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Old 08-24-2006, 09:44 AM   #1
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I have been mis-pronouncing this whole time?

I was curious as to where Cafe' Racing got its name. I know some of the others on here has the wonder, too.:

Café racer
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the legendary AJS 7R 350 cc Boy racer
the legendary AJS 7R 350 cc Boy racer

A Cafe 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, amongst Italian motorcycle manufacturers and other European countries.

Rockers were a young and rebellious Rock and Roll counterculture that wanted a fast, personalised and distinctive bike to travel between transport cafés along the newly built arterial motorways 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.

Riders rejected the large transportation-oriented motorcyles of the time by taking these motorcycles and removing any unnecessary parts off them. The bikes had a raw, utilitarian and stripped-down appearance while the engines were tuned for maximum speed.

Because speed was valued more than comfort, bikes were fitted with single seats and low handle bars, such as ace bars, or even one-sided clip-ons mounted directly onto the front forks for more precise control and to escape the wind. Distinctive half or sometimes full race fairings, and large, hand-made, aluminium racing petrol/gas tanks were frequently left unpainted. Swept-back exhausts and rearset footpegs were used to give better clearance whilst leaning through corners at speed.

These motorcycles were lean, light and handled road surfaces well. The most defining machine of its heyday was the homemade Norton Featherbed framed and Triumph Bonneville engined machine called "The Triton". It used the most common and fastest racing engine combined with the best handling frame of its day, the Featherbed frame by Norton Motorcycles. Those with less money could opt for a "Tribsa" - the Triumph engine in a BSA frame

The cafe racer has a lot in common with the chopper or bobber scene in the USA and both have their roots with post-World War II veterans. While American GIs would take military-spec Harley Davidsons and "chop" off anything unnecessary to improve performance, European veterans took similar measures with their motorcycles. Both looked to make the standard factory motorcycles faster and lighter, although only the Europeans strived for better handling. The defining factor was the difference between the nature of the US and European road systems, the Americans favouring a low heavy cruiser style of motorcycle for straightline comfort; the Europeans preferring a higher, better handling motorcycle more suited to the more twisting roads of their nations.[citation needed] It must be remembered that it was also a style born largely out of the poverty of Post-War Europe and so not given to the excesses of later Harley-Davidson Billet-Barge style customisation.

Cafe Racers have also been called "Street-Fighters" in reference to World War II veterans' fighter airplanes and have been described as the original "sport bikes" of today.
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Old 08-24-2006, 09:46 AM   #2
what R you lookin' at?
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Old 08-24-2006, 09:58 AM   #3
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