When former NASA engineer Casey Stevenson was in the market for a light, economical and enjoyable motorcycle to cruise the LA streets on, he came to find that there are no such bikes being currently made. So he considered turning a Suzuki S40 into a café racer and ended up creating the Ryca CS-1, a 650cc, air-cooled, single cylinder cafe racer prototype. Later, he thought at a way of turning his idea into money, so he founded Ryca Motors, the shop where they turn any Suzuki S40 or Savage model into veritable café racers.
The production version of the Ryca CS-1 features the middleweight single-cylinder engine and a five-speed tranny and returns 60 mpg. Café racer goodies such as the custom low profile tank with integrated keyswitch / indicator panel, fiberglass seat and side covers as well as rearsets with custom mounting bracket and hardware and aluminum clip-ons give the bike its unique look.
Because the original bike’s engine and chassis don’t require significant changes, Ryca Motors also offers a custom parts and accessories kit that owners can buy and install themselves. Click past the break to read about the four different possibilities of getting yourself on one of these and also what the kit includes.
There’s little what people reproach to the standard Triumph Bonneville , but at seeing what the guys at Deus can do with it, suddenly there’s a whole lot needing to be improved. If it is to follow the Deus recipe, the Bonnie would have to be 2 inches lower and 2.5 inches longer than the original. Still, the modified rear frame section makes for a 4 inches shorter tail section.
This gives ‘Dave’s Bonny’ an aggressive stance and sure makes it a greater performer at high speeds, but there’s a whole list of features that make this café racer special. While you can check those out in the list found below, we’ll just name some of the parts that make this project stand out. To begin with, the tricked out Bonnie features a Kawasaki W650 tank with the fuel injection unit tucked inside and a Deus fiberglass seat unit. At the front, Dave gets 41mm clip-ons from Australian specialist Tingate and Triumph Trophy 955 handbar controls. We also like the Deus headlight brackets.
In the end, the bike looks nice and clean with all the wiring hidden but it is the custom paint job by Dutchy that finishes it even nicer. Also note the black powdercoated engine covers and 2-pack gloss black fuel injection bodies.
Take a look at this bike and you’ll most likely have troubles recognizing it as being a Triumph Speed Triple (at least we did), much less uncover the special features that made the transformation into custom possible. The bike was customized by Austrian Triumph specialist Julian Schneider for his own use on the twisties of the Austrian Alps.
Schneider, who is actually a fan of New Zealand motorcycle racer and land speed record holder Burt Munro, has actually called his bike the Burt Munro Edition. Although it won’t set any records as it is powered by the original engine, which only got some intake modifications and a Supertrapp exhaust, this Triumph should now handle and feel much sweeter considering the great number of aftermarket parts. It features full Ohlins suspensions and a steering damper, Marchesini magnesium wheels and a Beringer brake system. Also, the LSL bars, footrests and headlight as well as the Magura brake and clutch controls together with the several other Rizoma parts contribute at turning this into a completely different ride.
Overall, the bike looks like a modern café racer and the red/black with gold stripes and rims looks just striking.
The bike looks miles away from the production version and considering the multitude of upgrades and modifications, it’s hard to find the best starting point. Probably the Ohlins forks, radial brakes and the front billet aluminum wheel from Performance Machine might represent just that, but it is a long way to the Ducati-like tubular single-sided arm and Ohlins shock at the back.
You’ll find that Roland Sands’ Harley-Davidson XR1200 cafe racer features clip-on handlebars and rearsets, a 2-1 from Vance and Hines as well as chain drive, just to mention a few of its unique features. Furthermore, the single seat behind the standard tank is what gives the bike that café racer look.
With a black-out chassis and a pentagram RSD logo and a 666 number over the matt black paint, this also qualifies as Satan’s machine. So what do you think about it?
Want to have the new kind of café racer? Do like Larry Houghton: take a 1983 6-cylinder Honda CBX and build an origami-like frame for it from a one-inch thick aluminum sheet and then bring in a pair of 17-inch Marchesini wheels from a Ducati 916. Create a radical front end, but retain the Ducati’s single-sided swingarm and the thing can go off the stand.
The engine and gearbox is pretty much all that remains from the Honda CBX and because the powerplant makes it look so wide it’s called ‘Wide Boy’. But it’s no Harley, just a custom bike trying to make it in this business. It actually came third in the Freestyle class at the latest London Ace Cafe Motorcycle & Custom Show, so it rides on the good track.
This old Moto Guzzi 850 T3 was sitting in a junkyard in Trenton, NJ for ten years when Hal Wiley saw it as a good opportunity to build himself a nice café racer. The bike had suffered a small crash in the past and the elements also helped at basically turning it into a piece of crap, but not one that couldn’t be radically transformed with a lot of work and a fair investment.
