Talk:Café racer

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Royal Enfield Bullet -isnt that one famous custom made cafe racer? Praka123 (talk) 10:30, 21 September 2008 (UTC)


I'd like to be pedantic here.

A Cafe Racer is a Cafe Racer.

Not a Café Racer.

Indeed, they were originally spoken " Caff Racers " as they were used to race from Caff [ pronounced Kaff ] to Caff.

Again, this is a British thing. Not a french thing. If you want to be accurate, Wiki to be accuate, do not apply " dictionary rules " unless you actually know - or were involved - with the actual history of these things and know that you are right. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mitsu (talkcontribs) at 19:33, September 21, 2005

Actually, you don't need to be a part of the history to discuss something. There is no word in the world that is spelt "cafe" - it is always "café". Some people pronounce "café" as "kaff", but it is still SPELT "café". Some people pronounce "bath" as "barth", but it doesn't mean it's ever spelt that way - some people PRONOUNCE "café" as "caff" or "kaff", but it doesn't mean it's ever SPELT that way. The title should stay. --Andyroo316 04:55, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
Well actually... if you read carefully what the originally editor wrote, you can see that they are making the point the history does matter a lot. Because apparently according to them the reason for it is because they raced from Caff to Caff, not because of anything originally doing with "café". Mathmo Talk 05:04, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Someone should have told Mitsu (four years ago!) that original research carries no extra weight at wikipedia. This subject indeed should have a page. This one, as is stands, is nowhere near up to wiki standards and I wouldn't feel the need to comment except it reeks of the same elitist attitude that seems to rear its ugly head whenever the subject of what a cafe racer really is is raised. What's hogwash about the whole issue is one would think that the only people customizing motorcycles to go fast at the time were located in the vicinity of NW London, or wherever the locale of the elitist thinks these "racers" were hanging out at- or that they were the source of the ideas for the modifications in the first place. Everyone in the years since with similar intents customizing their machine is held to their image, like it or not, and told they aren't "real cafe racers". Strangely enough, not usually by those real cafe racers.Batvette (talk) 03:36, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Needs big does of objectivity, and sourcing[edit]

You could say this about most motorcycle type/subculture/group/club articles: It was written by someone too close to the subculture, and they are tendentiously trying to act as a cultural gatekeeper, defining what is and isn't normative in that group. The cure, of course, is to source everything: delete the personal opinions and replace them with what reliable secondary sources tell us.--Dbratland (talk) 17:31, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Dear God, somebody PLEASE tell me this is an elaborate hoax[edit]

I've heard the term "café racer" for nigh on 25 years now, in both the motorcycle and car cultures, used to describe someone with a fast car or bike who prefers to sit around in a café talking about how capable his machine is rather than actually driving or riding it. A poser, in other words. Gribbles (talk) 16:03, 27 August 2010 (UTC)


The article claims that ex-servicemen who served in WWII created the first cafe racers and while this may be strictly true, the movement is (POV here) usually associated with a rather younger age-group. Also, the similarity with the 'bobber' movement in the US is more apparent than real, since no part of the machines mentioned in the article has its origins in ex-WWII machines. (The featherbed was well post-war, as was the Bonneville engine). Cafe racers made from M21s and 16Hs were, to say the least, distinctly uncommon. (talk) 11:50, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Too right. Yeah, you're right the idea of ex-servicement from WWII creating caff racers is a mistaken myth. They'd be far too old by that time. There might have been a few de-mobbed national service boys who did but not as a rule. It does not seem to be in the article any more anyway. --Bridge Boy (talk)

Propose move from Café Racer to Cafe Racer[edit]

This seems to have come up before but I think it is worth saying again. Although café might be the correct way to spell the word, it was not the way it was spelt in England, nor pronounced. It was "Cafe" and pronounced caff, phonetically "kaff" with a hard c (e.g. not saff). I see many of the references actually follow this norm, Cafe racer not Café racer, and there are plenty of related references to "caffs" and "transport caffs".

The topic should be cafe racer.

For them what was not there ... caffs were basically working class greasy spoons and any "cafés" were posh. Sure as hell no café would let a load of rockers in. I accept that modern usage has evolved to include "caffay", and I suspect this has come about partly from people reading the words in a book and not knowing how to pronounce them and, secondly, from a change in the demographics of bikers and cafe racer types as biking has gone upmarket.

Caff is still a common pronunciation in the UK. There are plenty of references to this if you look for them.

