Cafe Racers,,,,WTF??

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by Steve G., Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

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    So, I originally welcomed the new 'cafe racer' fad with much relief. Yes, relief that is was a signal that the chopper fad was crawling back under it's rock where it belongs. But as we all see this fad develop, with magazines comminted to this new thing, I've come to the realization that I'm now done with it.
    I'm done with the hacksawed and asbestos wrapped exhaust. I'm done with the cheap clips ons, the cheesy upholstered bumpstop seats. No fenders.
    What I'm most pissed about is the stupid prices they're asking for these clatter traps. Guys taking perfectly nice looking 400-4 SS Hondas and doing their own version of a cafe, then asking double what a 400-4 is worth. Guys selling 1/2 finished cafe's of 78 Honda 750's for 5K+!!! And getting it!!!

    Rant over.
    #1
  2. ViperJustin

    ViperJustin Retired HH60G Gunner

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    I agree with you. But I don't think the chopper thing is completely done. Every other Harley here has 18" ape hangers and they all look like douche bags.
    #2
  3. Cowboy Don

    Cowboy Don n00b

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    When I think of all the Honda CB's (350, 500, 550 & 750) I mildly modified to suit my riding style back in the 90's, I think I was closer to true cafe racers than the modern interpretation. All I usually did was clubman or clipon bars, rearsets fabricated out of bits and pieces, some sort of modified exhaust with reverse megas, along with all unecessary weight discarded. The idea was to make them easier to get round the twisties quickly, with style as a secondary feature, which usually just happened as a by-product of what I'd already done.
    Tire choice was for function. When I see a cafe racer with Firestones I cringe, those things are terrible. As soon as you fit a set of those, you're telling the world you've built your bike for show, not go. Everyone's entitled to express themselves with their bikes, but damn, some nice bikes are being ruined in the process.

    I don't mind choppers, just not OCC theme shit or wide-ass rear tires, I like the original style, but much prefer bobbers.

    It's a shame that all these bikes are being butchered, frames being cut up etc., but what can you do. When the fad is over, there'll be some cheap bikes on the market hopefully. They'll just need a bit more work to get roadworthy again.
    #3
  4. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

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    Stock standard airheads are going to be worth a bunch in the future :deal
    #4
  5. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend Long timer

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    IMHO, taking a vintage bike and cafe'ing it is pointless. I own a '71 350 so I am a member of a board dedicated to these parallel twin bikes. I see so many people destroying these perfectly good bikes. For what?

    Back in the day, you stripped all the excess weight, and re-positioned the handlebars and footpegs for maximum tuck. This could get you the most speed out of your bike and the cafe racer was born. But there is nothing you can do to a Honda CB 350 to make it compete with a 250 ninja. You want speed? Buy a fucking sport bike -any modern sport bike - and you'll have more performance and handling then you'll every get out of an old honda.

    So what? You're doing it for the style? Cafe racers were never about style. They were about performance. Those clipons make the poor bike look sad. Like a dog with droopy ears. Most of the cheap cafe mods actually decrease the performance. I've seen people replace the stock airboxes with cheap pod filters, then actually have to jet down to get their bike to run right due to decreased airflow through the carbs.


    I agree. This cafe resurgence is pretty sad.
    #5
  6. Harry94025

    Harry94025 Been here awhile

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    I built this up in the late 70's, sold it a couple of years ago...

    http://i855.photobucket.com/albums/ab116/harry94025/pictures2029.jpg
    #6
  7. Pigford

    Pigford British

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    Cute - [​IMG]

    ......but looks 95% standard :wink:
    #7
  8. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I disagree.

    Saving every last vintage motorcycle is like designating every old building as "historical". Eventually you're going to run out of room and steel. The reality is that every bike will eventually be melted down and re-cycled; maybe in 5 years, maybe in 500. The whole point of the motorcycle is to have fun with it. Ape hangers or clip-ons; if it brings more people to motorcycling we all win from motorcycle friendly laws, more aftermarket support, etc. Sure, they charge way more than I would pay, but I don't care what they spend their money on.

    For instance: What's wrong with cutting up an 80's dual sport to create something fun?

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. Harry94025

    Harry94025 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for showing the photo; my Photobucket account was not working well... The bike had a few mods - Magura handlebars (short, with 1" rise), air forks (no springs), Muholland shocks, Dunstall rearsets, J&R 2 into 1 exhaust, K&N air filters, automotive ignition coils, SL350 rear fender and "350" stickers, Lucas tail light, removed fender struts, red lacquer paint job...

    Harry
    #9
  10. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    Just waking up from the 70's Steve? :D

    I'm with the "do what you want to with it" crowd myself.
    #10
  11. dpforth

    dpforth no inline fours

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    Nothing, as long as you don't over-brake and over-tire it :wink:
    #11
  12. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    Ummm.. you do realize that the "New Cafe Racer Fad" started in England in the 1950's...lol.
    #12
  13. KnowFear

    KnowFear Adventurer

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    Assuming this thing is meant to ride, it won't be much fun without fenders...
    #13
  14. Bigfeet428

    Bigfeet428 Adventurer

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    We're talking about the bike right?
    #14
  15. ikonoklass

    ikonoklass Kountersteering Krew

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    What kills me--as always--is the perception they've sold to the non-riding public. In Mike Seate's Cafe Racers show, I heard one builder talk about how the bike was useless at anything but race speed: "It's just gonna go fast." We're talking about bikes where the builders have managed to double the horsepower ... right into the low 50s. The reality, of course, is that you would be hard-pressed to find a modern bike with worse performance.

    Still, I prefer these bikes to anything with a Pro-Street frame ... .
    #15
  16. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

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    Depends on what it was. I know from bitter experience that a lot of really worked over Brit bikes were next to useless on anything other than a track or a deserted road. Race cams and big carbs = no idle and a power band between 5 and 7000rpm; the only way to ride them is fast, because the engines don't do slow. 55hp will get you over the ton easily, but speed is of course relative, these days...

    The amusing things is that many of the "new" cafe bikes were originally viewed as dorky basic transport items back in the day, so it's a bit like painting race stripes on your mum's runabout.
    #16
  17. Suncountry

    Suncountry Adventurer

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    When I got my CB it was missing a lot of parts, had broken rings, bent valves, cracked tank and rust. Motor # did not match frame # so no reason to try and go stock. Here is my art work. Engine is stock except for electronic ignition and filter pods. Carbs are originals with stock jetting. Runs great and fun around town bike. Does get attention too.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. killfile

    killfile 49/50

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    I've had plenty of modern bikes, and I've got a number of vintage bikes at the moment. Honestly, the modern bikes bore me. Taking my modern Triumph Speed Triple around a 35mph turn at 70mph makes me yawn. Fighting my '69 Suzuki T500 around the same corner at 50mph is thrilling and fun. That's why I labour for hours and hours to modify/improve/fix my old bikes... they are much more fun to ride

    About a month ago I went riding on my '69 Honda 350. I was riding with a Honda 919, Ducati 916, '88 BMW GS and a 2000ish BMW K1200. We took a fairly 'technical' road and the GS rider and I had to wait more than 20 minutes on the other side for the others to catch up. I still need to modify my pegs to that I don't grind them off.


    Best post I've read in a while. I couldn't agree more.
    #18
  19. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

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    For sure. That's why I emphasized the "new cafe fad".
    #19
  20. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Desmo's my dog

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    I think to most this passes as a vintage bike:

    [​IMG]

    I think to many this would be considered "cafe'ing it":

    [​IMG]

    You'd rather I would have restored the Monza Jr?


    Really?
    #20