Anyone like "Cafe Racer" style bikes? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone like "Cafe Racer" style bikes?

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 05:30 PM
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 05:44 PM
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are you looking to buy one?

I have this http://youtu.be/gKeAeeDOs3c for sale in philadelphia... $1000

let me know, i can ride it to you to check it out.

1997 KLR 650
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 03:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAMF View Post
are you looking to buy one?

I have this http://youtu.be/gKeAeeDOs3c for sale in philadelphia... $1000

let me know, i can ride it to you to check it out.
am I missing soemthing?
what part of that bike did you think was a cafe racer?
its not that often I'd regard wikipedia as relaibel, but I'd agree with their definition
in terms of modern (new) bikes
http://www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk/...ssics/thruxton
http://www.nortonmotorcycles.com/
Im sure there's plenty of other examples, withou thaving to go to the likes of Mecatwin
http://www.mecatwin.com/en/motos/tri...cket/index.htm
However the true spirit of the cafe racer was a bike modified by the owner, not bought in.

cafe racers were stripped down single seat rocket ships. the ethos used to be how fast you you go up and down a piece of road near a cafe. IIRC evolved from the Ace Cafe and the 'ton up boys'
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 06:39 AM
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 07:11 AM
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Yes , but only if its this: http://www.nortonmotorcycles.com/bik...mando%20961SE/

I'd even entertain the idea of a Triumph Thruxton .

2003 BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Prep (sold)
2004 Suzuki SV650 (sold, wish I hadn't)
2009 Kawasaki Versys (commuter/dragon slayer)
Future bike: Ducati Sport 1000S (just because
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 07:19 AM
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maybe you havent been on the scene for a while but the entire market is flooded with japanese cafe racer converts. Nortons and triumphs are still considered regal and pristine but there are way more xj650 and xs650s right now hitting the road in full cafe racer mode.

How does my bike differ from a typical cafe racer?

its 30 yrs old
stripped down bike
no plastic
modified exhaust pipes with heat wrap
modified frame (reduce weight)
euro bars
bar end mirrors
just a tinge of chrome

just for you healdem, i went and found wiki's def of cafe racer:
Quote:
Typical configuration

The cafe racer is a motorcycle that has been modified for speed and good handling rather than comfort.Cafe racers' bodywork and control layout typically mimicked the style of contemporary Grand Prix roadracers, featuring an elongated fuel tank and small, rearward mounted, humped seat. A signature trait were low, narrow handlebars that allowed the rider to "tuck in" to reduce wind resistance and offered better control when in that posture. These are referred to as either "clip-ons" (two-piece bars that bolt directly to each fork tube) or "clubmans" (one piece bars that attach to the stock mounting location but drop down and forward). The ergonomics resulting from low bars and the rearward seat often required "rearsets", or rear-set footrests and foot controls, again typical of racing motorcycles of the era. Distinctive half or full race-style fairings were sometimes mounted to the forks or frame.
The bikes had a raw, utilitarian and stripped-down appearance while the engines were tuned for maximum speed. These motorcycles were lean, light and handled road surfaces well.
The most defining machine of its heyday was the homemade Norton Featherbed framed and Triumph Bonneville engined machine called "The Triton". It used the most common and fastest racing engine combined with the best handling frame of its day, the Featherbed frame by Norton Motorcycles. Those with less money could opt for a "Tribsa" - the Triumph engine in a BSA frame.
for reference you can check out these sites and count how many non brit bikes you see, then get back to me about my bike not being a cafe racer ONLY because of its origin.
I agree, you should not rely on wiki's definition of cafe racer. You should go to a cafe racer meetup somewhere in your area and take a look at what people are riding. I guarantee you it wont all be brit bikes.
I have ridden that bike 25k miles in the last couple years, to work and bike and on cafe racer meetups. Not one single person has made that comment to me about it not qualifying of being a cafe racer.

So i respectfully decline your comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by healdem View Post
am I missing soemthing?
what part of that bike did you think was a cafe racer?
its not that often I'd regard wikipedia as relaibel, but I'd agree with their definition
in terms of modern (new) bikes
http://www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk/...ssics/thruxton
http://www.nortonmotorcycles.com/
Im sure there's plenty of other examples, withou thaving to go to the likes of Mecatwin
http://www.mecatwin.com/en/motos/tri...cket/index.htm
However the true spirit of the cafe racer was a bike modified by the owner, not bought in.

cafe racers were stripped down single seat rocket ships. the ethos used to be how fast you you go up and down a piece of road near a cafe. IIRC evolved from the Ace Cafe and the 'ton up boys'

1997 KLR 650
2011 Halle-friggin-leuya Versys
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 08:46 AM
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BAMF, if i was looking to buy a cafe racer i would never consider your bike. Now, if i was looking to buy a cruiser then yes. Your bike is 70% cruiser 30% UJM (and not too many UJM's are cafe racers) so even if you flipped those handle bars over your bike would only be like 1-5% cafe racer. A cafe racer needs a flat tank not one sloping downwards from bars to seat. Do a quick google images search and you will see. Even the UJM conversions have flat tanks. I have seen a sportster conversion that is more cafe racer like than yours.

http://www.bikerzbay.com/index.php/n...afe-racer.html

Sorry
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 09:16 AM
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to each his own

1997 KLR 650
2011 Halle-friggin-leuya Versys
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by BAMF View Post
to each his own
Personally I like the XJ650, but like you said the cafe racer market is flooded with Japanese bikes, sooo my personal preference is the Norton Commando and the Triumph Thruxton. What can I say? I gotta stand out a little...