I think it is one of the situations, as with the Hell's Angels apostrophe, where uninformed and uneducated-in-the-ways-of-the-subculture copyeditors have tried to enforce "proper" standards and only confused matters. --Bridge Boy (talk) 21:30, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

That's nice and all, but where are your sources for all this? --Dennis Bratland (talk) 22:36, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Pratt, American Motorcyclist, dated 1963. What's your rational to keep it Café? I don't see you arguing the toss for Hell's which surely you should be by the logic you are applying.
You can start with ..., e.g. Custom bikes, Peter Henshaw, Peter Henshaw, 1994, or read the topic page itself. These are for "cafe". I am working my way to the earliest and just added couple from Popular Mechanics, dated Sep 1973. This ought to be pretty convincing Top five bikers' cafes. I am confident all the contemporaneous ones are going to be "cafe", because that is what they were. A café in England, where the racer trend started, is a cafe. Caff for cafe is common usage in the UK (and well referenced too).
'Take the Kids England', 3rd edition. Fullman, Joseph. New Holland Publishers, 1 Jun 2007. P. 21 ... "It's available at hotels and 'caffs' or 'greasy spoons' (the BRitish version of the café) across the country." [1]
You can have up to date ones if you want, e.g. [2], or American ones for the Harley-Davidson XLCR (Tod Rafferty, Complete Harley Davidson: A Model-By-Model History of the American Motorcycle, 1997. There is really no argument against it.
If you don't know the book and site but you ought to check this out ... The Very Best of London's Vintage Formica Caffs. These are the type of caffs where it all started --Bridge Boy (talk) 04:20, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, missed out Classic Cafe URL/book reference above. So, any movement on this? ––Bridge Boy (talk) 06:37, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

FYI GS1000S[edit]

FYI, I took out "Suzuki offered the café-style GS1000S" because arguably it was actually modelled on the factory superbike racer and not a caff racer. --Bridge Boy (talk) 04:29, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Google Trends[edit]

Can I ask what is the point of the Google Trends sentence? It's a highly dubious metric for several reasons, and is it really helping anybody? I think you could find cultural pundits who would say cafe racers are hip or trendy in the same way fixie bikes or artisanal beer is "a thing" in certain urban areas. BikesnobNYC for example: [3][4]. How does that play out in the rest of America? Where more than half of bikes are Harleys? To say nothing of the rest of the world? Very hard to say. We can say that bikes like the Ducati SportClassics, an niche of a niche products, are now gone. Maybe not so hot.

I think the best way to talk about this is to directly quote the opinions of authors who have spent time on this, for example from Mike Seate's book, or Paul D'Orléans. Get a quote like, Seat wrote in 2008 that "Cafe bikes are big now!" or "D'Orleans said in 2014 that, "Cafe conversions are the hot trend today." It's merely an opinion but those guys are considered experts so their opinions can be quoted. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 04:45, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Suzuki S40[edit]

Suzuki S40 customised in a café racer style[1][2]

There have been a couple IPs who have some kind of a problem with the Suzuki S40 bike. Either claiming it's not a "real" cafe racer, or spuriously making up a Wikipedia rule that you can't show images of logos. There's no such policy against the appearance of a logo on a photo of a product, whether it's stock or an aftermarket kit. I added two sources saying the S40 is a cafe racer.

I think the photo enhances this article because it helps to illustrate the range of bikes that fall under the cafe racer name. If there are purists who think that's wrong, they should cite a recognized authority who says so, and we will attribute that opinion to them in the article. Please see WP:IJDLI for why we don't remove content just because somebody somewhere doesn't like it. I think it's an ugly bike but that's besides the point. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 20:04, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Ryca CS-1 cafe racer", BikeEXIF, Mar 13, 2012 
  2. ^ "Ryca CS-1 – Suzuki S40 Cafe Conversion by Paul Crowe", The Kneeslider, 2014 
It looks kinda weird having citations in captions, but I just did it myself in another article (here). I wonder if there is a more elegant way to do this? — Brianhe (talk) 01:55, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
I know. But when the caption asserts a fact -- that the S40 custom is a cafe racer -- and a couple IPs dispute that fact because it has no "relation to cafe racer culture" or doesn't meet "basic cafe racer performance and handling specifications" then it seems like citations are needed.[5][6]. But we know there's no requirement that a bike have a relationship with cafe racer culture, and there are no such thing as "specifications" for cafe racers. So the citations could be deleted on the grounds that the "controversy" over the S40 is manufactured. I get the sense that somebody just has an axe to grind against the kit vendor. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 02:07, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the inclusion. The very fact that it is not viewed as a "real" cafe racer makes inclusion even more valid - to show that the cafe racer culture is not just limited to Norton, Triumph, etc, and has a wider audience. Chaheel Riens (talk) 12:48, 12 November 2014 (UTC)