Return of the Cafe Racers - What is a Café Racer?

What is a Café Racer?

According to Wikipedia ” A Cafe racer, pronounced “Kaff ” racer, is a type of motorcycle as well as a type of motorcyclist and have their roots in the 1960s British group the Rockers or Ton-up Boys. Rockers were a young and rebellious Rock’n’Roll counterculture that wanted a fast, personalized and distinctive bike to travel between transport cafés along the newly built arterial motorways in and around British towns and cities. The goal of many was to be able to reach 100 miles per hour or the ton.”




The term ‘Café Racer’ is used pretty loosely these days. While transplanting engines into different frames isn’t a common practice anymore the basic goal remains the same. Strip the motorcycle of unnecessary parts, increase the engine’s power and upgrade the bikes handling. 

When café racers were being built in the fifties achieving the highest speed was valued more than comfort. As a result, bikes were fit with single seats and low slung handlebars such clip-ons mounted directly to the front forks. Other common design features were distinctive half or full race style fairings, hand-made aluminum gas tanks that were usually left unpainted, swept back exhausts and rearset footpegs to give better clearance when leaning through corners at speed.


Café Racers are built to be lean, lightweight and to handle road surfaces well.

triumph thruxton cafe racer

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