Cafe racer bikes are a timeless classic, combining style, elegance, and performance. These motorcycles have a rich history that dates back to the 1950s and have gained a cult following ever since. In this article, we will explore the top 10 cafe racer bikes of 2021, highlighting their features, design, and performance. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a cafe racer enthusiast, this list will provide you with valuable insights into the best options available on the market today.
1. Triumph Bonneville T120
The Triumph Bonneville T120 is a true icon in the cafe racer world. It boasts a powerful 1,200cc parallel-twin engine, delivering an impressive 80 horsepower. Its retro-styled design, including the classic round headlight, spoked wheels, and low handlebars, pays homage to the golden era of motorcycles. The T120 offers a comfortable riding position, making it suitable for both short commutes and long rides on the open road.
2. Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer
The Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer is a modern interpretation of the cafe racer genre. Its aggressive and sporty design, coupled with its powerful 803cc engine, makes it a thrilling ride. The low-slung handlebars and rear-set footpegs offer a sporty riding position, perfect for tackling twisty roads. With its impeccable Italian craftsmanship and attention to detail, the Scrambler Cafe Racer is a true work of art.
3. BMW R nineT Racer
The BMW R nineT Racer combines retro aesthetics with modern technology. Its air-cooled 1,170cc boxer engine provides ample power and torque, while the lightweight frame ensures nimble handling. The R nineT Racer features a unique half-fairing, clip-on handlebars, and a classic round headlight, giving it a distinctive cafe racer look. With its superior build quality and performance, the R nineT Racer is a top choice for cafe racer enthusiasts.
4. Yamaha XSR700
The Yamaha XSR700 is a versatile cafe racer that offers a perfect balance between style and functionality. Its 689cc inline-twin engine delivers smooth power throughout the rev range, making it suitable for both city riding and longer journeys. With its retro-inspired design, including the iconic round headlight and sculpted fuel tank, the XSR700 captures the essence of cafe racers while offering modern features such as ABS and traction control.
5. Moto Guzzi V7 III Racer
The Moto Guzzi V7 III Racer is a true classic in the cafe racer world. Its timeless design, characterized by the distinctive red frame and retro graphics, pays tribute to the golden age of motorcycles. The V7 III Racer features a 744cc V-twin engine, offering a perfect blend of power and torque. With its comfortable riding position and smooth handling, it ensures an enjoyable cafe racer experience.
6. Honda CB1100RS
The Honda CB1100RS combines retro styling with modern engineering. Its powerful 1,140cc inline-four engine delivers smooth power and an exhilarating ride. The CB1100RS features a classic cafe racer design, with a minimalist fairing, low handlebars, and a sculpted fuel tank. With its refined suspension and responsive braking system, this bike provides a comfortable and enjoyable cafe racer experience.
7. Royal Enfield Continental GT 650
The Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is a modern interpretation of the cafe racer genre. Its 648cc parallel-twin engine offers a smooth ride and a distinctive exhaust note. The Continental GT 650 features a classic cafe racer design, with a teardrop fuel tank, clip-on handlebars, and a single seat. With its affordable price point and accessible performance, the Continental GT 650 is a great entry-level option for cafe racer enthusiasts.
8. Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe
The Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe takes inspiration from the legendary Z1 of the 1970s. Its 948cc inline-four engine delivers exhilarating performance, while its cafe racer styling pays homage to its heritage. The Z900RS Cafe features a unique half-fairing, rear-set footpegs, and a classic round headlight. With its modern technology and retro design, this bike offers a perfect balance between classic aesthetics and contemporary performance.
9. Norton Commando 961 Cafe Racer
The Norton Commando 961 Cafe Racer is a British masterpiece that combines style with unparalleled craftsmanship. Its 961cc parallel-twin engine offers a refined and powerful ride. The Commando 961 Cafe Racer features a classic cafe racer design, with a sculpted fuel tank, low handlebars, and a single seat. With its timeless design and exceptional build quality, this bike is a true collector’s item.
10. Suzuki SV650X
The Suzuki SV650X is a versatile cafe racer that offers a great balance between performance and affordability. Its 645cc V-twin engine delivers smooth power and excellent fuel efficiency. The SV650X features a classic cafe racer design, with a small half-fairing, clip-on handlebars, and a stylish tail section. With its lightweight chassis and agile handling, this bike is perfect for both urban riding and spirited weekend trips.
1. What is a cafe racer bike?
A cafe racer bike is a type of motorcycle that originated in the 1950s and 1960s. These bikes were stripped down, lightweight, and modified for speed and handling. They featured low-mounted handlebars, rear-set footpegs, and a minimalist design. Cafe racers were a popular choice among young riders who sought a blend of style and performance.
2. How did cafe racers get their name?
The term “cafe racer” originated from the British motorcycle culture of the 1950s and 1960s. Riders would modify their motorcycles for improved speed and performance and then race from one cafe to another, often along public roads. This racing and social culture gave birth to the term “cafe racer.”
3. What are the key features of a cafe racer bike?
Cafe racer bikes are characterized by their distinctive design and features. Key elements include low-mounted handlebars, rear-set footpegs, a minimalist design, and a focus on performance and handling. Cafe racers often feature a single-seat configuration and a streamlined appearance.
4. Are cafe racer bikes comfortable to ride?
Cafe racer bikes typically prioritize style and performance over comfort. The riding position is more sport-oriented, with a forward-leaning stance and a slightly higher seat height. While cafe racer bikes may not be as comfortable for long rides as touring motorcycles, modern cafe racer models often offer improved comfort features compared to their classic counterparts.
5. Are cafe racer bikes suitable for beginners?
Cafe racer bikes can be suitable for beginners, depending on the model and individual rider’s experience. Some cafe racer bikes, such as the Yamaha XSR700 or Suzuki SV650X, offer a more beginner-friendly riding experience with manageable power and user-friendly handling. However, it is important for beginners to gain experience and confidence before riding a cafe racer, as they can be more demanding in terms of handling and riding skills.
6. Can cafe racer bikes be used for daily commuting?
Yes, cafe racer bikes can be used for daily commuting. While they may not have the same level of comfort or storage capacity as some other types of motorcycles, cafe racers offer a thrilling and engaging riding experience. Their nimble handling and agile nature make them well-suited for zipping through city traffic and enjoying twisty backroads.
7. Are cafe racer bikes suitable for long-distance touring?
Cafe racer bikes are generally not designed for long-distance touring. Their sporty riding position and minimalist design may not provide the same level of comfort as touring motorcycles. However, some modern cafe racer models, like the Triumph Bonneville T120 or BMW R nineT Racer, offer improved comfort features and can be suitable for shorter tours or weekend getaways. It is important to consider personal preferences and comfort needs when deciding on a cafe racer for touring purposes.
In conclusion, cafe racer bikes continue to captivate riders with their timeless design, performance, and rich heritage. The top 10 cafe racer bikes of 2021, including the Triumph Bonneville T120, Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer, and BMW R nineT Racer, offer a range of options for enthusiasts seeking the perfect blend of style and performance. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a cafe racer aficionado, these bikes are sure to provide an exhilarating and unforgettable experience on the open road.