Building a cafe racer can be hard. You need the right tools, parts and know-how to do it well. While there are many great resources online for building your own cafe racer, not all of them are created equal.
We’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know about how to build a cafe racer from start to finish. This step by step guide is easy enough for beginners but also has advanced tips that experienced builders will find useful too!
- 1 How to build a Cafe Racer?
- 2 Why build a cafe racer?
- 3 Points to consider before making a cafe racer
- 4 Best Bikes for a Cafe Racer Build
- 5 FAQs about how to build a cafe racer
How to build a Cafe Racer?
Build a Cafe Racer is a complex process, but it is an art and every builder has his own style. This article will show you some techniques to build a Cafe Racer.
1. Choose your weapon
To create a Cafe Racer, you need a motorcycle that has the right shape to be converted into a Cafe Racer. If you have never built a Cafe Racer before, you should choose a bike that is not too complicated. That’s why many people prefer to buy an old motorcycle in poor condition to convert it into a Cafe Racer. At first, it may seem like an attractive option because you can get a bike for peanuts. But it is not as simple as you thought.
2. Know the issues
There are a few issues you need to know when you buy an old bike. First of all, taking off the old parts is not as easy as you think. For that reason, take your time to know what you are up against. You will need a professional workshop for this task and if you try to do it on your own, you will see that it takes a lot of time.
If you feel more confident about the way forward, your next task is to check that all of the parts are available. Without new accessories, it will be very hard for you to build a Cafe Racer. Most of the old parts don’t fit and they need to be replaced. Your bike might even need a new engine, especially if it is an older motorcycle.
3. Give it style
The Cafe Racer is all about style, features, and performance. If you buy a standard bike, you will need to add a few Cafe Racer features. Styling the bike is often the most difficult part because you have to find out how it should look. The style is mostly defined by the design of the bike but it can also be influenced by your personal preferences.
4. Upgrade the engine
An old motorcycle is an old motorcycle. That means that it has most likely reached its top speed and there is no way you will be able to upgrade the engine. If you think that an extra 30 horsepower will do it, think again. To upgrade the engine, you need to rebuild it but you also need to add a few parts. That will cost you more than you expected and it is also time-consuming which means that you cannot do it by yourself.
5. Get the right parts
The engine is not the most difficult part in building a Cafe Racer. The real issue is part selection. You need quality parts that are also affordable. That will be your biggest challenge because there are many aftermarket parts manufacturers all over the world. If you will get the parts from the same country as you, all of them will speak your language.
You also need to reach a compromise between quality and price which is not easy. If you want high-quality parts without compromising on the price, you will need to order them from other countries. But, you will also need to wait for several weeks or even months because these parts are not available locally.
6. Make it your own
You don’t need to spend a lot of time and money to make it your own. All you need is a few customization techniques and they don’t even have to cost you a lot. The trick is to find the style you prefer and add your personal touch to the bike. That way, it will be unique and nobody will have the same bike as you.
7. Keep it original
You don’t need to go all out because you don’t have to modify everything. Some parts are intended to be original so there’s no need to change them. If you want, you can give them a new paint job in contrast colors. But, if you have access to the right tools and equipment, it is better to leave them as they are.
8. Keep it clean
The Cafe Racer is not about power or speed, it’s about style and performance. This means that the bike’s engine doesn’t need to be modified and that you should keep it clean. Don’t add too many accessories because they can make your bike less valuable. Think of a Cafe Racer as an engine which is enhanced by accessories that give it more power and speed.
9. Give it a cool name
A cool bike needs a cool name so give your ride the one that will fit its style. For example, you can name it after your favorite car or motorcycle. But, you can also find the perfect name with the help of friends and family members who might use it to create an interesting story.
10. Get used to it
After spending so much time and money, you will feel proud about your creation. But, with so many changes made to the motorcycle, you will need some time to get used to it. The best way is to test ride it before you take it to the streets. The test drive will help you learn more about your bike and discover if everything is in place.
Why build a cafe racer?
Cafe racers are motorcycles with a retro design. They were popular in the 1960s but they have been making a comeback for some time now. That means that building one is a great way to get in touch with the culture of the 1960s.
But, the best thing is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on parts because you can do everything by yourself. If the design is not to your liking, you can change it and make it unique. But, if the design is perfect and you don’t want to do anything to it, you can just buy the parts and build your motorcycle.
