Cafe Racers have really taken off in recent years, although the style of bike has been around for decades. Cafe Racers were originally bikes that were tripped down and customized to mimic the look and the feel of popular Grand Prix racers of the time. Today these great-looking bikes are making a comeback as riders look for used bikes to restore. If you’ve ever thought about customizing your own bike, you should use these tips from BBV to build a Cafe Racer.
Buy a Used Motorcycle as a Donor
While you can always go out and buy a pre-built Cafe Racer, a lot of the fun comes from buying a used bike and stripping it down yourself. This is one of those projects that really looks better DIY and you can wear it like a badge of honor when you want to brag about how you built it yourself. That’s pretty punk if you ask me.
Ideally, you want to find an old Honda CB, Yamaha XS, SR, Virago, or Kawasaki W800. While there are a bunch of bikes that you can use for the base of your Cafe Racer, these are the most commonly used bikes.
Identify Any Major Issues – and Costs
As with any used motorcycle that you purchase, there are sure to be some issues that you will need to get replaced. This is especially true if you are purchasing a used bike that is 20, 30, 40 years old. It’s a good idea to get your newly purchased bike checked out by a knowledgeable mechanic to ensure that you don’t run into costly and unforeseen expenses.
Strip the Bike Down To the Basics
What makes a Cafe Racer a Cafe Racer comes down to 4 main things: a solo seat, low handlebars, a sports exhaust, and weight reduction. Just about everything else can go. Strip your doner bike down to the basics by removing the seat, taking the handlebars off, removing the fenders, and windshield, etc. These bikes are built for speed and simplicity so you don’t need all of the extras. This is of course where personal taste comes into place because you can decide what looks good for you and what features you want to keep on your bike.
Replace the Necessities
If you bought an older bike, then the odds are that you will need to replace the tires, brake lines, lights, handlebars, and so on so that your bike runs well. This is relatively inexpensive if you do the replacements and service yourself. If you are less experienced with the mechanics of building a motorcycle you can always take it into a motorcycle dealership and service shop and have them do it right.
Focus on These Elements of a Cafe Racer
There are a lot of places that you can take the customization of a Cafe Racer. The basics of a Cafe Racer are the solo-seat, low clip-on handlebars, a sporty exhaust, ultimately weight reduction to unlock some horsepower. Focus on these essentials when you build your Cafe Racer.