CAFE RACERS


69 BSA Rocket 3, BSA triple, BSA cafe racer, bsa cafe racers, bsa motorcycles, bsa motorcycle pictures

BSA Cafe Racers are not as common as Triumphs & Nortons. This 1969 BSA Rocket 3-based custom is nothing short of amazing. Built right, very fast!

Cafe Racer, Cafe Racers, norton commando, norton motorcycles, norton

This delicious 1973 Norton Commando CNW recently sold at MidAmerica Auctions' Auction Marketplace event at Pebble Beach for $15,000.

Cafe Racer, Cafe Racers, BSA Gold Star, Classic British Motorcycles
ROOTS
The Cafe Racer originated in 1960s England as part of the Rockers counterculture., although they were big in Europe as well. The name came from the practice of racing from one coffee bar, or Cafe, to another. ‘Racing the Record’ involved starting a song on the jukebox, then racing to a given point & back again before the record ended. This involved some real high speed riding & required a motorcycle that was built for speed & good handling. These machines were typically very personalized, most usually being built or at least modified, by their owners.

FACTORIES CATCH ON
Many factories caught on to the trend & began building their own factory Cafe Bikes. To further add to the fun, many forms of racing required so-called 'production' machines to be homologated (produced & sold to the public in at least minimal numbers to justify calling it a production bike). Original examples of these factory specials are rare, valuable & much sought-after by collectors today.

1975 Norton Commando, Cafe Racer, Cafe Racers, Classic British Motorcycles

Triton, Triumph motorcycles, Norton Norvin, Norton motorcycles, Vincent Black Shadow, Norton featherbed Egli Vincent, vincent rapide, vincent black shadow, vincent cafe racer, vincent cafe racers, vincent motorcycle pictures


CAFE CHARACTERISTICS
Cafe Machines come in all shapes & sizes, and while the trend started in England, there are Japanese, European & even American Cafe Bikes. But, we will confine the bulk of our coverage to Cafe Racers which are also Classic British Motorcycles. Some are barely street-legal race machines with full fairings, rearset pegs & oversized tanks. Others are as simple as a set of low bars. But the look is instantly identifiable.

CUSTOM FRAMES & SWAPS
Some have custom frames, like the Egli Vincent, and others swap frames & engines from different motorcycles, like the Triton, a Triumph engine in a Norton Featherbed frame. Or the Norvin, a Norton Featherbed with a Vincent V-twin engine in it. Clearly there is a pattern here. The Norton Featherbed was considered THE best handling frame you could get in the 1950s & early 1960s. The arrival of the single downtube frame in 1963 finally put Triumph's handling on par with Norton's. These cross-brand hybrids were, of course, not built or even sanctioned by the factories. These were often home-built.

THE EGLI VINCENT
Swiss frame fabricator, Fritz Egli started a sensation with the frames he built for Vincent V-twins. Called the Egli-Vincent, they are not just beautiful to look at, the handling & engineering is top notch. This one is highly customized & is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life!!

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CAFE RACERS - LEAN & MEAN!
Cafe Racers, like Choppers & Bobbers, are totally unique, like individual works of art. Some are extraordinarily detailed, others are quite simple. Generally, the original Cafe Racers were street bikes with all unnecessary equipment stripped off, making them quite simple, lean & mean. This lovely '75 Bonneville is a perfect example.

1973 Triumph Bonneville, Cafe Racer, Cafe Racers, Classic British Motorcycles, Triumph Motorcycles


MY LOVE OF CAFE RACERS
I am a big fan of Cafe Racers myself, & I built this wonderful 1973 Triumph Bonneville into an award-winning Cafe Racer, which I call "The Yellow Bike", for obvious reasons. It’s impossible to miss...The Yellow Bike is bright yellow! I'll get into more detail on my bike & others below. This is an area that is very close to my heart so it will be even more enjoyable for me to indulge in these gorgeous bikes. Even more so than all the beautiful Classic British Motorcycles that grace our pages. Enjoy.


SO, LET'S SEE SOME PICTURES OF CAFE RACERS!

1971 Triumph Bonneville, Cafe Racer, Cafe Racers, Triumph motorcycles, Norton motorcycles TRIUMPH CAFE RACERS

Just as most Classic British Motorcycles are Triumphs, most Classic British Cafe Bikes are also Triumphs. Triumphs have always been known for good handling, lightweight, great power & speed, all vital ingredients for a decent Cafe Bike.



Norton Commando, Cafe Racer, Cafe Racers, Triumph motorcycles NORTON CAFE RACERS

Norton Motorcycles have always been favorites among the Cafe set (the people, not the bikes). Nortons make ideal Cafe Machines. Throughout the 1950s, the Norton Featherbed Frame was the best-handling frame in the world. Norton did some of its own factory Cafe Racers, like the John Player Special.


cafe racers, bsa rocket 3, bsa cafe racer, bsa cafe racers, bsa triple, bsa pictures ALL OTHER CAFE RACERS

Cafe Machines come in all shapes & sizes, all displacements, all configurations. Many are as unique as their owners. Some are modified with simple bolt-on accessories. Others go so far as to custom fabricate frames, tanks & more. For our purposes, we are only going to cover Cafe Bikes built from Classic British Motorcycles.


Triumph Cafe Racer, Triumph Bonneville, Triumph motorcycle, cafe racer, cafe racers The YELLOW BIKE

I built this bike from scratch, rode it hundreds of miles to shows, won some trophies, then rode it home. It's been in some magazines. Its a 1973 Triumph TR7 with a Bonneville head, loads of trick stuff & some cool history. Check it out.




BOOKS ABOUT CAFE RACERS


CAFE RACER

CAFE RACERS OF THE 60's

MOTORCYCLE TUNING

HOW TO SET UP YOUR MOTORCYCLE SHOP

MOTORCYCLE ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS

MOTORCYCLE MODIFYING

MOTORCYCLE FUNDAMENTALS, SERVICE & REPAIR

MOTORCYCLE BUILDERS

MODERN MOTORCYCLE TECHNOLOGY

MODERN MOTORCYCLE TECHNOLOGY: HOW IT ALL WORKS

HOW IT HAPPENS AT THE MOTORCYCLE PLANT

HOW TO PAINT YOUR MOTORCYCLE

HOW TO CUSTOM PAINT YOUR MOTORCYCLE

HOW TO GET YOUR MOTORCYCLE UP & RUNNING

HOW TO REPAIR YOUR MOTORCYCLE

HOW TO RESTORE YOUR MOTORCYCLE

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