Points to consider before making a cafe racer
The Cafe Racer is a motorcycle that was originally built from a stock engine. The builder would remove the excess parts and make their own chassis. They would also remove unnecessary parts from the motorcycle and replace them with new ones.
If you want to do the same, it is important to start working on the foundation of your Cafe Racer. This means that you have to modify the original engine and arrange it in a way that it will fit your chassis.
The Cafe Racer was designed to save fuel. That means that it doesn’t have too many cut-off points which is good news for the builder. If you want to make a Cafe Racer, it will take you less time because you can cut-off three or four lines.
But, you need to make sure that your cuts are in the right place because making a mistake will cost you time and money. If you don’t want to make a mistake, you should hire someone who has experience with cutting lines or buy a kit that will save you time.
The Cafe Racer is a nice bike that needs to be treated with respect. This means that you need to know the height of your motorcycle and stay under it. If you go above the height, your bike will lose a lot of its value because it won’t meet the safety standards.
The Bone Line is one of the most important features in a Cafe Racer. It captures the beauty of this motorcycle and makes it look better than other motorcycles. But, it is not easy to make a good Bone Line and you need some tools and equipment for this job. Don’t go for the Bone Line if you don’t have enough experience because it can make your bike look bad.
The Cafe Racer was known for its performance and speed. This means that the power of the bike comes from the visual weight of your bike. If you want to make a fast Cafe Racer, you need to focus on the visual weight and on making your bike look as powerful as it really is.
The Swoop is a line that goes from the headlight to the end of the bike, creating a smooth curve. The Cafe Racer motorcycle needs this line to keep the side profile flat. This means that your bike will look good even if it is standing still.
The Angles are responsible for the height of your Cafe Racer. You will need some creative skills to make sure that your angles are exactly as you want them. You can also make your bike look better by adding some curves in the right place.
This is one of the most important aspects of a cafe racer. The Fork Distance tool determines how far your forks are from each other and if they’re straight. The distance should be about 1 inch over the axle height. This means that you have to measure your forks and check if they’re straight.
Best Bikes for a Cafe Racer Build
There are lots of bikes that you can use for a Cafe Racer build. The best ones are the older models that don’t cost a lot of money. You can also use them to create a unique motorcycle that nobody else has.
1972 Triumph T100 Cafe Racer
– This motorcycle has a custom frame and low-slung handlebars which makes it look great. It also has full fenders and a larger fuel tank. It is powered by an 865 cc parallel twin engine which gives it plenty of torque at low speeds. The best part is that it has a low price tag even if it was restored.
1976 Yamaha XS 650 Cafe Racer
– This bike is powered by a 649 cc twin cylinder engine which gives it plenty of torque at low speeds. It also has full fenders and an upgraded front suspension. It might not be the cheapest bike, but that means it will be easier to find the parts you want for your Cafe Racer build.
1974 Honda CB 550 Cafe Racer
– This bike is powered by a 544 cc OHC engine which gives it plenty of torque at low speeds. It has a custom frame and a cafe racer style seat which makes it look great from any angle. It is also affordable which means you won’t have to spend too much money on your build.
1984 Yamaha SR 500 Cafe Racer
– This bike has a retro style thanks to the boxy design. It is also affordable which means that you will be able to save money for other parts. It might not be the best choice, but it is certainly a good one if you want a cheap bike.
1986 Honda Hawk GT Cafe Racer
– This bike has a custom frame and cafe racer-style handlebars which make it look great. It has a custom tank and an upgraded front suspension which improves the ride quality. It is powered by a 498 cc SOHC engine which gives it plenty of torque at low speeds.
FAQs about how to build a cafe racer
1. Is it hard to build a cafe racer?
Not at all. You can buy a kit and start making your cafe racer or you can make it from scratch by following some tutorials on the Internet. These plans will help you and if you follow them carefully, you won’t have any trouble building your motorcycle.
2. Can anyone build a cafe racer?
Yes, you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or not because if someone can read, they can follow the instructions and make their own cafe racer. You don’t need any special tools or skills, all you have to do is follow the tutorial and everything should go well.
3. How do you make a cafe racer bike?
Making a bike is not easy. It takes some time, but you can make it if you follow the instructions carefully. Making it requires special tools and equipment. You should also have some mechanical skills because you don’t want to make a mistake that can cost you time and money.
4. What tools do you need to build a cafe racer?
Tools like the TIG welder, braze and other tools are very helpful when you’re building a motorcycle. But, if you don’t have them, you can buy some of them online. You should also have a place to work where everything will be safe and ready for use.