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500cc and under; spoke wheels; drum brakes; drag bars; single/twin; kickstart?; good frame; "proper tank"----vs----what everyone calls a "cafe racer" on Craigslist------phrase is getting thrown around alot----what defines a cafe bike to this community?
 

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I think a cafe racer in the true original spirit of the term is any street bike modified to perform better by using available aftermarket performance parts most commonly copied from race bikes of the era. Strip the bike to bare legal essentials, and hopefully make it go, stop and handle better than it left the factory.


The original cafe racers were no doubt temperamental machines being tuned to many different carbs and exhausts and uncomfortable to ride for lengthy periods with racer style seats.

Now it's a style where form seems to be more important than function and the bikes are no doubt temperamental machines being tuned to many different carbs and exhausts and uncomfortable to ride for lengthy periods with racer style seats.

Put more simply, a bike on which your arse can only sustain riding from the cafe you're at then around the block to the same cafe all in the time a LP spins a tune, hence the term cafe racer, I think, wasn't there only read about it.

Were street fighters the next evolution?
 

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I used to be a cafe bum in Hawaii and California but it is part of the culture there. I was riding GSXR 750s and 600s though so I don't know if I could call myself a cafe racer per say.


At Home!

View attachment 80121
 

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Gaggia is not over priced but is good rich flavor, I have been working through some other Swiss Coffee Maromas. Price is about $5.00 per 16oz. store size bags are about 12oz. and $6.00 + so not poorly priced and you can pick any kind of flavor you want.


Great place for cafe bits: https://www.wholelattelove.com/
 

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the word racer implies racetrack. call me old but i always defined cafe racer as the moto gp 2 strokes from the 60s and 70s(there were 4 strokes too but they werent putting out the performance power to weight ratio) .pretty much.....not street legal. i do believe the name was replaced by sport bike when they became predominately 4 stroke and street legal. here in the sf bay area guys are getting old beaters(yamaha virago for example) putting clubmans on,spray painting it black and shaving down the old rotted seat and stapling a piece of vinyl on and calling it a cafe racer. a bike thats only worth $1000(if that) is then listed on craigslist for $6000 or more with the title "cafe racer" .......yeah riiiiiiiight!!!!! youre not going to win any races on it, thats for sure. but occasionally you will see a guy that took a 92 gsxr1100 and did a beautiful job of one off cafe styling and ask $7000(clearly a good price for his machine)......his listing says "cafe style"
 

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... Put more simply, a bike on which your arse can only sustain riding from the cafe you're at then around the block to the same cafe all in the time a LP spins a tune, hence the term cafe racer, I think, wasn't there only read about it...
Maybe if you were a really slow rider! :rolleyes:
Vast majority of Jukeboxes in that era played 45's LP = (Long Play) records spin at 33.5 rpm and have multiple tracks, 45's typically had only one hit song per side and a great big hole in the middle. You're going to need to ride much, much faster and we won't be waiting as long for you to get back!
 

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Maybe if you were a really slow rider! :rolleyes:
Vast majority of Jukeboxes in that era played 45's LP = (Long Play) records spin at 33.5 rpm and have multiple tracks, 45's typically had only one hit song per side and a great big hole in the middle. You're going to need to ride much, much faster and we won't be waiting as long for you to get back!
It's all bullshit anyway. Yeah sure, maybe someone did it somewhere once and gave birth to the legend, but the way those that sell culture make it sound is like this was a regular thing - bullshit.

OP:
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.
 

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the word racer implies racetrack
To me, the word "cafe" negates that. It indicates a bike that might get raced, but not primarily on the track. If the bit about the English version of a "cafe" actually being more of a truck stop ("transport cafe") is true it also implies to me that they should be capable of pulling decent highway miles. In England you might make a viable argument that a smallish bike that can (barely) "do the ton" is an option for inter-city travel, but I think the American version would justifiably be a bit bigger and heavier to allow equivalent use.
 

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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.
 

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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...
 

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To me, the word "cafe" negates that. It indicates a bike that might get raced, but not primarily on the track. If the bit about the English version of a "cafe" actually being more of a truck stop ("transport cafe") is true it also implies to me that they should be capable of pulling decent highway miles. In England you might make a viable argument that a smallish bike that can (barely) "do the ton" is an option for inter-city travel, but I think the American version would justifiably be a bit bigger and heavier to allow equivalent use.
You should read up on 'Rockers vs Mods' you might find it to be a mildly interesting piece of Brit history.
 

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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.
 
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