More Than A Bike – Great Cafe Racer

Cafe Racer

This story comes to us from our friends at Atlanta Motorcycle Works. The team recently completed a build for a loyal customer who lost his father in the middle of a restoration project. This is the story in their own words. 

Jared Morris ins’t your average “motorcycle guy.” Jared gets extremely passionate and involved in what he’s riding, this is especially the case with his father’s Yamaha RD400. The project with his father became a “ride as you work” type project. We could often hear Jared tearing down the street of his nearby neighborhood. While working on the project Jared’s dad fell ill, leaving him unable to assist Jared with the project. As life became more hectic for Jared, the bike became hard to make time for. Jared had been a long time friend and customer of Atlanta Motorcycle Works. We had helped Jared with small stuff all over his bike, but this time he had a different request. Jared wanted a completely custom motorcycle to honor his father who recently passed. From that point on we gave this bike everything we had in order to deliver something amazing to our friend.

Jared and his family were blown away with the end result. There’s a long list of things that set this bike apart from a stock RD400, but the most notable things would be the RD400 Daytona fork swap as well RZ350 swing arm swap and wheels. There’s a custom bracket allowing for an RZ Brembo front caliper. The Carbs have been vapor honed and re-jetted to work with the new DG exhaust and pod filters. The motor has been vapor honed, and the case covers have been powder coated. A new halo headlight has been fitted with new brackets. Updated hand controls were added with a pair of blast from the past rear sets to match. The front fender is an item off an XS750 that has been modified to fit this bike. The paint work was done with what Jared’s dad had planned for the bike. Jared’s Dad, Bob, was a flat track racer in his younger days. The bike has his old racing numbers as well as his nick name “Bullet Bob.”

Photography was done by Braden Cain.
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Cafe Racer from CD175

This build comes to us from Sylvain Tourangeau. He’s one of our Facebook fans.  Below is his description of the build in his own words.
Cafe Racer
I just completed the little CD175 Cafe. I did some small tests rides because at this time of the year it’s kind of cold down here. The bike is running very good. I rebuilt the engine with oversize piston, new bearings, and seals. I restored everything on the bike. I did the powder coating myself on the wheels as well as many engine and frame parts. I used chrome powder coat on small parts. I also did the candy red with base coat/ clear coat paint. Since I installed a flat bar handlebar, all the cables were too long. So I ordered wires and fittings and made the clutch, front brake and throttle cable myself at the right size. This bike runs on 6V, so I used a GS750 headlight and replaced the 12V H4 light with a 6V H4. I made the cafe seat from fiberglass with the recessed brake light, and my wife did the seat cover.
 
The only thing I didn’t do myself was the chrome on the tank side panels.
Vintage bike
So, what do you think of this build? Let us know and join our conversation on Facebook. 
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Cafe Racer

Maxmade Machines Latest Project

Max Langwieder says he’s a huge fan of Cafe Racer TV. In fact Max tells us he was inspired to build his first Cafe Racer after watching the show. Here are a few photos from his shop, Maxmade Machines in Munich, Germany.

 

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Cafe Racer

See A Cafe Racer Built On A New Bike

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(Sent to us from Jorge Damico and published without edits)

Stylish and original ideas always excite me. When I was introduced to the Cafe Racer style of motorcycles I was immediately hooked up by the concept and history behind of it as well its unique look. There is something in this style that lights up a desire for emotion and adrenaline. From that very moment I knew that I had to build and ride one.

After a long and extensive research analyzing all the possible donor bikes, years and types, I came across with the 2015 Yamaha SR400. It is the very same motorcycle being built since 1978 by Yamaha with a few modern improvements like fuel injection and front disk brake. The idea of using a brand new bike as a base of my project had its pros and cons. Yet a few strong arguments made me to decide in favor of using a 2015 motorcycle instead of an old beat up one. Not having to worry about potential and expensive issues on the engine, transmission, electrical parts and brake system were some of them, leaving me with room to invest time, energy and effort on the other aspects of the machine; allowing me to add my own flavor and ideas to the project.

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In order to achieve a more compact profile look the shorter front and rear fenders played a major role. The horizontal line of the bike had to be lowered; a Triumph clubman type handle bar, thinner seat, repositioned meters and head light made the job, promoting a better alignment with the gas tank imaginary line. A new set of blinkers, mirrors and shorter muffler gave the final touches showcasing my re-interpretation of a classic and reliable motorcycle on a vintage look.

