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Top 10 Cafe-Racers of 2018

Top 10 Cafe-Racers of 2018

Lightweight, lightly powered motorcycle optimized for speed and handling. And all about the ’70s

Racing on bikes from café to café before a song could finish was the most therapeutic thing to have happened for motorcyclists in the ‘70s. Inspired by this culture, people and manufacturers started building motorcycles with minimal components to take them the distance in the shortest time. It embodied the classic café-racer cues taking us back in time with modern design bits and sophisticated packaging.

Here is our list of the best ten motorcycles of 2018 that remind us of that ‘70s. Round headlights, debonair half-shell fairing, humped seat, rear seat cowl, extended wheelbase, and the low-slung handlebar, it’s all in each one of these machines:

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2018 Norton Commando 961 California

2018 Norton Commando 961 California

Marking the 50th anniversary of the ’Commando’ series of motorcycles

The original Norton Commando first saw the light of day all the way back in 1967. Production spanned ten continuous years, but the model slowly lost its steam. The Commando has since seen a number of attempted revivals, with several entities trying to capture some of the success of the original, with varying degrees of success.

For its 50th anniversary, the British maker has given it an update and launched the 2018 Commando 961 California. ‘The easy riding roadster’. It ditches all the darkness and adorns a timeless classic styling with chrome all-over reminiscent of the ‘70s American motorcycling.

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2016 - 2018 Norton Dominator

2016 - 2018 Norton Dominator

Street-Legal Version Of The Domiracer

The Dominator from Norton captures the look and feel of the limited-edition Domiracer, but with a more production-friendly and street-legal layout. Norton may have been a bit surprised at the pace at which the Domiracers got snapped up and at the high rate of conversion to street-legal status, but its response was right on target. Powered by an in-house-developed 961 cc parallel twin, the Dominator is quite expensive, but do you get a lot of bike for that dough?

Continue reading for my review of the Norton Dominator.

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Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California

Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California

Marking the 50th anniversary of the ’Commando’ series of motorcycles.

The original Norton Commando first saw the light of day all the way back in 1967. Production spanned ten continuous years but slowly lost its steam. The Commando has seen a number of attempted revivals, with several entities trying to capture some of the success of the original, with varying degrees of success.

For its 50th anniversary, the British maker has given it an update and launched the 2018 Commando 961 California. ‘The easy riding roadster’. It ditches all the darkness and adorns a timeless classic styling with chrome all-over reminiscent of the ‘70s American motorcycling.

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2015 - 2016 Norton Commando 961 MK II SF / Cafe Racer / Sport

2015 - 2016 Norton Commando 961 MK II SF / Cafe Racer / Sport

The original Norton Commando first saw the light of day all the way back in 1967. Production spanned ten years, and the Commando was crowned “Machine of the Year” by the U.K.-based Motor Cycle News for five consecutive years, starting with its sophomore year in ’68 and running through ’72. Since then, the Commando has seen a number of attempted revivals, with several entities trying to capture some of the success of the original, with varying degrees of success.

Norton Motorcycles re-introduces us to the Commando with the 961 MK II family that brings classic, British style and modern engineering together in what may be the best attempt to date. Let’s find out, shall we?

Continue reading for my review of the Norton Commando 961 SF MKII, Commando 961 Sport MKII, and Commando 961 Cafe Racer MKII.

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