What is a Cafe Racer?
A Cafe Racer is a customised motorcycle designed to enhance speed and handling, these motorbikes are recognised for their minimalistic style featuring, low mounted handlebars, knee grips, custom seats and elongated fuel tanks.
Cafe Racers have become hugely more popular in recent times, originally developed in the 1960’s. Thanks to the ‘Rocker’ or ‘Hipster’ or “Ton Up Boys” youth subculture where the motorbikes were used for quick rides to popular cafes. Today, worldwide demand for Cafe Racer motorcycles is huge. Typically these motorbikes are styled with a megaphone silencer, a smaller seat and clip on handlebars. These styling elements for Cafe Racers give a strong and stylish retro motorcycle look.
Cafe Racer History
Cafe Racers were born primarily on the modification of British motorcycles. They would need to be stripped back as much as possible so owners would therefore removed unnecessary motorcycle parts in order to improve speed. They would then replace them with Cafe Racer parts designed to go fast, a setup more fitting for the race track than a long motorbike ride in the country. In some cases owners would also swap out classic motorcycle engines to further improve speed and performance. This resulted in new motorcycles being created and even sharing engines and frames from different manufactures such as Triton (a combination of Triumph & Norton).
Cafe Racer Style
Cafe Racers have a distinct and unique style making identifying them quite easy. The style of a cafe racer has evolved over the years after its original styling was based on motorbikes seen racing such as the Isle of Man TT. However, these days many more motorbikes are considered cafe racers. Long slung handlebars are a key design change seen on Cafe Racers giving the rider a much lower riding and streamlined position. Also a single seat was used as a passenger wouldn’t usually be seen on a cafe racer. Lighter weight fuel tanks were also installed replacing steel fuel tanks with lightweight aluminium versions with knee dents so the rider could ‘tuck-in’. Brands such as Triumph now sell Cafe Racer style bikes in response to this increased demand with motorcycles like the Thruxton.
A Triumph Cafe Racer