Cafe racers are a unique style of custom motorcycles that originated in the 1960s in the United Kingdom. These bikes are known for their minimalist, retro-inspired design and their focus on speed and performance. Cafe racers often feature distinct characteristics such as low-slung handlebars, elongated fuel tanks, rear-set footrests, and a distinctive "racer" aesthetic. Building a cafe racer requires a combination of mechanical expertise, creativity, and a deep appreciation for vintage motorcycles.
Over the years, numerous skilled builders and workshops have emerged in the motorcycle community, specializing in crafting exceptional cafe racers. These builders take ordinary motorcycles and transform them into one-of-a-kind pieces of functional art. Here are a few notable cafe racer builders from around the world:
Shinya Kimura - Chabott Engineering (USA): Shinya Kimura is a renowned motorcycle builder known for his exquisite craftsmanship and unique design philosophy. His workshop, Chabott Engineering, has produced some of the most visually stunning cafe racers that blend traditional aesthetics with modern performance.
Deus Ex Machina (Australia and USA): Deus Ex Machina is a global custom motorcycle and lifestyle brand with a reputation for creating cafe racers that capture the spirit of freedom and individualism. Their workshops in Australia and the USA have garnered attention for their distinctive designs and innovative builds.
Lossa Engineering (USA): Lossa Engineering, based in California, is known for its exceptional cafe racer builds and restorations. The workshop, led by Jay LaRossa, has gained a following for their attention to detail and ability to transform vintage bikes into functional pieces of art.
Kott Motorcycles (USA): Dustin Kott of Kott Motorcycles is celebrated for his ability to create clean and minimalist cafe racers with a timeless appeal. His builds often blend vintage components with modern performance upgrades.
Ton-Up Garage (Portugal): Ton-Up Garage is a Portuguese workshop that specializes in crafting cafe racers inspired by the "Ton-Up Boys" of the 1960s. Their builds pay homage to the classic cafe racer aesthetic while incorporating contemporary design elements.
Old Empire Motorcycles (UK): Based in the United Kingdom, Old Empire Motorcycles is known for its refined and elegant cafe racer builds. They often work with classic British motorcycles and infuse them with a modern twist.
Carpenter Racing (Japan): Hailing from Japan, Carpenter Racing is recognized for its attention to detail and meticulous craftsmanship. Their cafe racers often feature intricate metalwork and a seamless blend of classic and modern components.
Analog Motorcycles (USA): Analog Motorcycles, led by Tony Prust, focuses on creating functional yet stylish cafe racers. Their builds are characterized by a balance between performance upgrades and vintage aesthetics.
These are just a few examples of the many talented cafe racer builders around the world. Each builder brings their own unique style and perspective to the craft, resulting in a diverse array of stunning motorcycles that pay homage to the cafe racer tradition while pushing the boundaries of design and performance.