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The end result was a leaner, cleaner and louder motorcycle that turns heads wherever we go. People get so enthusiastic with the bike that they stop by, ask questions and spend time admiring each detail; from teenagers to old dudes, man and women. However, more rewarding than all of this, is to have the sensation that I was able to spark in them curiosity and astonishment for Cafe Racers and vintage motorcycles.

By the end of the day, the conclusion of the project wasn’t what gave me the feeling of “mission completed”. The emotion of being able to motivate and encourage others to do similar things was the ultimate prize of this project.

Jorge Damico

Finally, A Cafe Racer After Eight Long Years!

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Chris Graziano is a police officer from Wisconsin. He sent us his story about his latest build. He’s built three café racers over the years.  His boss, the chief of Police saw his 1976 cb750 and loved it. What better way to get favor with the boss than to build a Cafe Racer for him.

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The boss said he had an old bike – the first one he bought. He had given it to a family member and guess where it ended up, of course – in a barn. Chris and his boss began pulling pictures and talking about what he liked.

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Chris stripped the 1978 GS750 down to the frame and rebuilt or replaced almost every part from the forks to the wheel bearings. “I rebuilt the top end of the bike and we added several add ons to the bike.  I love working on old bikes and bringing them back from the dead.  This bike was fun and is pretty quick.  The most difficult challenge was getting the carbs tuned right with the 4 to 1 pipes and the air pods on the carbs it took several times rejetting the carbs to get them right.  I hope to build another bike for myself soon”, Chris told us.

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Good luck and we hope to see it when you do, Chris. Send us your bike photos and bike stories and like us on Facebook.

 

Old School Cafe Racer in Brazil

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This Cafe Racer project and article comes to us from Augusto Bittencourt. Most of this came from what he sent to us via Facebook. 

The 1973 YAMAHA TX 500 was the basis for construction of this Vintage/Old School Cafe Racer. This bike was built in the owner’s house, Augusto Bittencourt, in his own workspace. He called it Lucas, in honor of his son Lucas Bittencourt,  a Speed Motorcycle pilot.

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As it was built to be Old School, the front disc brakes gave way to a drum brake from a Norton Commando with Dunlop rim, carburetors were kept and overfed, the tail and seat are English, the handlebar and throttle are Tomazelli ones, the electric start was eliminated and left only the kick start. The pedals have been recoiled for more racing style piloting, the levers are retro, and the mirror is a bar end and there are thermo tapes on the exhaust. The tank was handcrushed to give the Cafe style and a racing style air vent builted next to the cover, which was maintained with an gasoline buoy marker.

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The speedometer is a Smiths, in the best English style. The painting refers to the years 50`s in shades of red, black and silver with the YAMAHA name styled “Norton”, and an adhesive tail make an homage to Isle Of Man TT. The biggest difficulty in building a Cafe Racer style machine here in Brazil is the lack of available parts and accessories, requiring care, which makes it very expensive and labor-intensive project.

As an initial test-drive, the “Lucas Cafe” was piloted by the homonym pilot Lucas Bittencourt in Cascavel 2015 Gentlemans Ride between the cities of Cascavel and Toledo in Brazil, a journey of 100 km, making it one of the event’s attractions, not only for style but also the sound coming out of the exhaust, like a B-52 flying.

It is difficult to talk about cost when the manpower is the owner himself and the parts were all imported. The most important thing is that the project achieved its objective and has become one of the most Old School Cafe Racers in Brazil for sure, in terms of labor, creativity and authenticity.

 

Here’s A Cafe Racer That Grabs Attention

Cafe Racer TVThis Cafe Racer build comes to us from Glen Harland of New Zealand, a design engineer with a passion for creating a custom bike that can’t be missed when he’s on the road.

Glen builds bikes for himself and for his friends under the name ArtMoto.  After riding a friend’s Ducati Sport Classic, he developed a lust for a café racer. “I was liking the power of the v-twin of the Ducati, but I didn’t really want a Ducati. So I decided that a Suzuki TL1000s was the best option and was able to find a 97 model just 20 minutes from my house”, said Glen.”

