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The café racer is one of the most enduring styles of motorcycle ever created, epitomizing the rebellious spirit of England in the 1950s. The Café Racer Phenomenon is author Alastair Walker's attempt to capture a strand of motorcycle history through the photos, records and memories of the people who were there.
From its roots in the '59 Club, home-brewed specials and the creation of 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 bikes in the 1970s, with the rise of Dunstall, Rickman, Seeley and many more bespoke bike builders. 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 sports bikes of the 1980s came along, setting out to consign the café racer special to the history books.
However, a revival had to happen. The Ace Café London re-opened, bike builders as diverse as Wakan, Fred Krugger, Nick Gale and Roland Sands began to create lean, back-to-basics motorcycles, but with their own unique twist on the café racer heritage. From the Buell 1125 CR to the Guzzi V7 Sport, mainstream modern bikes have also re-discovered their street racing soul.
It would be impossible to illustrate the span and influence of 50 years of English motorcycling history in one book, but The Café Racer Phenomenon is meant to provide a taste of this era to inspire a deeper interest within the hardcore classic motorcycling community. Featuring a huge, global café racer directory - listing specialist builders, spares suppliers, Web sites, etc. - alongside a unique mix of personal memoirs, unseen photos, iconic machines and chassis builders in profile, this book takes a look at the enduring cult of the café racer, in all its ton-up glory.
About the Author: Alastair Walker has been riding motorcycles for more than 30 years and writing about them for two decades. Starting off on a BSA, like his father and grandfather before him, Alastair moved on to owning several Japanese bikes before becoming a freelance motorbike journalist in the late 1980s. Since then he has tested hundreds of bikes, modern and classic, from a humble Honda CG125 to a 5.7-litre, V8-powered, Boss Hoss cruiser.