Harley Cafe Racers – a matter of Taste

Harley Davidson based Cafe Racers always receive mixed emotions. The large V-Twin engine and cruiser dimensions prove difficult to balance with the minimalist, compact Cafe style and can result in some truly ugly creations. What this means is that Harley’s tend to be overlooked as a common platform for Cafe Racer conversions which is a real shame.

In Japan however their anything goes attitude means a Harley can be transformed into pretty much any style you want. The results can still be less than desirable but in some cases have produced some truly inspiring bikes. One example of a Japanese workshop succeeding at this is TASTE Concept Motorcycles in Tokyo.

Hand formed tanks, custom made wheels and exhausts, fibreglass parts reminiscent of popular Japanese race bikes (Kawasaki Z II, Honda CB750) and a mix of parts from different models in the Harley range make up each custom build. True to the Cafe Racer ethos performance upgrades are also an essential part of each build. Stiffened front ends and gas shock rear suspension deliver the handling characteristics expected of a Cafe Racer and braking upgrades ensure the extra weight of the big Vtwins will pull up just as fast as they take off. The Cafe Racers seen here (top to bottom) are a 2001 Harley Davidson Dyna FXD, a 2003 XL1200S Sportster and a 1998 XLCR.

Love em or hate em you have to give TASTE some respect for giving it a try.