I love bikes, and bikers with a passion for their chosen ride! But I do struggle with certain crazes and scenes that erupt within our ranks.
For starters, what about all those nasty single and twin cylinder bikes for the 70s and 80s which, like cockroaches, have failed to die? They’re now the very bikes that certain sectors of the motorcycling culture now crave and yearn for.
The appeal of motorcycles for many is to take a stock machine and make it your own. There’s always been an appetite for messing up a perfectly good motorcycle. my first real experiences were in the late 80s when motorcycles began appearing with more bodywork on them (great).
When they were crashed or in some instances simply fell off the stand, repair bills were costly thanks to the ridiculously high manufacturer prices for some bits of plastic.
Sure there was the cheaper option of pattern fairings. but if you ever bought one you’d quickly realise you only get what you pay for. Ill fitting, nasty quality, and even if it did fit you still had to paint it, and then buy stickers. But Suddenly the street fighter scene invented itself, with naked GSXR’s with Renthal flat bars even looking quite good to a point. Then what started out as a temporary fix for write off bikes became a scene.
Uncrashed bikes started being made to look smashed up, something all these years later the manufacturers now do from new. The Triumph 675 street triple and some Ducati naked bikes all look like they’ve been designed in a scrap yard.
With the home grown street fighter machines now costing a small fortune to create – where can the budget biker go next to build a cost effective one off?
The café racer scene appears to be one sector that’s enjoying a comeback, but there’s more to building a true café racer than fitting a single seat unit and some ace bars.
An original café racer would obviously have been a British based bike. The craze started in the 50s and by the early 70s had pretty much died out, probably thanks to the new Japanese super bikes on offer. Over the last few years the café racer vibe has been wheeled out again, but for some reason people are spunking good money on bikes like Yamaha’s SR500.
That’s like the original rockers choosing to use a Sunbeam S7 instead of a Gold Star (ask your dad) to create a ton up greasy spoon racer.
Another spin off from the café racer scene is the flat tracker; these are a little easier to build.
Get on eBay, pump in flat tracker seat and for less than £50 you’re on your way, these replica fibreglass seats are the magic addition to any 70s or 80s single cylinder shitter, to make them slightly more rubbish.
The final in this cursed trilogy of thrill seekers is the Bobber, I will be honest here and say proudly that I’ve absolutely no idea what a Bobber is? A quick Google image search reveals neither do many owners judging by the pictures thrown back at me, they must be like the fancy dress of the bike world. Great if there’s a few of you into them – but lonely if you’re the only one dressed as Batman on the last bus home.
(For a different view on Cafe racers, flat trackers and bobbers – read Dan’s response to this article)