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October 23, 2019
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The Café Racer Phenomenon

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Carole Nash
Alastair Walker interview

The Café Racer Phenomenon

By Alastair Walker
About the Author

Paperback • 205x190mm • 96 pages • 100 colour and b&w pictures

ISBN: 978-1-845842-64-2

£ 16.99 Postage + P&P (eBook prices vary, and delivery is free)

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• The rebellious spirit of the '50s!
• Foreword by Paul Dunstall
• Personal memories of the '60s/'70s UK Café Racer scene
• Previously unpublished pictures
• Unique prototypes and specials
• World-beating motorcycles, made in garden sheds
• Interviews with bike builders including Norman Hyde
• The best and worst Café Racer manufacturers
• Fascinating past advertising
• Global directory of Café Racer information
• The bikes and the people of the Ace Café London today
• The Café Racer’s future in the 21st century.


The Café Racer is one of the most enduring styles of motorcycle ever created, capturing the rebellious spirit of the '50s. This is a look back at the glory days of the Café Racer, from Friday night dices on the North Circular, through the street specials craze of the Seventies, to the modern day revival.


The Café Racer captures the very essence of motorcycling, with its stripped-to-the-bone styling and a timeless blend of cat-quick chassis, matched to a barn-storming engine.
From its roots in the ’59 Club, home-brewed specials and the creation of the Triton by Dave Degens, the Café Racer became the must-have Rockers’ motorbike. It then became the template for a new generation of fast road riders in the 1970s, with the rise of Dunstall, Rickman, Seeley and many more bespoke bike builders.
The factories jumped on the bandwagon. Machines like the Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk I, Ducati 900SS and the MV Agusta 750S all captured the spirit of the Café Racer. Then the slick, super fast, Japanese sport bikes of the 80s came along, and looked set to consign the Café Racer special to the history books.
But a revival had to happen. The Ace Café London re-opened, bike builders as diverse as Wakan, Fred Krugger, Nick Gale and Roland Sands all began to create lean, back-to-basics motorcycles, but with their own unique twist on Café Racer heritage. From the Buell 1125 CR to the Guzzi V7 Sport, mainstream modern bikes have also re-discovered their street racing soul.
Packed with previously unseen photos, machine profiles, interviews, and personal anecdotes from the glory days of Café Racer culture, this book takes a look at the enduring cult of the Café Racer, in all its ton-up glory.

Independent Reviews

"If you were there at the time it is a must-have addition to the library, and if you were not, it may make you wish you were!" –

"A welcome book on the café racer scene ... a quick, but enjoyable look at some 'fab' bikes and good times." – Bike Rider

"If you're a biker of the '60s. cafe racer or not, you'll lap this book up. With plenty of photos and anecdotes galore, if you're simply interested in what makes motorcycling special, you'll like it too!" – Motorcycle Rider

"Photographs there are in plenty, the b/w pics of the sixties are to me especially interesting …" – Nacelle

"For anyone who lived through the motorcycle culture of the '50s, '60s, and '70s, or even those who didn't, the book is packed with info and images related to cafe racers and the Rockers who loved them. With a stack of black & white photos liberally scattered through its 96 pages, the tome traces the origin of the cafe racer and the rebellious spirit that went with it, going on to detail the uptake of the style by manufacturers themselves." – Motorcycle Trader

Additional Information

Café racers are not production motorcycles, so most machines in the book are essentially hand-built, low volume production models, or home-made specials.


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