CAFE RACERS

ONE OF THE BEST, most creative aspects of motorcycling has got to be Cafe Racer Motorcycles. Generally, it's accepted that the Cafe Racer movement started in the UK in the sixties with the "Ton-Up Boys" and British counterculture bikers. They modified their British and Italian bikes in order to make them faster and sleeker, with "clubman" bars, single seat conversions and tricked-out motors that strived to propel the cafe (or caff) racers to the magic ton. (The magic being one hundred miles an hour!).

After World War II many in Europe and the UK sought out cheap transport as their damaged economies recovered from that conflict. Motorcycles were the best bet for many and smaller bikes were easy on the wallet. As these riders grew older, and their financial fortunes rose, the idea of owning a bike became more a choice than a necessity and the glory days of the British motorcycle industry were in full swing.

Youth chafing at the Victorian morals of their parents and class discrimination drove the generations farther apart. Rock and Roll and the "counterculture'' movement took hold. And along came the Ace Cafe!

Ace Cafe

Londons' now famous Ace Cafe was built in 1938 to cater to truckers and motorists using London's new arterial roads and the surrounding main highways. As the Ace Cafe grew, adding service bays and petrol pumps, it became a popular hangout for youthful motorcyclists looking to hang out, chow down on decent grub, have a tea and rip back and forth down the North Circular Road. And listen to Rock and Roll on the jukebox!

Cafe Racer Parts and Cafe Racer Kits

Around that movement cottage industries sprang up to service the burgeoning aftermarket. Names like Rickman and Dunstall were the touchstones upon which the cafe racer culture were built. As England was a land seemingly populated by millions of engineers and machinists, cafe racer parts and cafe racer kits were easy to come by. So the cafe racer motorcycles movement grew and despite hard times to come, it thrives today. With biking in the 1970's becoming dominated by the Japanese, it was natural that bikes like the Honda CB750 and Yamaha XS650 would be the next evolution of the Cafe Racer.

Cafe Racer clubs, magazines and web-sites

Cafe racer clubs, web-sites and magazines abound today with the Fifty Nine Club now claiming to be the biggest motorcycle club in the world!

In fact if you "Google" Cafe Racer parts, clubs or magazines you'll get hundreds of thousands of hits for each. So there's no excuse not to get out there and build yer own cafe!

And speaking of, don't forget to take "before" and "after" pics of your project. Not just for posterity but because you can post your pride and joy on this website! Ok, and others...

I suspect that if your reading this you are already pretty much hooked on cafe racers and/or classic Japanese bikes. Have a look around. Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

Kawasaki cafe racer motorcycles.

The Rickman brothers became reknowned for developing, manufacturing and offering high tech frames for racing privateers in English "clubman" racing series.

As the Rickman frames' reputation grew for handling prowess, the brothers explored the commercial and racing markets for Honda CB750s and other bikes such as this Kawasaki.

They were shunned by BSA, Triumph and Norton because they were seen as a threat. What a shame.

If only the Brits could have embraced the Rickmans, but it was not to be. In time Rickman became a name much sought after not just for their frames but for fairings, seats, tailpieces and go-fast parts.

Whatever you think of the style of Rickman body parts, they are an enduring icon of the '70s motorcycle industry for the epitomy of high end stuff!

Orginal Rickman parts are worth mucho $$$ today!

Yamaha cafe racer motorcycles.

For sure the Yamaha XS series of bikes have become the most favoured series of motorcycles for conversion to cafe racers and bobbers.

The reasons are pretty obvious. Intrinsic good style, great underlying reliability, and cheap used bike prices!

There are thousanda of Yamaha XS series bikes out there for sale today because there were hundreds of thousands of Yamama XS bikes sold between the late '60s and early '80s all over the world!

Possibly the most sold Japanese bike other than the Honda Dream series of scooter/bike.

And of course as a result, there are millions of spares and aftermarket improvement parts to keep your Yamaha XS machines running happily on the roads today. For cheap!

Suzuki cafe racer motorcycles.

This Suzuki GT550 cafe racer is a rarity but a well put together example of a Suzi cafe. Just like its big brother, the so-called Water Buffalo, or Kettle GT 750, this bike is so very rare.

Some folks would say don't wreck a good original GT bike but maybe the thing was beyond saving as original. Either way, it is what it is. And it's great! I love the air-scoop on top of that engine. Ya think there might have been some middle cylinder cooling issues there?

Have a look at some sweet Suzuki cafe racers and the builders that build 'em.

Honda cafe racer motorcycles.

Lots of readers have asked about this particular Honda Super Hawk cafe. Most particularly the tank! That's why it's shown again here. If you know more than please send an e-mail.

Anyway, there are many Honda models that have been cafe-racerized. Reasons are these; Strong reliable engines, strong reliable engines and strong...umm, you get the picture!