That XJ looks good. Why do you have it listed as on it's last leg?

2003 BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Prep (sold)
2004 Suzuki SV650 (sold, wish I hadn't)
2009 Kawasaki Versys (commuter/dragon slayer)
Future bike: Ducati Sport 1000S (just because
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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by eparker202 View Post
BAMF, if i was looking to buy a cafe racer i would never consider your bike. Now, if i was looking to buy a cruiser then yes. Your bike is 70% cruiser 30% UJM (and not too many UJM's are cafe racers) so even if you flipped those handle bars over your bike would only be like 1-5% cafe racer. A cafe racer needs a flat tank not one sloping downwards from bars to seat. Do a quick google images search and you will see. Even the UJM conversions have flat tanks. I have seen a sportster conversion that is more cafe racer like than yours.

http://www.bikerzbay.com/index.php/n...afe-racer.html

Sorry
I have to admit you do see more cafe racers with the "flat" tank vs the sloped cruiser style tank, but I still wouldn't rule out an XJ650 as having potential to be a great cafe racer. I've even seen some really sweet Suzuki Intruder conversions that I just couldn't believe were possible. All this talk makes me want to ride down to the Timewarp Tea Room (Knoxville's motorcycle coffee shop) to look at the cafe racers this week...

2003 BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Prep (sold)
2004 Suzuki SV650 (sold, wish I hadn't)
2009 Kawasaki Versys (commuter/dragon slayer)
Future bike: Ducati Sport 1000S (just because
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by KnoxvegasMike View Post
Personally I like the XJ650, but like you said the cafe racer market is flooded with Japanese bikes, sooo my personal preference is the Norton Commando and the Triumph Thruxton. What can I say? I gotta stand out a little...

That XJ looks good. Why do you have it listed as on it's last leg?
mainly just as a joke, i ride 11 months out of the year, so trying to get a 30 yr old bike to start up in below freezing weather is challenging at best. I should probably remove that but I plan on selling it to a friend or a fellow rider that I can sit down with and share its history and faults so they can be as familiar with it as I am.

I dont think any of these guys know anything about cafe racers. You dont BUY a cafe racer. You BUILD a cafe racer.
That whole genre is not concerned with brand names like some snooty b!tch with clothing designers, they are much more interested in what you can turn the bike into and what style you can give it. Mine has just about everything modified and can outrun a corvette z06 up to 60-70 mph. You just cant explain it to someone who buys things off a shelf, what its like to make something with your own hands and give it your own style. And NO, i am not talking about bolting on side case carriers lol.

mine has Harley sportster mufflers welded on with baffles
wrapped headers
fresh set of mikuni carbs (cleaned and vac synced)
2 seats (1 normal, 1 custom)
new front and rear shocks both are adjustable (front is air with anti dive, rear is typical coil with preload)
clubman/euro bars with bar end mirrors
H4 headlight conversion
and tons of other stuff that no one else but a motorcycle fabricator/builder would appreciate

If you are interested Knox, I dont mind riding it to you and letting you take it out for a spin. Its an excellent bike, it just doesnt fit into my daily commuter motorcycle needs anymore.

1997 KLR 650
2011 Halle-friggin-leuya Versys
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Last edited by BAMF; 05-11-2011 at 10:22 AM.
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 11:00 AM
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to each their own

Ive never said, never would say that the original bike 'has' to be British, given the demise of the British bike industry until relatively recently almost by definition there are going to be relatively few British donor bikes. those older bikes somewhat bizzarely gained 'classic' status. indeed the cafe racer 'scene' encompassed most of Europe not just the UK. The US went down the 'chopper' route Europe went down the 'cafe racer' route. I guess largely reflecting the differences in available machinery.

given that the British bike industry int eh 50's & 60's was the dominant, albeit waning force its hardly surprising that British bikes would tend to be in the fore, and given that Im UK based my frame of reference is UK centred as well.

the examples of new bikes I'd picked happened to be British or British inspired. if you look at the Mecatwin site the Harley they do is styled as a cafe racer.

my understanding of a cafe racer is a single seat, low narrow seat (ie bloody uncomfortable), swept back bubble fairing, clip ons.. the originators were all about the bragging rights of who went fastest, all pretending they were the successfull racer of thier day, much like the current generation of sportsbike riders who know they are better than Rossi or whoever if only they would be discovered by some racing team.

looking at most of the images you sites you link to seemingly the defining visuals are the single, plank like seat, most with bubble canopies apeing the racer bikes of the 50'6 & 60's, almost flat upper torso riding position. none of which your bike has.

to me, and I'm quite prepared to admit it is my, perception your bike isn't and never will be a cafe racer. its an old bike but thats about as far as it goes. yes you've made changes but the changesmade don't make it into a cafe racer. but I'm perfectly happy to admit that the style may have changed over time, or like in so many other areas of life some opportunist marketeer has seized on a name or style from the past, bodged it, repackaged it and pretends it the same as years ago.

