Go Takamine’s Brat-Style 1941 Indian Chief

Think it’s a restoration? Look again.

Indian Motorcycle was still turning a profit in 1941 and the decade saw some of the most stylish bikes in the company’s history. Part of that was because R&D had taken a back seat to keep the company in the black with form picking up the slack. Ultimately, that strategy lead to Indian's downfall in the long term. But for the time being them bikes looked mighty fine, yessiree Bob.

There’s always room to look better though. The stock 1941 Indian Chief didn’t look like this. Parts of it did; the motor, the fork have a similar leafblade look. But when Go Takamine set about bringing the twin powerplant back into action in the 21st century, the shop did it in such a way that it’s both obvious and subtle that this isn’t a resto job. It is, as Takamine labels it, brat style.

No valanced swoopy fenders or gigantor of a solo seat riding high on a post; none of that classicized Indian haberdashery of old. Instead, you get a leaner, meaner Indian Chief with a chopped fender hugging a svelte skinny back tire set in a 1927 hardtail frame with an old Junior Scout fork. The whole bike seems to be answering the “What if?” of what would have happened if the chopper and café-racer crazes had taken off in the early 1940s instead of the 1960s. Looking at this brat in detail, I’ve got to say that’s one helluva an answer to that question!

Go Takamine’s 1941 Indian Chief

Go Takamine’s 1941 Chief seems to be a Scout in wolf’s clothing, of sorts. Painter Denis Babin colorized it in, what else, Indian Red.

Michael Lichter Photography

vintage indian gas tank

Both the gas and oil tanks are one-offs. You’d never find a tank like this on an old stock Indian. The patinated paint hides the tank’s age well though.

Michael Lichter Photography

1941 indian chief custom headlight

Takamine’s little one-off headlight with its protective grille also ain’t standard issue.

Michael Lichter Photography

custom indian motorcycle gas tank

The custom tank sits nice and low on the backbone of the 1927 frame.

Michael Lichter Photography

upswept exhaust pipes

Smooth upswept pipes like these were not the rage back in the 1940s but they came into prominence later for sure.

Michael Lichter Photography

brat style shifter knob

The shifter knob tells you what’s what.

Michael Lichter Photography

19 inch wheels on 1941 indian chief

Those 19-inch wheels are a pretty different animal than the old spoke variety.

Michael Lichter Photography

1941 chief transmission

Like the engine, this brat’s trans and primary are 1941 Chief as well.

Michael Lichter Photography