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on February 25th, 2020

This article is presented by Viking Cycles. Check out the clearance sale currently going on their website

Ah, the cafe racer, one of the few descriptive terms that originated as an insult and manifested itself into a term that describes a style of motorcycle that has won the hearts of motorcyclists worldwide. Originating from post WW2 London, UK the “cafe racer” was a derisive term used to describe young men who would hangout at cafes and challenge each other to races from one cafe to another. What differentiates a “cafe racer” from a traditional bike, is the minimalist features and design. Meant to be lightweight, fast, and aerodynamic, bikers world wide glorified this style and would adjust handles to be low, seats set rearward, and install Norton inspired featherbed frames for ultimate performance.

Skipping forward a few decades, these zippy little machines have come a very long way since the 1950’s and have only been getting better. Also witnessing the rise of Japanese industrialization along the way, with brands like Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, etc, they took over a good majority of motorcycle sales worldwide. But that doesn’t mean they own the market, there’s still a lot of competition. We still have famously loved brands like Ducati, Norton, BMW, and Royal Enfield. How far have they come? And who is taking 1-5th place? Lets see


Coming from the oldest continuous motorcycle production company in Europe, (Moto Guzzi), the V7 III Racer is a beauty that has retained its italian heritage from its predecessors and is the brand’s most sold model. Featuring an ABS braking system, adjustable traction control, and even a multimedia system that allows you to connect your phone to the bike, this little guy is definitely 21st century ready. Imagine the cool looks you would have on this expressive cafe racer with these elegant vests.

Specs & Numbers

Engine: 90° V-twin engine, 4-stroke, transverse crankshaft Horsepower: 38 kW (52 HP) at 6200

Torque: 44.25 ft-lb (60 Nm) at 4900 rpm
Curb Weight: 460.8 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity: 5.548 gal
Ground Clearance: 5.906″
MSRP: From $10,655
0-60: 5.5 sec.
Top Speed: 104mph

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650

The GT650 is a bold design that also bonds the classics with modern attributes and boy have they done a wonderful job over at Royal Enfield. It may not go noticed immediately, but this cafe racer has been slightly adjusted to a bit more comfortable than the rest with its low mounted footpegs and mounted risers. This has been done so that it can retain the cafe races aesthetic but keep you comfortable for those long tours. It’s fairly low price and heritage may do it very well in the global market.

Specs & Numbers

Engine: 648cc, air and oil-cooled, parallel-twin motor
Horsepower: 47 bhp @ 7250 rpm
Torque: 999.99 Nm @ 52 rpm
Curb Weight: 436.5 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.302
Ground Clearance: 6.850”
MSRP: From $5,999
0-60: N/A
Top Speed: 149mph

Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer

While the motor on this iconic beauty hasn’t been touched very much, the cosmetic changes have definitely been updated from the years prior. Featuring a new hydraulic clutch that reduces effort, LED turn indicators, end bar mirrors, new paint trims, and ABS. These updates are going to make for a fantastic buying incentive with over 55,000 scramblers already sold worldwide.

Specs & Numbers
Engine: L-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, 2 valves/cylinder, air cooled.
Horsepower: 73bhp (54kW) @ 8250 rpm
Torque: 49 lb-ft 9 (67Nm) @ 5750 rpm
Curb Weight: 432.1 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.566 gal
Ground Clearance: 7.874”
MSRP: From $11,995
Top speed: 125 mph.

Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe

Featuring it’s long time choice of green paint trims, the Z900RS cafe is inspired by the 80’s KZ1000R. The resemblance is undeniable but it has also done a great job at keeping up with the times with its curves and swoops compared to the 80’s sharp edges and boxy design. This Japanese beauty retains the classic cafe look, its Kawi predecessors looks, and keeps up with the 21st century with its ABS, assist clutch, and traction control. The pricing is a bit steep for a first time buyer, but if you can get passed that, there will be no disappointment.

Specs & Numbers

Engine: Liquid cooled, 4 cylinder DOHC 4 stroke
Horsepower: 109 bhp (80.3kW) @ 8500 rpm.
Torque: 72.7 ft.lbs. (98.50Nm) @ 6500 rpm.
Curb Weight: 473.9 lbs.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.50 gal.
Ground Clearance: 5.1”
MSRP: $11,699
0-60: 3.0 sec.
Top Speed: 150 mph.

BMW R NineT Scrambler

Whether you’re cruising in the city, backroads, or on the PCH, you’ll undoubtedly turn heads with this German beauty. Although it does have a bit more of a modern feel, look, and sticker price but still hangs on to its subtle cafe racer heritage with its rearward 2- person seating, lowered fuel tank, knee indentations, and short-rise handlebars. Also featuring an ABS and ASC (Automatic Stability Control) and a tachometer with an analog display for vintage aesthetic purposes, this bike is the complete cafe package. Wearing a chap on this one would definitely be one for magazine covers! The metallic colors would hand in hand with the chap!

Specs & Numbers

Engine: Air/Oil-Cooled 2-Cylinder DOHC Boxer, 4 valves/ cylinder
Horsepower: 110 bhp @ 7800 rpm
Torque: 88 lb-ft @ 6,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 485 lbs.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.50 gal
Ground Clearance: N/A
MSRP: $12,995
0-60: 3.1 sec.
Top Speed: 125+ mph

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