Cafe Racer: A brief History and How To

Author: Ellaspede   Date Posted:2 April 2014 

Cafe Racer: A brief History and How To main image


With all of the tips, tutorials and tricks to building a cafe racer motorcycle appearing lately, we thought we’d have a quick look at some of the best little reads to get you heading in the right direction when building or modifying your own bike.

As with anything, everyone has an opinion on what is the right and wrong way to do things. So we’ve put together a range of links from the last few years, which detail some different perspectives on the café racer style of motorbike and modification.

From our experience in building Café Racers for our clients in Brisbane, and more widely in Queensland or Australia, we’ve found that the strict guidelines of each particular style can be both a help and a hindrance. With many of the best builds we’ve done coming from a mix of style and inspirations that range from café racer to bobber, through flat tracker to cruiser influences.

An important aspect to remember is the history of this style of custom bike. Café Racers were originally doing just that, racing from one café or pub to another with a group of friends. Hence their focus was primarily on improving the performance and speed of the bike, with form often following function in the early years of this style.

What is a cafe racer today? These days the café racer has a much stronger focus on the visual style (rightly so, as they make for wonderful looking motorcycles) but the heart of this style will always lie with removing unnecessary components and increasing the performance in the hunt for more speed. Something worth remembering.

So, go forth and read the information in these links, take it in, and process it to formulate your own opinions on what a café racer is to you. That’s how we’ll see the biggest growth in our motorcycle community. Through people creating bikes that are their reflections of each style, their inspirations, and most importantly their imaginations.

If you’re looking for some further reading, Doug Mitchel’s book aptly named ‘How to Build a Café Racer’ might also be a good reference.

Please note: The opinions depicted in these links are in no way a reflection of Ellaspede, just some useful information to help you form your own judgement.

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