" Ok, I know. A true café racer shouldn't have anything as pretentious as a French accent anywhere near it. And alright, I know as well that at least the engine on a true 'Caff' racer should have been milled in "
New Book on the Cult of Café Racer
Of all the publishing houses dedicated to culture of cars and bikes, Veloce is surely the most prolific. This time, they’ve come up with something no bike obsessive and consumer of culture will be able to resist.
Alastair Walker’s book is a look back at the glory days of the Café Racer, from Friday night gatherings on London’s North Circular road, through the street specials craze of the Seventies, to the modern day revival.
From its roots in the ’59 Club, home-brewed specials and the creation of the Triton by Dave Degens, the Café Racer became the must-have Rockers’ motorbike. It then became the template for a new generation of fast road riders in the 1970s, with the rise of Dunstall, Rickman, Seeley and many more bespoke bike builders.
The big factories jumped on the bandwagon too. Machines like the Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk I, Ducati 900SS and the MV Agusta 750S all captured the spirit of the Café Racer. Then the slick, super fast, Japanese sport bikes of the 80s came along, and looked set to consign the Café Racer special to the history books.
But a revival had to happen. The Ace Café London re-opened, bike builders as diverse as Wakan, Fred Krugger, Nick Gale and Roland Sands all began to create lean, back-to-basics motorcycles, but with their own unique twist on Café Racer heritage. From the Buell 1125 CR to the Guzzi V7 Sport, mainstream modern bikes have also re-discovered their street racing soul.
This is required reading for lovers of bikes with a beating heart.
image courtesy Deus Ex Machina.
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