The wheels are turning and Café Racer TV is finally back for another season. Thanks for following along as we rev up for an entire new year of fast, custom motorcycles, fascinating events and motorbike history and, of course, innovative builders. As with our first season, the builders and their formidable talents will continue to be the primary focus of each weekly episode of Café Racer. However, you may notice that we’re doing a few things a little differently. For example, we heard you loud and clear when folks contacted us requesting more speed (the principal desire of café racers for generations!) To that end, the majority of our test rides will be conducted on closed-course racetracks around the world, places where our skilled test riders Ben and Eric Bostrom and Blake Kelly don’t have to concern themselves with gravel, cops, texting SUV drivers and whatever else the world can throw in their path.
As a result of this change of venue, you’ll notice that the top speeds achieved by the custom builder’s machines have rocketed skyward, as has the excitement level.
There’s also a renewed emphasis on the technical and mechanical side of our weekly builds, with more footage covering the nuts and bolts of building motorcycles, whether we’re talking in-depth interviews with the men and women behind the machines, or close-up shots of individual parts being fabricated one at a time. Need parts? Just visit this website for links to everything you’ll need to customize your own bike. When it’s all said and done, if there’s not grease under your fingernails and metal shavings in your pockets, you’re not sitting close enough to the TV.
Digging around the globe like a team of black-leather archeologists, we managed to unearth some amazing footage from café racing’s infamous past and we met and rode with some legends of the sport as well. My personal favorites? Well, having joined the legendary 59 Club way back in the 1990s, I was honored to hang with and chronicle the stories of many of the organization’s original members. These riders risked everything – licenses, lives, livliehoods- in order to understand how to make ordinary streetbikes go that much faster, and it’s always a proud moment to think we’re the first film crew to preserve their unique – and very often hair-raising tales- for posterity. The club’s history is covered a couple of fascinating features this season and it was a thrill to listen as the speed-crazed young riders talked about what it was like creating and joining the first bike club dedicated to rehabbing their often unfairly-issued image as tearaways and hooligans. Doing so, they became a force for good in British society.
Closer to home, it’s been a blast to meet a new generation of café racer riders who’ve just recently discovered the thrills of low bars and high-performance motorcycles; from the Pacific Northwest to So Cal and everywhere in between, the enthusiasm and sheer imagination of today’s retro café crowd is an inspiration to behold. We’ve seen some motorcycles customized to show-winning quality for the sort of money some folks invest in a set of chrome rims, proving again and again that this is truly the anti-chopper: motorcycles that are cool because of what the owners invest in them, not based on the depth of your wallet.
What else is on tap? Well, we were deluged with questions about where the classic, flattop rocker hairstyle came from so stay tuned for a feature that’s sure to wave your hair. And there’s more music by a broader selection of roots rock, rockabilly and early rock bands lined up; your old friend Ben Friedman from Atlanta’s Cigar Store Indians is bringing you each episode’s narration, while yours truly is caught on-camera hosting Café Racer magazine’s annual Reader’s Ride-In Bike Show, which has some of the craziest motorcycles- and riders- on the planet competing for trophies and bragging rights. Best of all, we’re just getting up to speed here and we hope you’ll stick around for more fun and fast rides. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.
– Mike Seate, Coordinating Producer