Cafe racers are lightweight, moderately powered motorcycles built for handling and speed rather than for riding comfort. Finding the right cafe racer for sale can be a difficult process but thompson reid has put together one of the best resources and posts with a list of builders. As opposed to the regular racing bikes, they sport a trimmed-down, compact design characterized by low-mounted handlebars, single seat, and an elongated fuel tank usually with knee grips indented on it. The narrow handlebars allow the rider to lie almost flat over the tank to minimize the wind resistance. These motorcycles were first used in Britain in the 1960s by the bikers who used them for short races between cafes. However, the Cafe Racer Motorcycle Statistics suggest that popularity of these bikes dramatically increased between 1970 and 1990.
The Early Days:
The earliest cafe racers were predominantly British bikes – BSA, Norton, Triumph, AJA, etc. None of them were exceptionally fast, but they fulfilled the objective of most riders of that era (and even today) which was to hit 100 mph, dubbed as a Ton. Once a rider has demonstrated that his racer is capable of that speed, he was considered a member of The Ton Up Club. Over the years, this culture eventually spread to the United States and Australia where cafe racer enthusiasts actively participate in racing events even today.
From the legendary BSA Gold Star (1950s) to the Royal Enfield Continental GT (2014), all cafe racers sport moderately-powered engines with a capacity of 250cc-750cc. What makes a cafe racer more lovable is the fact that you can turn virtually any bike into a cafe racer provided that you get the right parts. The basic principle behind building a cafe racer is pretty much the same – trim down the weight and modify the fuel tank and handlebars. In fact, many European manufacturers including BMW, Benelli, Derbi and Bultaco produce “cafe” variants of their regular motorcycles with no engine modifications at all. From the Cafe Racer Motorcycle Statistics collected over the last 50 years, hundreds of thousands of these bikes were sold in Europe alone.
The Story Behind the Name:
The name “cafe racer” was initially used as a derogatory term to describe the riders who were just pretending to be racers. They were criticized for parking their highly modified bikes in front of cafes instead of racing with them.
The Role of Cafe Racers in the Evolution of British Subcultures:
Cafe Racers are extensively used by a British sub-culture called the Rockers, a rebellious and young group that moved on fast and personalized bikes to travel from one transport cafe to another alongside the arterial motorways in England. Today, many international subcultures claim to have derived their roots from the Rockers. In an iconic setting of the 1960s England, the Rockers often used to clash with the Mods, another sub-culture known for its modified scooters, tailor-made suits and their love for jazz music.
We deduce from the international Cafe Racer Motorcycle Statistics that the popularity of this bike genre remains unchanged even after fifty years of its origin. Anyone with a desire to own a light motorcycle that is capable of reaching good speed on the highway will enjoy a cafe racer. However, due to its unconventional design and riding posture, this kind of motorcycle may not be for you if you are buying your first bike.