Thursday, 5 November 2009

THE ENDURING CULT OF THE CAFÉ RACER, IN ALL ITS TON-UP GLORY!


The Café Racer Phenomenon (Those were the days … series)
By Alastair Walker

The Café Racer is one of the most enduring styles of motorcycle ever created, encapsulating the rebellious spirit of the '50s. This new book is a look back at the glory days of the Café Racer, from Friday night dices on London's North Circular road, through the street specials craze of the Seventies, to the modern day revival.
The Café Racer Phenomenon, a new book in Veloce Publishing's Those were the days … series features a huge, global Café Racer community directory alongside a unique mix of personal memories, previously unpublished photos, iconic machines and chassis builders in profile. Wonderfully evocative reading for any ‘ton-up’ rider of past or present.
The Café Racer machine captures the very essence of motorcycling, with its stripped-to-the-bone styling and a timeless blend of cat-quick chassis, matched to a barn-storming engine.
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.

The 96-page paperback book is available now from bookshops or from www.veloce.co.uk.