If you have ever been to a vintage bike show or swap meet, you might have noticed bike enthusiasts riding classic café style motorcycles. A café style motorcycle can be identified by its speed and its craftsmanship for handling, such as having lower handlebars, rearsets, as well as a seat made specifically for one rider. These motorcycles are typically stripped of most of their parts, and are lightweight. There are many reasons why these café styled bikes are increasing in popularity amongst motorcycle enthusiasts.
First, these cycles are sleek in appearance, in addition to being easily customizable. If you have a few standard tools, you can begin turning your motorcycle into a café racer. To begin this transformation, start by changing out the seat. Then, put some rearsets on, and add some lower handlebars and you have yourself a custom café bike. While this method might be the quick and easy version of customizing your bike, for many cyclists this is all it takes to make their bike into a machine that is truly unique. Other cyclists take additional steps, and fabricate the frame, the swingarm, and the tank, making their bike into a more advanced version of its original form. Additionally, some cyclists like to upgrade suspension, bearings, lights, and the like to enhance the look and feel for the bike.
Another reason for the increase in popularity of café styled bikes, is cost. Many people purchase motorcycles on a budget. These motorcycles tend to have a substantial amount of rust, missing parts, and other superficial and mechanical challenges. Instead of completely restoring these types of bikes, many would rather put their own personal touch on the bike. These types of motorcycles are the perfect canvas for turning a bike into a personalized one-of-a-kind café racer.
Now, it is important to note that not every old motorcycle looks good “café-d” out. This is one of the most common misconceptions in the world of café motorcycles. Many believe that any old bike can be transformed into a café motorcycle. This is a false assumption. There are numerous vintage motorcycles that do not make proper café racers. Some prime examples of this would be bikes, such as, the Suzuki Gs 750, Suzuki Katana, and the Kawasaki kz line of bikes. These bikes are structurally bulkier in the front of the bike, and are not as aesthetically pleasing when made into a café racer.
Bikes such as the Yamaha rd350, 400, xs650, and the line of Honda cb motorcycles, such as, the cb200,cb350, and cb750 are definitely appropriate bikes to transform into café racers. Many people choose these bikes to work with because they are less bulky and have straighter lines.
As a warning, before you buy your next project café bike, remember that you want to buy a bike that is already modified to the café look. This will save you money and time. You won't have to cut up the frame as much, and can focus on the performance modifications instead of the flow of the bike.