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Cafe Racer TV Season 1 Builder Recap

We’ll be updated the main builder page for Season 2 of Cafe Racer TV soon, stay tuned for that! In the mean-time, below you will find the collection of builders that appeared in Cafe Racer TV Season 1. Take a moment and give these guys some credit, they worked hard and helped us produce a fantastic show! Don’t go anywhere though, Season 2 is going to packed with quality builds, history and enough interesting material to keep you off the streets and in your chair. But don’t trust us, tune in in August and see for yourself!

Ace Motorcycle & Scooter

This small, busy shop is run by Bee Kirchgatterer and Chad McDade, a family team who cover the whole rocker movement from vintage scooters to hand-crafted café racers. McDade’s bread-and-butter work involves maintaining classic British, German and Japanese motorcycles that are ridden daily on Chicago’s merciless streets, but he’s revealed a genuine talent for drawing speed, looks and reliability from a British motorcycle with ease.

Ace Motorcycle & Scooter featured in Episodes – 10, 11 &12

– Original Airs: 12/8, 12/15 & 12/22 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 12/15, 12/22 & 12/29 @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
1042 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60607
Phone: 312-432-0955
Website: www.acemotorcycleandscooter.com

 

Dime City Cycles

Jason Paul Michaels and Herm Narciso have been working together for years; however, it wasn’t until 2009 that they managed to finally transform their mutual dream into something more tangible. Renting a warehouse tucked quietly behind a concrete plant, with a test road long enough to hit "The Ton", the two of them immediately began tearing down Honda 450s while simultaneously building their now well equipped fabrication shop, a small design studio and quite possibly the most comprehensive café racer parts supply website in the industry.  From here the combination of Jason’s fabrication talent and Herm’s engineering prowess together they began designing and producing beautiful classic Japanese cafe racers that owe as much to the rockers of mid century England as they do to contemporary race bikes.  Their goal? To build bikes with a perfect balance of form and function, and to bring the parts they so tirelessly sought out while building their first bikes to every other guy building a bike in his garage.

Dime City Cycles featured in Episodes – 2, 3 & 4

– Original Airs: 10/13, 10/20 & 10/27 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 10/20, 10/27 & 11/3 @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
2025 Lake Ave. SE
Largo, FL 33771
Phone: 727-386-9735
Email: thecrew@dimecitycycles.com
Website: www.dimecitycycles.com

 

Doc’s Chops

Greg Hageman has been blessed with Fred Sanford’s eye for finding treasure among a trash heap, transforming rusty, barn-find Japanese commuter bikes from the 1970s into eye-popping café racers. Greg’s specialty is everything from Yamaha’s XS 650 and shaft-driven XS 750 to Honda’s CX 500 transverse twin. A self-confessed “crazy cat lady” when it comes to classic motorcycles, Hageman possesses the rare ability to create show-winning custom café bikes for less than most riders spend on a new exhaust system.

Greg "Doc’s Chops" Hageman featured in Episodes – 4, 5 & 6

– Original Airs: 10/27, 11/3 & 11/10 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 11/3, 11/10 & 11/17 @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
Email: docschops@yahoo.com

 

J&B Moto Co.

From the unlikely locale where Harley-Davidson’s largest manufacturing facility is located comes J&B Moto Co., manned by Brian Leonard and Jeff Metz. The two started their careers painting custom choppers, skills that helped them design and mold their own fiberglass café parts. More recently, they’ve indulged their taste for café racers by building a stunning, 1975 Yamaha RD 350 with exotic Benelli bodywork, a machine that won first place at the Cycle World International show in New York in 2009 and at the AMA’s Vintage Motorcycle Days later that year.

J & B Motor Co. featured in Episodes – 3, 4 & 5

– Original Airs: 10/20, 10/27 & 11/3 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 10/27, 11/3 & 11/10 @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
Phone: 717-951-1506
Email: jbmotoco@yahoo.com
Website:  www.jbmotoco.com

 

Loaded Gun Customs

Delaware’s Loaded Gun Customs has achieved acclaim for custom drift cars and hot rods, and more recently, a string of trophy-winning and very fast café racer customs. Loaded Gun’s Kevin Dunworth handles everything from sheetmetal work to custom paint and engine rebuilding and he seems to follow no one’s rules when building motorcycles, whether it be a Ducati Supersport bobber, a Yamaha XS 650 Manx replica, or a vintage Triton hybrid infused with rat rod attitude and modern day running gear.

Loaded Gun Customs featured in Episodes – 11, 12 & 13

– Original Airs: 12/15, 12/22 & 12/29 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 12/22 & 12/29  @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
34676 Horseshoe Drive
Selbyville, DE , 19975
Phone: 302-436-2204
Website: www.loadedguncustoms.com

 

Lossa Engineering

Jay LaRossa got his start customizing led sled cars and working at West Coast Choppers before he felt the tug of the café craze. Jay started off building small displacement Honda twins that caught the eye of some high-profile customers. After a few years honing his craft, Lossa Engineering is now one of the West Coast’s premiere custom café shops, churning out a dozen ground up machines each year, all characterized by handmade steel body work, upgraded suspension and stunning paint work.

Jay LaRossa / Lossa Engineering featured in Episodes – 5, 6 & 7

– Original Airs: 11/3, 11/10 & 11/17 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 11/10, 11/17 & 11/24 @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
2659 Junipero Ave.
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Phone: 562-889-8389
Email: info@lossaengineering.com
Website: www.lossaengineering.com

 

Santiago Choppers

Alan Bernard came from France with a love of American motorcycle culture and after a decade spent building show winning choppers and bobbers, he’s set his sights on his true love, café racers. Colorful and mischievous, Alan’s tastes in two wheelers runs from custom café frames featuring high-performance Japanese and, yes, American V-twin motors, to motorbikes that reflect his tastes in rock and roll. The only series builder who can build a motorcycle while singing Elvis tunes in French.

