"When you talk about a Norton or a Harley, your grandpa probably has ridden, heard of, or seen it. Café racers are those classic bike legends which were born out of a small bet. The legend has it that in the early 50's and 60's in Europe, local café's were a host to a group of bikers. These bikers laid out a bet in which they had to choose a song on the jukebox and take a ride around the city really fast. They had to get back before that song got over! This began to get very popular and hence gave birth to Café Racers, which significantly implies both man and machine! These bikers made their own custom designed bikes, these bikes had two piece handle bars, really fast engines mostly Triumph's. And chassis from a Norton, the bike was named "TriTon"
To be very honest, these types of bikes are not liked by all. Only a handful of people really appreciate a Café Racer, one of them being me. The CR (Café Racer) is not what people buy, but what they actually make of it later. A true CR is the mixture of many things. Reliability, power, and fun! Almost any bike can be made a CR if given proper thought. But don't get carried away to old school Europe because we have our very own CR's right here in India! Apart from the thousands of imported bikes that people brought in during the 60's and 80's, the only real café racer is the Yamaha RD-350. By all means this bike is still considered to be the fastest bike that has ever come to India. The true face of Yamaha. Unlike gladiators and the upcoming Yamaha Alba, sheesh!
It's been a long time since Yamaha stopped production of the RD. But it still remains to be seen if this bike is really dead. While companies like Yamaha have ceased production of these bikes, some companies around the world are bringing back these legendary bikes to life! Companies like Norton have completely modernized their bike and have already launched their Café Racer Commando all over the world. Some of the companies which are making modern CR's are Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Voxan, and Vincent. These are by far the only companies left which still have the guts to come out and make what actually people like us want. "
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Our man in India and his take on Cafe Racers.
From jammag.com by Anubhav Arya.