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.


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.


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.


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.”


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

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