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Glen says the motor seemed strong but the body work had seen better days. So he was able to get it at a good price. “No point cutting up a minter. I road it around for a few months to make sure all was good with it, and it gave me time to collect parts for the build. Once the cooler days of winter set in, it was time to take her off the road and start the build.”

Cafe Racer Build

The plan right from the start was for him to do everything himself. “This meant I was going to have to learn a few new skills. Once I had the front fairing mounted, I started work on the tail. I shaped the tail out of clay, then glassed over the top. I made two tails, the solo one and a two up one so I can take the wife and kids for a ride. While I was at it, I had a go at making some carbon fiber parts. I made the tank protector, dash mount, chain guard, and the solo tail. I fitted a Ohlins shock in the rear and the front end from a 04 GSXR1000, to give a lot better suspension and better brakes”, said Glen.

At work, Glen has a powder coating booth. So, he was able to powder coat the frame and all other parts in dark metallic grey. “I powder coated the wheels and all other blue bits in a candy blue. I made a spray booth in my shed from plastic drop cloths and called on the advice of a couple of painter friends. With them giving me guidance, I sprayed the body work in metallic grey with matching blue highlights and metallic grey pin stripping. This is the one area I haven’t attempted to do myself in the past, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out,” Glen told us.

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Glen went on to say he made the seat base and foamed it, but he did pay to get a professional upholster to cover it. “It was all back together and running a couple of days before the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride where it got its first public outing. The reaction was pretty good, and I’m a happy man.”

Riding a Cafe racer

We, at Cafe Racer TV, are happy to feature it. Send us your builds. Join us on Facebook or Contact us.

 

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Building a Beauty!

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For Tim Gerst, owning a cafe racer style motorcycle is a dream come true. After getting married and starting a family, he just kept thinking about getting another bike. The funny part about this story is it goes against everything you’ve learned about trusting anyone on the internet.

“I started looking for a builder that would be able to interpret my design and bring it to reality. I didn’t have a bike to start with. So I had to find a builder that would be able to find and buy a donor bike. I searched the internet for about a week or so and found decent builder, but the builder wanted to sell me a donor bike without a title and Florida is one tough state to register and plate a bike so we could not move forward with the build,” Tim said.

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He got discouraged and decided to buy an already built cafe racer on Craigslist. “That’s when I came across an ad for a Honda CM 400 in Florida that was posted by a guy in Connecticut. Thinking this was a total scam I decided to call and see what was up with the ad. So I called and some guy answered, told him I was not really interested in his CM400, but looking for a builder to build me a Honda CB550. He seemed very legit and was extremely knowledgeable about building bikes, asking the right questions and not really trying to make a buck!! We talked about ideas, pricing and design for weeks. I think he was more enthused about the bike than I was. I sent a large check to a guy I have never meet that’s three  states away that I found on Craigslist that was going to find a donor bike and build a cafe racer.
After I sent the check, I thought what the hell did I just do!!”

But, as it turns out, the guy wasn’t just legit, he turned out to be great. He went above and beyond for Tim. Bill Docchio of Sin City Vintage Cycles drove 10 hours each way from Connecticut to Ohio to get the CB550 he needed for the build.  “One of the nice aspects of building this bike for Tim was that he had an overall look that he wanted but left most of the visual styling up to me.  This enabled me to build a bike that looked like a bike I personally would want, that is to say a bike that is super clean, functional, and have just the right amount of shine to make the trailer queens jealous.”

When Bill called Tim about the bike, he was shocked. “I thought to myself…Ohio, the builder is in Connecticut, I’m in Florida and this is getting crazy!”

Bill was up for the challenge. “One of the aspects of cafe racers in general that I wanted to address with this bike was the open area in the frame where the airbox would normally go on a stock bike. I like the open area but always felt that the frame rails now looked way longer and out of place.  So we made changes to that and the end result fixed that gap but also gave the illusion that the seating position is way more aggressive. Another cool aspect of this bike is all the one off machined parts I made for the bike.  Having a Bridgeport and a lathe in my shop is huge in that I’m able to give customers a bike that is truly one of a kind. That along with the hand made sheet metal and to me it’s a no brainer that cafe racers are the sweetest customs on the road.”

