. But because of the R nineT’s modern frame it didn’t lend itself to the kind of parallel lines Takamine was seeking to create. He admits this is one aspect he spent the most time thinking about throughout the project. Yes, of course, being a free-thinker he works from instinct, but there are times when instinct alone does not go as well as you thought and is the reason why a good deal of thought was placed into the build – as much if not more than the physical aspect of producing intricate, detailed hand-made components.It’s not everyday you would get out of bed and consider making your own cast aluminium front engine cover. But this is exactly what Takamine did. It sounds easy when you say make a mould from the original cover, adapt it for your own needs and pour in some molten alloy, but in reality? Most of us wouldn’t know how to take off the original engine cover let alone make a mould to hold captive molten metal. But the desire to be different is a strange affliction in the custom building world and appears to be more concentrated in the Land of the Rising Sun. It’s as if every Japanese school education curriculum has to encompass fabrication and engineering skills.Having the ability to fabricate a seat unit, footpegs and revise components is one thing, but then they have to fit where another component already existed, and this takes some mental application, too. Takamine’s use of Ceriani RWU (Right way up) telescopic forks adds to Cyclone’s authentic tracker look, but the amount of thought and time spent getting them in place must have flowed into his sleeping time. If it didn’t, then surely the removal of the standard cast-alloy wheels and efficient hydraulic brakes did, because these were replaced with wire-spoked wheels and a twin-leading hub and brake-shoe assembly. In all, though, this final set up was an ingenious master-stroke. Or maybe the result of a lot of cold beer, which Takamine says is very important in developing ideas…So what happens to Cyclone now that Project R9T Japan is complete? “I would like to run it in L.A. County (U.S.A.),” says Takamine. “Because I'll open the New Brat Style Shop in Long Beach.” When you consider Southern California is home to many influential custom houses, Go Takamine and Cyclone will fit in just fine.Specifications – Cyclone by Brat Style (Go Takamine)Engine: Hand-fabricated one-off exhaust headers and Brat Style silencer. Unique custom-made (cast aluminium) front engine cover also by Brat Style. Air cleaner box removed and replaced with K&N air filter.Chassis: Standard main frame with modified rear subframe (straight joint attached). Ceriani RWU telescopic forks, fork yoke assembly, steering damper and twin-leading drum brake shoe assembly. ABS system removed. Akron H-type wheels (1.85 x 19in front, 2.15 x 18in rear). Safety Tread tyres (Allstate 350 x 19 front, 4.50 x 18 rear)Detail: One-off items by Brat Style include – fuel tank, seat cowl, handlebar, footpegs and levers, and seat (by Atelier Cherry). Bates-type headlight. Rear light, number plate holder and body paint by Brat Style – pinstripe by Sketch.
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