Not so Fat Bob – Blacktrack H-D BT03
Luxembourg’s Blacktrack Motors have been steadily ramping things up since they started back in 2015. They kicked things off with a gorgeous, pared-back Honda CX500. Then they pushed on with a stunning custom Triumph Thruxton. And now they’ve tackled their biggest job yet – a monstrous Harley Davidson Fat Bob that they’ve somehow managed to craft into a gorgeous cafe racer.
Horton – A Manx styled Honda CB750
Years ago I saw some pictures of a very low, very mean blue CB750 cafe racer and it was a defining moment in my life. I vowed then and there to build a cafe racer and I was almost certain it was going to be a Honda. There is something about the CB750 that just looks right. Coincidently, a guy named Joey Stivaletta thought the exact same thing just 10 kilometres from where I lived. Joey shares my infatuation with CB750 cafe racers so two years ago he did something about it.
Ride Review – Triumph Speed Twin
O, to be a motorcycle journalist in the 1970s. When men were hairy, and bikes were lairy. With their barely-there brakes, explosive power bands and ‘let’s hope this works’ engineering, bikes back then were about as hard to review as cold beer is to drink. If they didn’t break your bones or break down, you gave them a thumbs-up and that was that. These days, those damn motorcycle manufacturers are getting really bloody good. Their bikes do what they are supposed to with a minimum of drama. Which makes it all the more difficult to tease out an interesting story after riding the things.
Riding Gear – REAX Ludlow textile jacket
You would think that after ten years of hearing rider feedback on every kind of riding gear imaginable a company would find itself in a good position for developing some quality gear of its own. And you’d be right. This REAX Ludlow Textile Jacket is a good example of what having all that knowledge at your disposal can result in.
T Minus – Deep Creek BMW R nineT
The cafe racer in BMW’s R nineT heritage series won hearts with its sleek styling. However, motorcycle journalists brought a few downsides with the design of the BMW R nineT Racer to light. While the engine and build quality were at the same high level as the other model’s, rider comfort certainly was not. BMW also made the shock decision to use lower spec components on their cafe racer compared to the standard R nineT which in our books is a cardinal sin. When Kris Reniers of Deep Creek Cycleworks was again given the opportunity to customise a new R nineT to his liking, he decided to build his own interpretation of an R nineT Racer. The result is the ‘T Minus’ R nineT and it was built as part of a Belgian BMW dealership build off. In today’s feature, Kris shares the story of how they turned a regular R nineT into the cafe racer BMW should have built.
Sunday Screening – Kawasaki KLR650 rebuild
After literally killing his Kawasaki KLR650 Fort Nine’s “tell it like it is” vlogger Ryan Kluftinger has resurrected the bike in a mere 15 minutes. Well, actually there’s no telling how long it actually took him to tear down and rebuild the entire bike. However, they’ve crammed the whole rebuild process into 15 minutes making it much more consumable and vastly more entertaining to watch than in real time. So for this edition of our ‘Sunday Screening’ sit back and relax while Ryan F9 resurrects his KLR650 from the dead.
Riding Gear – Icon Airflite Quicksilver Helmet
Brushed alloy is the new chrome. There are zero performance benefits from its use, but boy does it look good. The minuscule highs and lows in the metal’s surface catch the light giving it depth and change its appearance from different angles. You’ll find ample use of it on modern motorcycles like the BMW R9T, Kawasaki Z900RS and the Honda CB1000R Neo Sports Cafe. And now, thanks to Icon 1000, you can wear that same finish on your head in the form of the Icon Airflite Quicksilver helmet.
Top 10 Honda Cafe Racer builds
As the world’s largest producer of motorcycles, it comes as no surprise that Honda cafe racer builds are commonplace here on Return of the Cafe Racers. If you’ve got your heart set on using a Honda as the donor when you’re building a cafe racer project you’re spoilt for options. There’s a long list of “go to” models that are have become icons of the cafe racer scene like the CB750, or pretty much any model in the long-running CB range, the CX500 and in more recent years the CB1000R Neo Sports Cafe. So today I thought we’d take a look back at 10 of the best Honda Cafe Racer builds that have graced these pages.
CARACCHI TRIBUTE – Ducati MHR 1000
If you ride a Ducati and don’t get tingles when you see the letters NCR it’s time for a history lesson. NCR is an acronym of its founder’s names, Rino Caracchi, Giorgio Nepoti and Rizzi. Together the trio (and later just Rino and Giorgio) laid the groundwork for Ducati’s racing success. During the 1970s Ducati didn’t have a racing program of their own so they entrusted nearby performance specialists NCR with tacking their marque to the racetrack. It was there that the NCR name became legendary. From the 60s through to the 90s NCR worked with the best Italian engineers and technicians to develop bikes that left a lasting impression out on the track. Perhaps the most iconic of all was the Ducati 900 NCR ridden to victory by Mike Hailwood during the 1978 World Championship at the Isle of Man.
Scrambler – Rogue Motorcycles R65
For more than a decade I’ve stayed true to this websites cafe racer theme. I can assure you this was no easy task. I’ve lost count of all the amazing scramblers, flat trackers, bobbers and dare I say choppers I’ve passed up. However, it is now time for a change. This article marks the first of many that will explore other genres of customisation. Before you start screaming bloody murder don’t worry, my focus will remain on cafe racers, but when I cross paths with a motorcycle that deserves a second look you may just see it pop up here on Return of the Cafe Racers.