Cafe Racer TV Episode 13

Viewers will get a groovy eye full of everything the contemporary café racing scene has to offer in this, the third season’s final call. The show gets underway with a test for the J&B Moto Co. Suzuki two stroke twin, a machine that’s endured more lives than a cat with multiple personalities. The York, PA shop has offered the first ride on the little Suzook to a professional Isle of Man TT racer who plans to wring its carbs off – if their latest project bike runs as good as it looks, that is.

Last week’s two-wheeling heartthrob, singer Julia Haltigan is back again, having composed a new song specifically for “Café Racer”, a tune that captures the excitement and dangers of riding ton-up in the Big Apple.

One of the series’ more popular and eccentric builders has proven to be Alain Bernard of Florida’s Santiago Choppers. The French expat has built an amazing cottage industry out of his rare ability to combine custom bike skills he developed in the cruiser field to café racers. When he’s not taking home show trophies, Alain, it turns out, possesses a heart as big as his Elvis-style pompadour; this week, he’s visiting the Mecum Auto Auction, a venue where Alain has donated a couple of his “Café Racer” project bikes to the Curing Kid’s Cancer charity. If you think Alain’s motorcycles are fast, watch what happens to the cash he raises when it’s put into much needed research money to cure cancer.

Finally, we travel down South for the annual Barber Vintage Festival, a yearly gathering of the classic motorcycle brethren. From a snaky, undulating roadrace course packed with fabled names and marques, to the world’s greatest motorcycle museum and a swap meet that’s guaranteed to empty wallets, this is an event not to be missed.

And speaking of missed, don’t miss us as we head back to the airwaves this coming fall with a new season of “Café Racer” TV. After three seasons, it seems we’re just scratching the surface of this global obsession with fast, stylist motorbikes. We’ve continued to meet talented builders, attend must-see events and uncover the previously lost history of café racers, the coolest motorcycles ever to spin a chain. Keep an eye on this site for updates and bits and bobs on where we’re headed next. We just might see you in the passing lane

– Mike Seate

Cafe Racer TV Season 3 Episodes 11 and 12

This week’s episodes contain several firsts in the history of engineering homemade café racers, namely, the use of tools you never imagined part of the speedbike experience. The guys at York, Pennsylvania’s J&B Moto Co. enter with some high-falutin’ ideas about souping up an old Suzuki two stroke twin; electronic fuel injection, they claim, is the way to achieve modern speed from the 500cc twin, a feat that’s never been accomplished before. However, their project starts off with Jeff gassing up a chain saw – a two stroke of another kind – to carve out custom bodywork templates for what may prove a very challenging project bike.

Also, racetrack competitors Jerry Dudley and Stan Lipert get all down and greasy when they seriously disassemble the engine in their Honda twin racebike, shaving the crank and therefore imbuing the CB 350 with twice as much power and corner speed than it had when it left the factory. We’ve interviewed some talented wrenches during these first three seasons of Café Racer, but the works being done by Lipert at Northern Ohio Ducati are fascinating on several levels. For serious gear heads who wish to see more nuts and bolts builds on Café Racer, this one’s for you guys.

We keep an eye peeled for the rozzers (cops in Brit-speak) as we again ride with California street artist Thank You X, a café racing graffiti artist who’s determined to pay tribute to his two-wheeled hero in spray paint.

Episode 12 revs up with the crew at J&B Moto Co. fashioning some beautiful, artistically inspired custom parts for their Suzuki stroker, proving why these guys are considered some of the finest bodymen this side of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. However, will their search for aesthetic perfection overshadow the need for speed?

We’ll finally see a reveal of the long-awaited piece of motorcycling graffiti art that Thank You X has been covertly planning for the past couple of weeks.

Our cameras take a side trip to the Big Apple where we’ll ride with Julia Haltigan, a Triumph-riding street musician whose passion for gypsy-tinged alternative rock matches her fondness for classic British motorbikes. We’re often asked by old timers where the future lies for antique British bikes which are becoming increasingly rare, but after hanging with Julia, who can ride and repair her own classic Triumph, you’ll see that the kids are, indeed alright.