As Mecatwin state HD made a fair attempt at a factory racer with their XCLR, but to me the 'real' cafe racers are the ones created by individuals in their sheds. a factory cafe racer is about as authentic as those people who by ready made choppers from OCC or whoever, or likewise buy a ready made hot rod. if it doesnt' have soem of your sweat and blood smeared somewhere then to me it ain't really authentic to the original. equally its like VW relaunching the VW Beetle, BMW the Mini, Fiat the 500 (at least they made the attempt to make their product look (sort of) like the original). yours fails on that account.

but if it makes you feel happier then call it a cafe racer, ride what brings you pleasure, but don't actually believe its a CR, 'cos it sure as hell aint.
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 11:11 AM
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lucky for me and everyone else on two wheels, you are not the cool police and your word is only that, your opinion

g'day mate


1997 KLR 650
2011 Halle-friggin-leuya Versys
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 12:41 PM
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aren't opinions great?

2003 BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Prep (sold)
2004 Suzuki SV650 (sold, wish I hadn't)
2009 Kawasaki Versys (commuter/dragon slayer)
Future bike: Ducati Sport 1000S (just because
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post #16 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 01:08 PM
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I like the seat on this one....


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post #17 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAMF View Post
mainly just as a joke, i ride 11 months out of the year, so trying to get a 30 yr old bike to start up in below freezing weather is challenging at best. I should probably remove that but I plan on selling it to a friend or a fellow rider that I can sit down with and share its history and faults so they can be as familiar with it as I am.

I dont think any of these guys know anything about cafe racers. You dont BUY a cafe racer. You BUILD a cafe racer.
That whole genre is not concerned with brand names like some snooty b!tch with clothing designers, they are much more interested in what you can turn the bike into and what style you can give it. Mine has just about everything modified and can outrun a corvette z06 up to 60-70 mph. You just cant explain it to someone who buys things off a shelf, what its like to make something with your own hands and give it your own style. And NO, i am not talking about bolting on side case carriers lol.

mine has Harley sportster mufflers welded on with baffles
wrapped headers
fresh set of mikuni carbs (cleaned and vac synced)
2 seats (1 normal, 1 custom)
new front and rear shocks both are adjustable (front is air with anti dive, rear is typical coil with preload)
clubman/euro bars with bar end mirrors
H4 headlight conversion
and tons of other stuff that no one else but a motorcycle fabricator/builder would appreciate

If you are interested Knox, I dont mind riding it to you and letting you take it out for a spin. Its an excellent bike, it just doesnt fit into my daily commuter motorcycle needs anymore.
Thanks for the offer. Unfortunately my wife is telling me I'm only allowed 2 bikes and that the garage can't fit any more of "my stuff."

2003 BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Prep (sold)
2004 Suzuki SV650 (sold, wish I hadn't)
2009 Kawasaki Versys (commuter/dragon slayer)
Future bike: Ducati Sport 1000S (just because
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post #18 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Tig View Post
I like the seat on this one....

Is there a bike in that pic?

2003 BMW R1100S Boxer Cup Prep (sold)
2004 Suzuki SV650 (sold, wish I hadn't)
2009 Kawasaki Versys (commuter/dragon slayer)
Future bike: Ducati Sport 1000S (just because
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post #19 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 01:23 PM
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wow.... is that a zipper I see ?
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post #20 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 03:01 PM
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I find it really amusing the way people talk about cafe racers. My dad and his mates were ton-up boys - they had Tritons, one even had a Manx Norton. They used to race from Peckham Rye, out on the A20 past Sidcup and down to the pub on the A20 on the way to Brands Hatch and back.

The purpose of a Cafe Racer was to race simple as that. They were all brit twins because at the time there was (a) nothing else faster (b) that was all that was available. In the late 60's when the Jap stuff arrived on the scene there was no denying that the CB750's and Z's were faster but they handled like a rabid cat on ice.

The whole cafe racer thing is cultural and I think that is why most people have trouble getting the whole concept. If you are in the UK you should go to the Ace Cafe - not the many imitations that have sprung up all over the place but the original.

I go there whenever I can - simply amazing. Cafe Racers are cool, lithe, slim and simple. Clip-ons below the top yoke, alloy tank, open pipe from an high compression air cooled twin and leading edge drum brakes. Anything else is missing the point.

Picture below was taken a couple of weeks ago at the Ace Cafe:


Tubbylardo

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Previous rides:
1986 RXS100, 1980 CB400n, 1986 DT125lc,
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