Wednesday, 12 March 2014

 So you want a Café Racer?

So if you want a Café bike, well there’s a few ways to go about it. Either you buy one of the ready-made options like the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer available from the manufacturer, get a specialty shop to make your dream a reality or build your own. Building your own Café Racer is definitely no easy task. It’ll require a donor bike in order to get it done and one shouldn’t expect any shortage of obstacles and customizing work to make it happen.  When you choose to own a custom Café Racer, it’s a choice and labor of love. Purist of the Motorcycle world claims that there’s nothing better than the sound of music from your garage.  

One distinctive trait of Café Racers is the rear seat style. The seat style is typically has some sort of hump at the end or rear. The handlebars will also be streamlined either with a flat bar, Clubman’s or clip-ons. Classic style Café bikes typically have indentations in their gas tanks in order to allow riders to tuck their legs in for maximum aerodynamics to get to their favorite coffee shop. The rear near vertical shock is also one of the trademarks of a Café Racer.  You may notice other details that are modified like analog gauges, bar end mirrors, custom paint job, and spoke wheels. A big part of owning a Café Racer is the lifestyle! Many enthusiasts enjoy looking the part as well with the helmet, goggles, gloves, boots and the most important… the classic leather jacket to complete the look!!! 
Picking out the right donor bike for your Café Racer build is lot like signing up for a liver transplant. Much of the details need to match up and you need to ensure compatibility. Of course you’ll want to identify your needs first. Do you want a large displacement motor? Are you looking for the best handling bike? Are you on a big budget? With a little creativeness almost any bike can be a donor. However, certain bikes will make it more difficult and require a lot more fabrication work than others. The chassis should be accommodating for the handle bars and seat. Here we made a list of 3 of the most popular bikes to use for your café racer build.  

1.       Honda CB 350/400/550/750 – Starting more than 30 years ago, Honda CB series of motorcycles were introduced onto the market and known for their great performance, superb handling, and Honda reliability. There are many different variations of the Honda CB, from the 350 twins to 750 superbikes. All of them are regarded very highly and easy to find in the second hand motorcycle market. This is the most popular chassis to convert.

2.       Kawasaki W400/650/800– The Kawasaki W series is a much more modern bike compared to the Honda CB series. It has a modern engine and huge following of enthusiast who modify it. This is why it is number two on our list. The availability of aftermarket parts and support is great for those looking to build a café racer.

3.       Yamaha SR400/500– Also popular choices to use as a basis for café racers. The Yamaha has been around for a long time, their reliability and engines have been proven over time.  These bikes have many different configurations available and are popular for those looking to customize so don’t hesitate to pick one of these up.

 4.  Whatever you think is Cool!!!

Cheers, Rob

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