Cafe racers are some of the most distinctive motorbikes in the world. As an amalgamation of different parts, a cafe racer was designed with performance in mind. Cafe racers were created in the 1950s and symbolised a new generation who favoured speed and style. Designing a hybrid motorbike required a lot of creativity and here are five of the most interesting.
It could be argued the Triton was the motorbike that started off the cafe racer craze. It combined a Norton Featherbed frame with a Triumph Bonneville engine and brought together the best of both worlds. The Norton frame was said to have the greatest handling of any motorcycle component and the Triumph engine had set a number of speed records.
The Triton gave riders a good balance of speed and performance. Many riders exceeded 100 mph and joined the ‘Ton Up Club.’
Along with the Triton, the Thruxton helped to establish the cafe racer era. It was named after the Hampshire based Thruxton Circuit race track. Triumph had won the Thruxton 500 mile endurance race in 1969. The original Thruxton was based on the Triumph Bonneville from the Meriden Works factory. Two models were developed called the 900 and 1200. The 900 featured an upgraded 865 cc Triumph Bonneville engine and the 1200 came with 1200 cc four stroke twin.
The Egli-Vincent was crafted by Swiss frame fabricator Fritz Egli. In 1965, Egli raced his Vincent Rapide in the Swiss hill climb championship and came to the conclusion that compared to the Norton Manx, the chassis of the Vincent was out of date. He designed a new motorbike and raced with it in 1968.
The Egli-Vincent is one of the most beautiful cafe racers around. It had a lean, powerful body and great performance capabilities.
The Norvin is a combination of a Norton Featherbed frame and a Vincent 1000 cc V-Twin engine. The bike was created for the race track, but it transitioned into a popular street machine as well. It inspired a lot of workshops, with various components available depending on the kind of Norvin that you wanted.
The Rickman-Triumph was built by two racers called the Rickman Brothers, who designed their own frame and included a Triumph engine. Rickman frames were nickel-plated, making them very durable. It could be considered more of a race bike than a street bike, though the Rickman-Triumph is street-legal.
Image Credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ronsaunders47/