Finally, the checkered flag and bragging rights await Stan Lipert and his roadracing pal Jerry Dudley as they complete work on their hopped-up Honda racebike and head to Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course to see who’s the fastest. Don’t bother betting on an outcome for this heat – anything goes in the wild, unpredictable world of vintage roadracing.

– Mike Seate

Cafe Racer TV Season 3 – Episodes 7 and 8

This week’s theme is clearly one where finding the right parts makes all the difference.

Consider, for example, a little project we’ve christened “The Royal Flush.” This build, starting this week in the seventh episode of the season, ventures into unknown waters as we enlist the services of multiple speed and custom shops in a challenge to make an ordinary, 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet break the ton. Yep. That was not a typo. We’re talking triple digit speeds from an air-cooled, 500cc motorcycle that’s based on a 1960s design brief.

CRTV test rider Blake Kelly and I brainstormed about the high-speed potential of the new, fuel-injected Royal Enfield after encountering a frightening lack of roadworthiness when the motorcycle was pushed above 80 MPH. What, we wondered, could be achieved, if we modified the 24-horsepower commuter bike with the aftermarket’s best suspension, engine and cosmetic work?

Well, over the next few episodes, viewers will be along for a nerve-wracking, wrench-spinning and, hopefully, record-breaking transformation as the Royal Flush pushes the limits of this Indian-made street bike. Finally, the team at Colorado Norton Works hits the workbench as production starts on their high-end Norton Commando project bike that started back on Episode Six. The results may surprise you as much as they did builder Matt Rambow who spares no expense in crafting a Commando that features top-flight performance equipment that the engineers at the old Norton factory couldn’t have dreamed of in the 1970s when this motorcycle left the assembly line.

This is a big week for Norton fans as we catch up with Kenny Cummings, proprietor of NYC Norton. Last week, Kenny took delivery of a new racing chassis built for him by Leeds, England’s Minnovation Racing. With his new frame and rebuilt engine coming together, Kenny’s focus is on winning at the track, come hell or bent valves.

In episode eight, first up is a legendary Vincent V-twin, which is being brought back to life by Colorado’s fabled Vincent Works custom shop. Vincents ruled the roads of Great Britain – and the World – back in their early 1950s heyday as the fastest, most beautiful roadsters around. After ceasing production in 1955, Vincent lore and desirability has only grown, but building one of the 120-MPH machines is a task for the highly talented, very resourceful, and yes, deep-pocketed enthusiast only. Vinnie fans will certainly dig watching the crew rebuild one of the Stevenage Screamers into a concourse-level showbike.

The Colorado Norton Works Commando that we all fell in mechanical lust with last week will hit the roads for a final test to see just how much all those shiny, high-performance bits are worth when bolted together and made into a complete motorcycle, while the Royal Flush threatens to become a Royal Pain as the finicky little Enfield and teams of equally finicky technicians, start to fray at their collective ends. At this point in the proceedings, the goal of reaching The Ton seems slightly more achievable than keeping the crews from throwing in the towel.

Cafe Racer TV Featured Build of The Week – J&B Moto Co.

Nestled in the heart of Harley Country at the end of the quiet little road exists a shop that revels in shaking things up, doing things different and laughing in the face of homodgeny. J&B Moto Co. is their name and you saw them featured in Season 1 of Cafe Racer TV where they built a stunning machine with suspension geometry along the lines of Britten’s V1000, which turned the racing world upside down. How cool is that?

The guys from J&B Moto are doing well building custom bikes day in and day out along with restorations and other neat projects. If you’re ever in the Wrightsville, PA area we strongly suggest you take some time to stop in and haggle them for a while. Just tell them their buddies at Cafe Racer TV sent you. If heading to PA is out of the question for you might we suggest you take a look at their website, they have some great eye-candy to help kill a few hours behind your cubicle while you wait to get back to your own garage!

Go go, Cafe Racer!