A relatively modern diversion in the custom bike scene, brat bikes feature a distinctive flat (often described as ‘skateboard’ style seat) and whilst all bikes are different often with lowered frames, straight bars and a variety of wheels and tyres, most feature a stripped-down look. The Brat bike started in Japan with the Bratstyle custom bike workshop and now has fans all over the motorcycle world.
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You can start off a brat bike build with just about any bike with everything from the little Honda CB125 to Boxer BMW’s used as a base bike, but mid-size machines from the 1980’s such as the Yamaha XS650 and Kawasaki KZ are particularly popular. With its distinctive cylinder configuration Honda’s legendary CX500 looks great as a brat style bike (though don’t let the classic bike fans know!). Though most brat bikes are enthusiast built at home, many custom bike shops now offer brat builds if you don’t fancy doing the work yourself. If you are looking to buy a used brat bike check it out carefully. Though it’s a basic stripped back style, the engineering needs to be right otherwise you can end up with a bike which looks great but will be a pig to ride (or worse!). If in any doubt (and as with any used bike) take a knowledgeable friend with you to check it out or better still arrange an inspection before you buy.