This is a discussion on cafe racer vs coffee shop art within the General FAQ's forums, part of the Caferacer FAQ's category; Originally Posted by TrialsRider Maybe if you were a really slow rider! Vast majority of Jukeboxes in that era played 45's LP = (Long Play) ...
Cafe racer = street racer the same way hot rod = street racer. Like both, the modern use is corrupted - modern "hot rods" aren't about going fast like the 1950's counterparts, same with Cafe Racer.
Honestly - stop focusing on a name and focus on why you own a bike and what you want it to do. If any part of that answer has to do with your vanity - you need to rethink your life.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
- Samuel BeckettA tool is just an opportunity with a handle
- Kevin Kelly
Back in the sixties in the UK most Cafe Racers, in the sense of racing out of the cafe and back, were stock bikes or maybe slightly modified. What the rest of us built were bikes that we modified to look like the race bikes of the time. We wanted to look like we were doing a hundred miles an hour but rarely came close. My first bike had a Villiers two stroke motor and I ported that and fitted an expansion chamber and made the bike as light as possible and fitted low bars, rear sets and a bump stop seat. So there were two lots of people selling parts - dress up parts and go faster parts.
Many riders fitted fancy gas tanks and swept back pipes and a smaller group fitted hot cams and pipes and so on and an even smaller group fitted both.
Back then, bikes were really slow and did not handle very well. On top of that, most of us in the UK didn't have a lot of spare cash. I think we all aspired to own a Triton or NorVin or something powerful that handled and on which we would look like gods.
By the time the seventies and eighties came around, bike started getting faster and eventually they also started to handled better and stop effectively. Styling also changed and the classic cafe racer look for that era faded into history like bell bottom pants.
To me a small bike in the cafe racer mold is a KTM 390. Or even a modern 300 twin. If I wanted to build a sub 500 cafe racer today, it would probably be an RD350 or 400 or SR500 single. Light and easy to ride and lots of fun.
If I were to do it over, I would build from a duke 690. Or as suggested to me, an sxv550. That would be epic.
A little heavier but way cheaper for spare parts would be trying to strip down an sv650 to it's absolute bare bones.
An interesting build for more $$$ would be FZ-09 or the new Duke 790.
Then you have ducati twins...
I read up some on the "Rockers vs Mods".. the most I took away from it is nothing much has changed. Here in the states during those years it was the "Freaks" vs the "Red Necks". Apparently, back then, the English Media was fanning the flames with "Fake News" just as the Globalized Media does still today.