Motorcycle culture was founded on counterculture. Societal rebels, outlaws and drifters were some of the first to accept two-wheeled transportation as their way of life, and the association has stuck through the years. In the ’60s and ’70s young guns in England’s city scenes would take stock bikes, hot rod them and then race from cafe to cafe — thus, the cafe racer was born. Flash-forward 50 years, and the cafe racer–style motorcycle has made a come back in popularity and is once again a symbol of the rebellious motorcyclist. It’s a trend the big manufacturers have caught on to and embraced. Of their takes on the genre, these five made the best impression from the saddle.
A Custom Cafe Racer, from the Ducati Factory
Now that mass-market manufacturers are riding the appealing and lucrative wave of counterculture, we indeed might just be at the peak of the cafe racer.
Yamaha’s Answer to the Cafe Question
Introduced last year, the XSR 900 is Yamaha’s answer to the hipster/modern/classic niche dominating much of the moto scene.
BMW’s Retro Racer
It’s easily the Belle of the BMW Motorrad’s ball, and though it was built with customizers in mind, there’s little that needs changing from stock.
What’s New from Moto Guzzi
To celebrate 50 years of their iconic V7, Moto Guzzi introduced the retro-inspired V7 III line of modern classics.
A Cafe Racer for the 21st Century
Cafe racers are meant to evoke the past, but Triumph’s all new Thruxton R is every bit a modern-day motorcycle. And it’s well worth the wait.