The First Factory Cafe Racer?
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The First Factory Cafe Racer?

This is a discussion on The First Factory Cafe Racer? within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Hello all Great that I've found this site at last - I've been interested in Cafe Racers since I was a nipper. Hot a question ...

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  1. #1
    Junior Member Triang's Avatar
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    The First Factory Cafe Racer?

    Hello all
    Great that I've found this site at last - I've been interested in Cafe Racers since I was a nipper.
    Hot a question that you can help me settle as my first post...

    Wikipedia gives an example of one of the first factory cafe racer as the Harley Davidson XLCR of 1979... surely not?

    If I remember the Moto Guzzi 750 S (what a beautiful bike, I had so many dreams about that when I was 16 ) came out in 1973 or 1974 - a good 5 years before the Harley - It had real clip ons , bumstop seat, rearsets and go faster stripes - surely the first factory CR???

    Can you think of an earlier one?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Luckypabst's Avatar
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    64-65 BSA Lightning Clubman?

    Chris

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    Senior Member Hoofhearted's Avatar
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    I suppose it could be argued that the BSA Gold Star was a factory cafe. Royal Enfield produced the Continental GT 250 in the mid 60s that had all the cafe requisites.
    Don\'t cry because its over. Smile because it happened

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    Senior Member Bret's Avatar
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    Early 60's Ducati Mach 1
    Late 60's Seeley Condor
    Late 60's Munch Mammoth
    Early 70's MV Augusta 350
    Mid 70's MV Augusta 750S
    to name just a few......
    [email protected] from the Past

  6. #5
    Senior Member Pluto's Avatar
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    Perhaps the wikki article should be ammended to first AMERICAN factory cafe racer. And welcome Triang.

    Cool! ---RIP

  7. #6
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Well the Harley shares the distinction of being the first and one of only two bikes to ever be officially called a cafe racer as part of its name by the manufacturer. The only other one is the guzzi v7 cafe racer that came out a couple of years ago.

    You don't believe everything you read on the Internet, do you?

    The problem is how do you define cafe racer? As per the original definition which is an insult? As per the modern hipster definition which is all style and no substance?

    Although I am sure it is not the first, the Vincent black shadow certainly qualifies since it was the general sporting model between the black lightning race bike and the pedestrian rapide. But you could say it was predated by the 1934 Indian sport scout. And that predated by the brough superior ss100....and so on and so on.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member busapilot's Avatar
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    Almost as bad as trying to define the first "crotch rocket."
    [1985 Suzuki GSX750R or 1985 Gamma?]
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  9. #8
    Junior Member Triang's Avatar
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    Whoa...you blokes are way ahead of me - and I was only thinking of the 1970's. Of course the RE Continental - completely forgotten about that which is blindingly obvious now you mention it - as for the others I haven't even heard of the Italian exotica you mentioned (shame on me) .... Indian Scout? Bough Superior SS100...that would make Lawrence of Arabia a Ton-Up boy...which in reality I guess he was

  10. #9
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by busapilot View Post
    Almost as bad as trying to define the first "crotch rocket."
    [1985 Suzuki GSX750R or 1985 Gamma?]
    maybe. crotch rocket is basically a catch all term people use to describe anything that loosly falls into the sport bike category. It isn't a genre like dual sport, crusier, race bike, sport bike, chopper, etc.....despite use of the term among motorcyclists, most people I find who use it aren't motorcyclists and it is used with a slightly deragatory connotation. Crotch rocket is basically a synonym for sport bike and sport bikes are pretty clearly defined - any post 1984 high performance motorcycle. I know that kinda includes some grey area bikes like the vfr800 and the later katanas which are technically classified as sport tourers and it is unclear whethere sport tourer is its own thing or a subset of sport bikes.

    I will gladly admit this labeling thing has gotten out of hand in the bike world. Blame it on basic principles of marketing and the merchants' desire to specifically target a certain demographic. I mean when you have to invent a classification just for the basic motorcycle (standard) things are just too out there. And just as it giveth, it taketh away - a chopper used to refer to any custom motorcycle, for sport or show, not it has a specific look, with a specific culture, and the rider has a specific look, etc....

    so where does that leave us - be wary of anybody trying to give something definition (if you don't know to be wary of anything I write on this site or say in real life - then you really aren't paying attention). Who cares if something is the first "factory cafe racer"? does it really matter? what changes about the hobby for you just knowing that one little bit of information? All that is important is that you are having fun and not taking it so seriously.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triang View Post
    Whoa...you blokes are way ahead of me - and I was only thinking of the 1970's. Of course the RE Continental - completely forgotten about that which is blindingly obvious now you mention it - as for the others I haven't even heard of the Italian exotica you mentioned (shame on me) .... Indian Scout? Bough Superior SS100...that would make Lawrence of Arabia a Ton-Up boy...which in reality I guess he was
    of course you were, because you have no idea what you are talking about.

    You are english so I will give you a marginal pass on use of the word ton and the phrase "ton up boy" since it actually applies to the land and the people and the culture you are from. If you were american you would be mocked mercesily. Ton up boys may have existed for a breif period in english history, but it wasn't the sum total representation of vintage performance motorcycling (what cafe racers really should be called). We know where it ends - the whole shebang came to a gradual but fast end in the period between 1985 and 1991, which means in that time the genre expirenced many different changes and iterations and cultures. To think that "cafe racers" are limited to the era of rockers and rent boys is like thinking orange marmalade is the sum total representation of all jams everywhere.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

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