Santiago Choppers featured in Episodes – 7, 8 & 9

– Original Airs: 11/17, 11/24 & 12/1 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 11/24, 12/1 & 12/8 @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
6611 Hwy. 301 S.
Riverview, FL 33578
Phone: 813-677-1676
Email: santiagochopper@aol.com
Website: www.santiagochopper.com

 

Sixth Street Specials

Since the 1980s, Hugh Mackie, Scottish expat and café racer builder has developed a dedicated following for his highly skilled Britbike and café racer shop located in New York’s Lower East Side. Hugh has collected tens of thousands of parts in a mad, cave-like basement workshop that he figures contains the makings of dozens of café racers. As a result of his experience and dedication, 6th Street Specials has customers from all over the world. His bikes reflect a no bullshit New York attitude, being more about durability and toughness than concourse pretty finishes.

6th Street Specials featured in Episodes – 8, 9 & 10

– Original Airs: 11/24, 12/1 & 12/8 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 12/1, 12/8 & 12/15 @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
Phone: 212-979-6535
Email: sixthstreetspecials@juno.com

 

Garage Company Customs

Yoshi Kosaka started collecting vintage motorcycles and parts in his native Japan before relocating to L.A. in the 1980s. His appreciation for classic café racers was such that his first shop wasn’t a shop at all, just a storage room for his beloved bikes. Today, Kosaka is invaluable for West Coast café builders, supplying parts, knowledge and support. His designs range from the psychedelic to the museum-level restoration and Garage Company’s professional, well trained team builds café racers with almost military precision.

Yoshi Kosaka / Garage Co. featured in Episodes – 6, 7 & 8

– Original Airs: 11/10, 11/17 & 11/24 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 11/10, 11/17 & 11/24 @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
956 W. Hyde Park Blvd
Inglewood CA 90302
Phone: 310-330-9933
Email: sales@garagecompany.com
Website: www.garagecompany.com

 

XPO Street Fighter

A.J. Fulgado and Frank Ford are the biggest name in American streetfighters, a style of customized streetbike considered the 21st century descendant of the café racer. XPO’s creations, like the road burners of the 1950s and 60s, combine high-performance engines with custom body work for a futuristic take on the classic ton-up machine. As subtle as a pair of rusty brass knuckles, an XPO bike is raw, fast and unforgettable.

XPO Street Fighter featured in Episodes – 9, 10 & 11

– Original Airs: 12/1, 12/8 & 12/15 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: 12/8, 12/15 & 12/22 @ 9:30pm

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Contact info:
211 Denton Avenue #107
Garden City Park, NY 11040
Email: admin@xpostreetfighter.com
Website: www.xpostreetfighter.com

Tech Talk & Tips

Tech Tip: Tips on building a good Cafe Racer w/ Chad from Ace Motorcycle

Everyone wants a cafe racer that is fast and looks good; however there are other aspects that are much more important.

My experience has taught me that comfort is the most important design aspect of a good cafe racer. Experience has also shown that it is also the most overlooked and ignored. After fitting low bars, rear sets and bump stop seat, the bike should be rideable for a long periods of time without discomfort. I have ridden too many bikes that forced me into the fetal position where my elbows hit my knees and gave me leg cramps. I have also experienced poorly placed bars where all my weight was resting on my wrists or I was being suspended in a painful half push-up. These traits are typical of medieval torture devices and should otherwise be avoided when building your machine. Extra attention should be spent on finding the correct combination of rear sets, handlebars and seat. Sometimes you will have to try several different combinations until you find one that works. It’s well worth the effort.

If you are unable to find a good combination, you may have a bike that cannot be café’d. Generally, the closer the seat height is to the height of top triple tree clamp, the more difficult it is find a comfortable position. Sometimes nothing can be done short of drastic measures. Ideally your body would be pitched upward rather than having your back parallel to the ground or your body pitched downwards. You should never have to strain your neck to see where you’re going.

The next most common problem with cafe racers is the cable routing. It shouldn’t take two hands to operate the clutch, and the engine is not supposed to rev up on its own when you turn the handlebars. The key to good cable routing is smooth, gentle curves with room to move when the handlebars are turned. No sharp turns anywhere and with no places for the cable to snag. Zip ties when used incorrectly can be your enemy. They should rarely be tight, but kept loose allowing the cable to move easily without flopping around. Also be conscience of what the cables are rubbing against. Poorly placed cables can rub through paint and wiring causing other problems. If you try several combinations and still cannot get the cables to operate correctly, then you need different length cables. Same goes for cable operated front brakes. Poor routing can reduce your braking ability.

If you have a hydraulic front brake, make sure the line isn’t twisted, bent at a severe angle or sitting in a generally unnatural position. If your combination forces the line coming out of the master cylinder to be forced around your gauges, you need to change the master cylinder or change the gauge mounting or eliminate the gauge altogether. Poor hydraulic line routing is unacceptable.

Lastly, I know you want to know how to make their bike faster. I would suggest that you’re skipping a step. The real question is how can I prepare my bike for going faster? The answer is simple really. Upgrade your brake shoes with modern linings. Swap out your disc with a larger drilled disc or add a second disc. Upgrade your suspension. Rebuild your front end and replace your rear shocks. Upgrade your charging system and lighting. Old lights don’t work very well. If you can’t stop, turn or see where you’re going, you don’t need to go faster. Once you take care of the basics, then we’ll talk engines.

– Chad w/ Ace Motorcycle Garage & Scooter