History of the Cafe Racer

 

A Café racer, originally pronounced “caff” (as in Kaff) racer, is a type of motorcycle as well as a type of motorcyclist. Both meanings have their roots in the 1960s British counterculture group the Rockers or the Ton Up Club, although they were also common in Italy and Germany and other European countries.

Rockers were a young and rebellious Rock and Roll counterculture that wanted a fast, personalized and distinctive bike to travel between transport cafés along the newly built arterial motor-ways in and around British towns and cities. The goal of many was to be able to reach 100 miles per hour (called simply “the ton”) along such a route where the rider would leave from a cafe, race to a predetermined point and back to the cafe before a single song could play on the jukebox, this was called record-racing. They are remembered as being especially fond of Rockabilly music and their image is now embedded in today’s rockabilly culture.

A classic example of this was to race from the Ace Cafe on The North Circular road in NW London to the Hanger Lane junction as it then was – it is now the more famous Hanger Lane Gyratory System – and back again. The aim was to get back to the Ace Cafe before the record you’d put onto the jukebox had finished. Given that some of the Eddie Cochran tunes that were in vogue at this time were less than 2 minutes long, the racers would have had to traverse the three miles round trip at extremely high speed.

An Excerpt from Wikipedia “Cafe Racer”
More info can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cafe_racer
 
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