Right, so what's a Cafe Racer then?
England, the fifties. Rock and Roll hit like ten
thousand volts of adrenalin exploding inside anyone
young enough to dance and old enough to smoke.
Youth culture was born with the absolute Beginners
and found its eternal soundtrack in Rock and Roll. So
we got the raddio, daddyo, now how about the ride,
Clyde? The price of a cage (automobile) was far out of
reach for the young, and in any case, postwar petrol
was still being tightly rationed. But a second hand BSA
or a 750 Norton (the snortin' Norton), well... get on,
baby. With nominal engine tuning, many bikes would
do the ton (100 mph), and a black leather jacket and
pants were the natural skin of choice.
And the place for a youth rocker to be? Why, the
cafe on the motorway, of course. Pubs? Full of boring
old drunks. Boring. Youth gotta burn, y'know? Gotta
be the caff. Get a cuppa, get a Gene Vincent number on
the jukebox and steal a few sidelong glances at that new
bird that keeps looking your way. Perfect. Before long
the fine sport of record racing was created-start a song
on the juke, dash out to the bikes, wick it up to a
predetermined point some distance away and try to
make it back before the song's up. Alive. No sport for
drunks. The sharply focused, hyper-acute animal joy
of the senses and the overpowering experience of speed;
now that's entertainment.
Not Surprisingly, the British rockers idolized the
top motorcycle roadracers of the day nearly as much as
their favorite singers. John Surtees, Geoff Duke...
Heroes. And rocker bikes were modified to resemble
the factory racers as much as possible: low handlebars,
rearset footpegs, even solo seats, all designed to move
the rider from the upright "sit up and beg" position
to the more effective and purposeful "racer's crouch":
head forward, feet back. All for maximum control of
the machine. Built for speed and 100% fatfree.
The Cafe Racer. Head first, Rock and Roll, and
devil take the hindmost.
Don't let anybody tell you different.
Art. Speed. Liberty. DANGEROUS DESIGN is born of the
culture of speed and is dedicated to increasing the speed
of the culture.
DANGEROUS DESIGN-BAD IDEAS FOR LIVING SINCE 1988