Sugar Kane – Suzuki GSX250 Cafe Racer

"We found this Suzuki GSX250 on a Greek island named Othonoi in the possession of a retired Lighthouse Keeper. Its journey to our workshop in Athens took 3 months instead of the normal 3 day journey, so it kind of stayed true to the island’s very history. Legend says that Othonoi was the home of the nymph Calypso who stalled Odysseus for seven years, so we believed the bike itself had been lost or forgotten wandering the seas. I guess it was a stroke of luck that it ever arrived!"

The Guy Next Door - Kerkus Cycles Suzuki GS550

When was the last time you talked to the guy next door? In Kuala Lumpur neighbours Azahar and Azree Zo discovered one another's passion for cafe racers during a friendly neighbourly chat. That discovery quickly developed into a strong friendship, which lead to the formation of their own custom motorcycle brand in 2012. Four years on their backyard hobby has grown to become a working business located in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur that goes by the name of Kerkus Cycles.

Oldscool Mechanics - Triumph Trident cafe racer

"There are many other beautiful café racers that already exist, but this one was built to put those in its shadow."
When I first read the email from Belgium workshop 'Oldscool Mechanics' that brash statement left me feeling a little apprehensive. As I read on however I started to understand where the confidence behind that statement came from. This was no ordinary build. Rather than following the classic cafe racer recipe these guys had started out with something a bit left of field, instantly making it unique. They'd also used their experience in racing to fabricate parts that you won't find on any other bike, parts that were put together for the express purpose of making the bike better. Finally, and most importantly they're proud of what they've done, and while it's easy to start naming other bikes to compare this one to I have to admire a man (or men) who is proud of his own work.

The Minka - Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer

Around 5 or 6 years ago the Yamaha XS650 was the go to bike for many custom builders. At the time you could get your hands on a decent condition, running XS for a relatively low price and there seemed to be a never ending supply of them. Yamaha did a great job of reengineering the British parallel twin so much so that the XS was well known for it's bulletproof reliability. The only bad thing about the XS, shall we say their achilles heel, was the points style electrics that eventually gave way as the bikes got older. The incredible popularity of the XS also meant that there was no shortage of bolt on accessories or kits to transform them into cafe racer, street tracker or bobber styled builds; and some people, much smarter than me, even devised an easy-to-install electrical ignition system to do away with the troublesome points.

A Better Boxer - James' BMW R80 Cafe Racer

I can’t resist the beauty of a BMW boxer engine. Nothing compares or looks quite like it. Regardless of whether it's in stock condition or heavily customised, these are beautiful machines. Their unorthodox horizontal head configuration and final shaft drive has always intrigued me, while at the same time frightening me. With all the bulk of those cylinders you wouldn’t think it would be suitable for a café racer build, but when I look at James' 1980 BMW R80, I know I am mistaken. This is the bike that originally got James hooked on building and riding old motorcycles, and it shows what can be done with a modest amount of effort, a lot of inspiration and a beefy BMW boxer.

South Garage - Kimera Sportster Cafe Racer

It's been some time since I featured a custom build from Italy's South Garage. That doesn't mean that Enzo and the boys have been sitting around twiddling their thumbs though. Their website currently showcases over 30 original South Garage custom builds that are enough to make any motorcycle lover weak in the knees. Although European and British made motorcycles tend to be their preferred subject matter, South Garage have ventured into relatively new waters with their latest Harley Davidson based build.

Oil In Our Veins - Sameiro's Bol D'Or Tomahawk

With a lineage of auto enthusiasts that includes one of Portugal's first F1 drivers, brothers Manolo and João Sameiro were predestined to become engine lovers. In 2013 they opened the doors to their 'Sameiro's Motors' workshop in Viana do Castelo, determined to influence the cafe racer and tracker scene with their own approach to motorcycle customisation. Three years on the brothers have amassed an impressive portfolio of custom motorcycles and have begun to develop a distinct style of their own. Their latest creation, which started out as a decrepit '79 Honda Bol D'Or, is the perfect representation of their highly functional approach to bike building. Blending modern tech with old school grunt and finished with minimal fuss this is their S3 Tomahawk.

Paula Dean - Honda CB550 Cafe Racer

"I have zero history with motorcycles. My husband Tanner used to race dirt bikes and has owned several road bikes. We were high school sweethearts, but because we went to different colleges I didn't spend a lot of time on his bikes with him. One night over dinner, my husband and our good friend Tyson started talking about how I needed to learn to ride. At first I wasn't all that interested, but after a few months of lessons, I started riding a scooter with the boys. It wasn't long before I was learning to ride a motorcycle and after getting my license Tanner gave my first bike for Valentine's Day. It was a stock Honda CL350 in great original condition that was just too cool to cut up. Being my first motorcycle ever, I was rather partial to keeping it how it was. However, two of my close buddies owned custom café racers and I loved the look of their bikes. Tyson had already custom built his own CB750 cafe racer with help from Tanner. He was itching to build another and I had my heart set on owning one, so after finding a complete piece of junk CB550 donor our personal project began.

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