So what is cafe racer style? – motorcycle folklore would have it that a café racers were born in the late 1950’s, and were a peculiarly British concept. Rock and Roll loving Teddy Boys, followed later by the Rockers of the 1960’s converted their roadster style bikes into loose replicas of the motorcycles ridden by contemporary racing heroes such as Hailwood, Surtees and Minter and combined with what was then a thriving coffee bar culture, would often (illegally!) race between café’s on their modified bikes.
Usually sporting clip on style handlebars, rearset footrests and controls, aluminium fuel tanks and mudguards, plus straight through exhaust pipes that often sailed perilously close to legality, popular bikes including BSA, Triumph, Norton and even more exotic machines such as Vincents were fair game when it came to café racer conversions. Though the style had largely faded away by the seventies, the scene is once again flourishing among retro and classic motorcycle fans and several major manufacturers offer café racer models in their range.