The Guzzi was entirely stripped down only for the new owner to find that the engine, which had previously powered the bike for 55,000 miles, was top notch on the inside, so it only required a new timing chain, gaskets and seals and it was bolted back to its original shape. Well, not entirely as the original 30mm Dell’Orto carbs had been at some point in time replaced by 36mm Le Mans items. Also, the V-twin now breaths out through a set of EMGO shorty mufflers.
After sandblasting and painting the Tonti frame and bead blasting most of the aluminum parts, reconstruction could begin. But the actual parts that turn the bike into a café one – gas tank and fiberglass cafe seat – had to be ordered from eBay. Also, Hal choose to mount Lester rims with Avon Venom tires for an enhanced retro look. Finally, gloss black was the color of choice.
Like most similar projects, this is still a work in progress. Hal plans to upgrade the engine to 1000 cc and bring in a lighter flywheel so that it will even rev faster. Just what the doctor ordered!
The original BMW R90/6 was a very reliable touring motorcycle and many of those maintained properly still ride strong today, so a 1976 model year should be a bargain. But taking a look at the bike you suddenly realize that this is no mean machine to make your neighbor jealous with. The quickest solution to make such bikes visually attractive again (and the neighbor finally jealous) is by turning them into café racers.
Rob Snow from Salt Lake City, Utah did so with his 1976 BMW R90/6 and with approximately $450 he turned the old Goldwing competitor into a veritable café racer that simply cannot be ignored. Looking at the before and after pictures, it’s kind of hard to believe that the radical change was achieved with only a new tailsection, seat and taillight as well as handlebar and mirrors. Obviously, the huge fairing had to go and it is now replaced by a much cooler bikini-style one and the new black paintjob does help a lot too. More photos after the jump.
Take a look at this 1977 Kawasaki KZ400 in the small photo and at the veritable café racer above only to find that there are little similarities, enough to have you say we’re talking about two different bikes. But it is precisely the ease of transforming an old Japanese bike into a café racer what impresses us the most about this project.
Billetproof Customs bought the bike for $300. The reliable engine still ran good, so it was worth stripping everything off of it in order to see what can be done from a fresh start. Said and done. They started with the frame, which was seriously modified and then they built the wheels and brought in lowered front shocks and custom shortened rear shocks. The old Kawi was now 2 inches lower and got itself a much more aggressive stance also thanks to the shortened clubman bars.
The bodywork was next. A refurbished 1979 Suzuki GT 500 fuel tank found its place on top of the frame together with the one-piece seat and rear tail section, which were custom made out of fiberglass by the builder. The reconditioned engine was now ready to go back on and it was fed through a single carb instead of its original dual ones. Also, it now features custom made and wrapped exhaust pipes and so they obtained a retro look instead of the classy one that chrome would have given the bike.
After adding a disc front brake and custom drilling the rear drum as well as hiding the battery under the tail section, the bike was ready for painting. Like all the above mentioned, this was done by the manufacturer and olive drab was the color of choice. Other nice details worth mentioning are the headlight, bar end mirrors and speedo, taillight as well as the custom stitched seat in between. Hit the jump for a multitude of photos.
Take a look at what the guys over at Adrenalin Moto in the UK did to a Harley-Davidson XR1200 . It looks neat and fast to us and, if you can believe it, this is actually a café racer. Harleys are probably the last bikes you’d want to modify in such a way, but the XR1200 model loves being fitted with parts such as the Ducati 900SS fairing, projector headlight, carbon fiber side panels and a high level two-into-one stainless steel exhaust system, just to mention a few.
While overall weight is reduced with no less than 83.8 lbs, the XR1200 Café Racer gets a paintjob replica of Cal Rayborn’s XR750TT racebike. The only thing we don’t like as much about it is the fairing, which kind of makes the bike look dated. Most likely a bikini fairing would have looked better, but I guess they needed wind protection.
Clearly, those brits can transform any motorcycle into a café racer. Sadly, this one is not for sale.
The café racer style may not have started on Japanese bikes, but it does help turn some of these into absolutely gorgeous machines. For example, this 1975 Suzuki GT550 (I know, it looks brand new) is probably the coolest café racer approach on a classic Japanese bike.
Thomas Leeming from Montana recently finished building it and he doesn’t forget to mention some of the changes he has done: "pipes by Omar’s. Electronic ignition. Battery, oil tank and electrics are hidden under the seat cowl."
What we like the most about the Suzuki GT550 cafe racer is the racy and yet classy look given by the bike’s stance and the multitude of shiny bits and parts. More pics after the jump.