Tim is now riding in style and thrilled with the way things turned out. “Got to tell you, the builder kept the build on track and true to the  original simple idea of a old school cafe racer even when I tried to add so-called trinkets to the bike. The Motorcycle came out so well, it’s just incredible. It’s hard to ride the bike because people of all ages, and I mean all ages, especially the older guys stop me and want to talk about the bike, at traffic lights, stop signs and run after me when I’m trying riding!! Still to this day I have never met the builder, but will return so he can build another kick ass bike!!! Thanks Bill of Sin City Vintage Cycles!!!

The classic part of this for Bill is that two weeks after that 20 hours in the car his brother bought 4 cb550’s from a guy who lived ten minutes away.

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Cafe Racer

Cafe Racer Before & After

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Check out these before and after shots sent to us by Philipp Dewies. He’s a 23year old mechanical engineering student at RWTH Aachen University in Germany. He got some great practical experience in his field while working on this Cafe Racer project with his dad.  The idea to build a Cafe Racer was born out of necessity. Philipp says that he didn’t have enough money to buy a cool bike from a dealer.

He bought what he calls “a cheap” BMW R65 and started to unscrew the whole bike.  He and his dad built new parts, fixed problems and enjoyed the time together in their garage. They had so  much fun, they decided to build another one, a better one. They bought the 1985 BMW R80 RT you see pictured above. They worked on it every weekend for about nine months in their home garage.

“My dad and I were in scale modelling for many years, so we had all the tools we needed already at home,” Philipp told us.

The paint is the original Porsche Aetna Blau from the legendary 1960 Porsche 356B. They integrated a Motogadget Tiny Speedster in the lamp body, powder coated the engine, and many other parts. For the perfect clean shape of the seat they decided to put on a very small Kellermann indicator/backlight combination. He used the leather from the seat to cover the handles. The helmet was painted also in the Porsche Blau. Philipp grinded it in spots to get a cool design. Then he put a clear lacquer on it. The helmet makes a great touch. Tell us what you think. If you have a project you’d like to show, just send it to us through this Contact Us form .

Tips for Insuring Your Cafe Racer

Cafe Racer Insurance

Peter Laczko, Insurance Agent

We wanted to give you some insight and advice about insuring your Cafe Racer motorcycle.
So, we interviewed an expert.

Peter Laczko,  who owns InsureYourToy.com, works with various insurance vendors and specializes in insuring
motorcycles and other toys. Here are a few of his answers to our questions. Have questions of your own, let us know
or email Peter at Peter@InsureYourToy.com.

 1) What’s the most challenging thing about insuring a Cafe Racer motorcycle?
If the bike is not a common bike like a Harley or Yamaha or Honda, you’ll need a appraisal or bill of sale if it is a new purchase.
But any bike can be insured, even if it is homemade.

2) Why is it so important to insure your motorcycle? Is it more about coverage or liability?
Both are very important because you are always responsible if you hurt
someone and if you are carrying a passenger. Coverage is also important
if you have a lot of accessories on the bike or have a lot of money
invested. But if you don’t have a lot of money in the bike, then you
might consider just liability.

The most important coverage is the uninsured motorist coverage, which covers you
for medical and lost wages if you get hurt by someone who has no insurance or not enough insurance
to cover your medical bills. For example, if you were hurt in an accident and it was the other person’s fault,
and you were laid up in the hospital for six months, do you have medical insurance and do you have disability
insurance to coverage your lost wages?

3) Do all insurance companies offer coverage for motorcycles?
No, very few companies offer motorcycle insurance. InsureYourToy.com represents six major
companies and has the ability to shop the rate with all of them.

4) What types of questions should motorcycle owners ask when they are looking for the right insurance company?

Can I get replacement cost on the bike in case it is stolen or not repairable after an accident?

What are my deductible options?
Usually you have the option of $100, $250, $500, or $1,000. Going to $1,000.00 can usually save you a lot of money.

After an accident is the company going to give me new parts or are they going to give me refurbished parts?

Can I get a discount for the motorcycle safety course, experience discount?

Can I get a discount if I have insurance now
with another company?

 

5) What are some discounts that Cafe Racer Motorcyclists should know about?

Motorcycle license discount

Riding group discount

USAA discount

Lojack security

Anti lock brakes

Airbag

Homeowner

We hope these answers have been helpful. Please let us know about topics you’d like to see covered.