There have been many books published about BMW motorcycles, but until now none has covered the evolution of the BMW sport bike to the BMW café racer. A marque not commonly associated with the café racer scene, the growing trend of custom BMW café conversions is illustrated in detail with stunning images of sporting, racing and 'caféd' BMWs.
Showcasing fantastic BMW customs from all over the globe, and from the old to the new, this book presents them in all their innovative glory. Featuring owners' stories and technical descriptions, BMW Café Racers is a book guaranteed to interest BMW fans and members of the café racer scene alike.
From Airheads to Oilheads, modified singles to parallel twins, Fours and Concept 6s - see the 'caféd' side of BMW.
Mick Walker is acknowledged as one of the world's leading motorcycle authorities. In a career that has spanned almost fifty years, he has written over 110 books. He has also been a successful racer, tuner, team manager and talent scout. Mick has been involved in virtually every aspect of the motorcycle industry, even acting as the British Importer for several Italian marques, including Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Cagiva. During the 1980s he was editor of Motorcycle Enthusiast magazine. Most recently, in 2010, he was made president of the Italian Motorcycle Owners Club.
Originally used as a slur against riders who used hopped-up motorcycles to travel from one transport café to another, "café racer" describes a bike genre that first became popular in 1960s British rocker subculture … although the motorcycles were also common in Italy, France and other European countries. The rebellious rock 'n' roll counterculture is what first inspired these fast, personalized and distinctive bikes, with their owners often racing down public roads in excess of 100 miles per hour ("ton up," in British slang), leading to their public branding as "ton-up boys." Café Racers traces café racer motorcycles from their origins in the mid-20th century all the way into modern times, where the style has made a recent comeback in North America and Europe alike, through the museum-quality portraiture of top motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter and the text of motorcycle culture expert Paul d'Orléans. Chronologically illustrated with fascinating historical photography, the book travels through the numerous ever-morphing and unique eras of these nimble, lean, light, and head-turning machines. Café Racers visually celebrates a motorcycle riding culture as complex as the vast array of bikes within it.
What's old is new again, and the newest trend on the block is Café Racers.
Written by well-known motorcycle and automotive author Doug Mitchel, How to Build a Café Racer starts with a history lesson. While those first bikes were built in the UK for racing from café to café, the current rage for Café Racers has definitely spread to the US.
Converting a stock motorcycle to a Café Racer requires more than a fairing and a few decals. The book starts with chapters on planning and choosing an appropriate bike, followed by chapters that detail the modifications that will likely be embraced by anyone converting a stocker to a rocker. From shocks and tires to engine modifications, Doug's book lays out each type of modification and how it's best carried through.
The center of the book holds a gallery of finished bikes. These are not just Triumphs or Nortons, but nearly every brand imaginable from Japan, Italy, the UK, and Germany.
The final chapters include two, start-to-finish Café builds. This is the chance for the reader to see how professional shops take a stock Honda, Triumph, or Ducati and convert it into a fast, sexy, and functional Café Racer, ready to race from cafe to cafe on Saturday night, or around the race track on Sunday afternoon.
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.