Café Racer 2
The Café Racer
In this post-performance era, style is making a comeback. After the great shapes of the 1950s gave way to wind-tunnel tested bikes which all looked very similar, a band of subversive riders took matters into their own hands and used customising to make statements about the core values of riding.
That movement is well and truly out in the open now with an explosion of custom bikes, lifestyle events and motorcycle fashion.
Mainstream manufacturers have finally responded with a range of factory ‘customs’ which pick up contemporary styling influences. Yamaha has reintroduced the SR400 and has just released a café racer makeover on its Bolt cruiser.
Suzuki has begun importing the LS650 Boulevard (formerly Savage) and is encouraging modification of its TU250X. Royal Enfield is doing big business with its Continental GT and even BMW has responded to the trend with its retro-inspired R nineT.
The big news in the scene, though, is what individual owners are doing in the privacy of their own garages and in community workshops such as the Kustom Kommune in Melbourne and Rising Sun in Sydney.
Old, previously unloved, small-capacity Japanese bikes are providing the foundation for fabulous builds that engage all the senses, not just the need for speed.
Motorcycle Trader launched Café Racer magazine last November to capture this trend and it was an instant hit, providing inspiration for a new generation of builders and celebrating what had already been achieved.
The good news is issue two of Café Racer is on sale now – but make sure you get in early!
Issue two builds on the momentum of the first and adds more. It’s full of fresh ideas on customising with plenty of examples of the latest developments in the scene. While it’s called Café Racer, it ranges over other variations of customising including bobbers, flat-trackers and street scramblers. MT was so impressed by the first issue we called in the services of Mid Life Cycles and built a street scrambler of our own, and we’re giving it away. It would look at home on the set of Mad Max – Fury Road and Café Racer will give you chances to win it.
Highlights of issue two include a couple of red-hot Harley-Davidsons, an original XR750 and the indecently fast John Trease H-D racer which Cam Donald rode to victory (despite starting from pit lane) at this year’s International Island Classic.
There’s a mix of left-brain customs including a Honda CB400T and Suus’ BSA special along with what’s new from the factories with the Ducati Scrambler, Moto Guzzi V7 II and Triumph’s Scrambler.
Triumph Australia commissioned a salt racer for this year’s Lake Gairdner Speed Week and Café Racer has an exclusive report on the build and how it went in South Australia.
Other events covered include this year’s Throttle Roll and the 2015 Deus Bike Build-off. Along with plenty of bikes are features on custom tyres, tools and DIY maintenance.
Café Racer #2 – available now an outlet near you!