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Harley Davidson Cafe Racers

American manufacturer Harley Davidson was formed in 1903 when childhood friends William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson began building their first motorcycle. Surviving 2 world wars and great depression Harley has grown to become one of the world's most recognized motorcycle brands. Although these days many don't consider Harleys as race machines the aptly named Sporsters were developed with racing in mind and for a period were the brand of choice for flat track racers. Harleys have always been associated with customization, most notably in the chopper scene. Although a Harley Davidson cafe racer conversion is a challenging undertaking there's no shortage of aftermarket parts available to help get it done.
Return of the Cafe Racers - Top 5 modern motorcycles to customise

Top 5 modern motorcycles to customise

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when building your own Cafe Racer, or any style of custom motorcycle for that matter is selecting a donor bike. Some time ago I published a story on this same topic that covered older motorcycles . Today I thought I’d take a look at some modern alternatives…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Viking Funeral – Busch and Busch Harley Ironhead

Viking Funeral – Busch and Busch Harley Ironhead

From sleek streamlined land speed racers to alloy bodied enduro bikes the Busch and Busch brothers sure know how to massage metal. Their latest Harley Davidson based build has been a testing one with the bike’s engine still not completely dialled in, but it’s exterior is a work of art. Coined the…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Godless – Ask Motorcycles Buell XB

Godless – Ask Motorcycles Buell XB

This story first appeared in Tank Moto issue 12. This isn’t the first time we’ve featured a build by Japan’s Ask Motorcycles. After meeting workshop owner Rad Yamamoto at the Mooneyes Yokohama Hot Rod Show in 2012 we struck up a friendship. Then in 2014, I arranged to have his beautiful ’61…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Twisted Twin – Stile Italiano Harton CR1200

Twisted Twin – Stile Italiano Harton CR1200

It may not be identical to its Italian brother, but the second “Twisted Twin” from Stile Italiano is just as appealing. The ‘Harton CR1200’ uses a traditional cafe racer design approach. A beefy engine transplanted into a top performing frame. It is a motorcycle built to perform as well as it looks. Nicknamed…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - XLCR Reborn – Jamesville Shovelhead Cafe Racer

XLCR Reborn – Jamesville Shovelhead Cafe Racer

Back in 1977, Harley Davidson unveiled their American cafe racer, the XLCR Sportster. On paper and in the flesh the bike was certainly appealing. It was draped in black, had a unique siamese exhaust system, was powered by a torquey 997cc v-twin and wore bodywork, unlike any other Harley. Unfortunately, the press…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - South Garage – Kimera Sportster Cafe Racer

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…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Ardent Featherbed – Harley Sportster Cafe Racer

Ardent Featherbed – Harley Sportster Cafe Racer

As any artist will tell you, composition is everything. Over his 30 year career as an artist, Curtis Miller has fashioned custom furniture, worked as an animator and had his paintings and photographs sold in galleries. Now at 59 years young he’s begun applying his skills to custom motorcycle building and as…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Say hello to Tony Montana – Harley 883 Cafe Racer

Say hello to Tony Montana – Harley 883 Cafe Racer

It seems to have become customary for motorcycle manufacturers to leverage the hype surrounding the custom scene to release their newest models. Yamaha and BMW started the trend a few years ago followed closely by Ducati, and Harley Davidson even jumped on the bandwagon with their ‘Battle of the Kings’ build off.…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Zonnevlek Harley-Davidson Street 750

Zonnevlek Harley-Davidson Street 750

During my visit to Japan with Harley-Davidson late last year, we were introduced to 5 Japanese builders whose workshops had been invited to each customise one of the new H-D Street 750’s. The project was coined the “Street Build Off” and the 5 workshops involved included Cherry’s Company, Asterisk, Duas Caras Cycles,…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - How to kill a cat at Glemseck 101

How to kill a cat at Glemseck 101

There’s an intriguing rivalry about to take place at Glemseck 101 on September 6. Thanks to its success in previous years the Lucky Cat Garage​ Sprintbeemer has become the bike to beat during the events 1/8th mile sprint races. Séb Lorentz of Lucky Cat Garage has remained unbeaten since his bike first…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - The Slate Hammer – Rough Crafts Harley Cafe Racer

The Slate Hammer – Rough Crafts Harley Cafe Racer

Over the past few years Taiwanese workshop Rough Crafts have achieved amazing things in the world of custom motorcycles. Their dedication to American marque Harley Davidson is evident through their HD dominated build portfolio and their range of Rough Craft ‘Hard Parts’ (custom parts and accessories) for late model Harleys is ever…

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