That's not the only reason for sure. Let's have a look at so many more Honda cafes. There are so many brilliant ones to draw inspiration from.

Don't forget to send us your own pics and stories.

SHOW US YOUR OWN BIKE HERE!

CLICK HERE TO CREATE YOUR OWN CAFE RACER WEB PAGE. IT'S EASY!

Have A Great Story About Your Cafe Build-Up?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Built a Yamaha XS 400 12E Dohc '83 Cafe(Sake)racer 
Hi. I'm from Berlin/Germany Here are a few pictures of my Conversion XS400 12E to Cafe racer. The frame, wheels and engine are original. Forks and front …

1977 Honda CB750K Cafe Racer 
After 2 years and completed disassembly, I have finally finished it. New rings, honed cylinders and rebuilt cylinder head. Custom paint job, rebuilding …

CB 125 Cafe 
I bought this CB 125 from a guy who needed some money to travel to China (starting in Belgium) with his Vespa. Check out his site: www.naarchinametdevespa.blogspot.com …

1979 Yamaha XS1100SF Cafe Racer 
No before pics but here is the after. Just a rattle can paint job, custom seat and rear cowl, new tires, brakes, fork seals and a little bit of imagination. …

1980 Honda cb750 cafe build. 
This is a 1980 Honda cb750 that I purchased from a junkyard for $200 (about $100 too much considering the shape). Originally, I just wanted to fix it and …

VS750R 
this is my Café Racer VS750R (suzuki 750 intruder) Hey Rico,what a great conversion. Who knew a Suzuki Intruder could look so good? Great attention …

1980 CM 200 TWINSTAR 
I TOOK A 1980 CM 200 TWINSTAR AND BUILT A FUN LITTLE CAFE BIKE. GOODTIMES! What an astounding transformation! Thanks for including the "before" picture …

1979 GS 425 Suzuki 
To me a bike that doesn't need to be worked on or"fixed up" is of no use. I bought this one from a guy whose house burned and the bike was kinda sitting …

SUZUKI T500 CAFE RACER 
My 74 SUZUKI T500 cafe racer. Beautiful! Love the Ducati fairing and silver on blue colours. That's a real head-turner!

A Goldwing Story 
Goldwings are fast powerful motorcycles. My '06 is unbeaten in about 25 races and gets absolutely no respect. I decided to build one that would get some …

1971 CL 350 
I have had my CL for one year now. I must say it has been a gas! I picked it up off of craig list. The ad said it ran and that he had the title. Well guess …

1981 Kawasaki KZ-550 A2 Not rated yet
1981 Kawasaki KZ550 A2 – Picked it up from a tow yard at a lean sale … won’t tell you what I paid but all I did was to throw 2 new tires, a battery, clean …

HONDA TIGER 2001 CAFE RACER STYLE Not rated yet
that my new project... PLS COMENT N ATTENTION. Hey WOW! Neezar, can you tell us more? It's fantastic but I don't know anything about this bike. Anybody? …

The legend of cb 77 superhawk Not rated yet
that is my motocycle idols.. The Super Hawk CB77 was a 305 cc (18.6 cu in) twin-cylinder Honda motorcycle produced from 1961 until 1967. Honda also …

honda gl160 2003 ( rebuildt) Not rated yet
I LOVE classic Japanese motorcycles. So do we Neezar. Thanks for showing us this unique and rare gem!

HotRod Wingster Not rated yet
This is my "hot rod wingster". I built her on a very limited budget. I picked her up from Craigslist for $700 buck. I got her home and put her on diet, …

1975 Honda CB 750 Cafe Not rated yet
This girl has been around for about 6 years. First underwent the cafe knife by my friend Ben whom did the tank, frame, pan, oil tank, Raask Rearsets, …

This is my '75 CB400F with '68 Benelli Mojave 360 sheet metal.  Not rated yet
I purchased a 400F that had been outside for years, then parts from another 400F that was being parted out. I first did a full restoration to create …

Yamaha XS750 cafe racer Not rated yet
It's my first own build cafe racer based on a XS750. The XS750 is a perfect base for a cafe racer and it is cheap to buy because nobody wants them. I …

Ivan´s GT750CaféRacer Build "Part 2" ... Not rated yet
Being rather a PC / web newcomer I wrote my story and enclosed the photo of my T350R/1972. I raced in Proddy trim here in CZ in 1977 - 1980. Trying then …

GT750A CaféRacer Rebuid 1986 - 1995 Not rated yet
My "dreamed only about only in commie-era" GT750 came here in 1984 from Manchester as a gift from my friend David Greenhalgh, my colleague of SOC GB, …

1978 Kawazaki KZ650  Not rated yet
Hey fellows ! It's a pleasure and honor to share my story and motorcycle with you guys. I originally purchased my first and only bike, a '78 KZ650 back …

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