Welcome to Cafe Racer Design! We focus sole' on showcasing the design of Cafe Racer Motorcycles. Cafe Racer is a term used for a type of motorcycle and the cyclists who ride them!
A cafe racer, originally pronounced "kaff racer", is a term used for a type of motorcycle, as well as the motorcyclists who ride them. Both meanings have their roots in the 1960s British Rocker or Ton-up boy subculture, although the type of motorcycles were also common in Italy, France and other European countries. The term, which originally arose as an insult from motorcycle enthusiasts towards riders who they thought were playing at being a road racer but merely parked outside cafes, refers to a style of motorcycles that were and are used for fast rides from one transport caff or coffee bar to another.
The cafe racer is a motorcycle that has been modified for speed and handling rather than comfort. cafe racers' bodywork and control layout typically mimicked the style of contemporary Grand Prix roadracers featuring an elongated fuel tank, often with dents to allow the riders knees to grip the tank, low slung racing handlebars, and a single, rearwardly mounted, humped seat.
One signature trait were low, narrow handlebars that allowed the rider to "tuck in" to reduce wind resistance and offered better control when in that posture. These are referred to as either "clip-ons" (two-piece bars that bolt directly to each fork tube) or "clubmans" or "ace bars" (one piece bars that attach to the stock mounting location but drop down and forward). The ergonomics resulting from low bars and the rearward seat often required "rearsets", or rear-set footrests and foot controls, again typical of racing motorcycles of the era. Distinctive half or full race-style fairings were sometimes mounted to the forks or frame.
The bikes had a raw, utilitarian and stripped-down appearance while the engines were tuned for maximum speed. These motorcycles were lean, light and handled road surfaces well. The most defining machine of its heyday was the homemade Norton Featherbed framed and Triumph Bonneville engined machine called "The Triton". It used the most common and fastest racing engine combined with the best handling frame of its day, the Featherbed frame by Norton Motorcycles. Those with less money could opt for a "Tribsa" - the Triumph engine in a BSA frame. Other combinations existed such as "Norvins", a Vincent V-Twin engine in a Featherbed frame and racing frames by Rickman or Seeley were also adopted for road use.
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