Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Cafe Racer - Ever wondered about how the name came to be?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by 2up, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. I hope this hasn't been posted before. I did a quick search and nothing leapt out.....

    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, 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 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, 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.

    ....love the sport of record racing...I'd put on "Bat Out Of Hell". That runs for over 10 mins... :grin:
  2. Great bit'o history 2up :grin:

    And I'm sure you're familiar with "Cafe Racer" in St.Kilda then? It's former owner was (is still?) a motorbiker, who named his cafe with the Kaff racers in mind that you mention :grin:

    Motorbikers used to frequent it most afternoons over the weekend ... then the cyclists discovered the great coffee to be had there and decended upon it in their literal hundreds for their pre and post ride coffees ... of which I was one :p

    It changed owners June this year, coffee is still great though ... the regulars made sure the new owners got well-trained! :LOL:
  3. yeah that is awesome :)

    I love those bikes, nearly thinking a project would be in order (on the list of all the other projects I'd love to start if I had a shed)

    +1 for bat out of hell, that'd be far easier to beat the record then :)
  4. 2up - great find mate - I had no idea.

  5. and here I was thinking it was because they raced from one latte establishment to another :LOL:
  6. The Ace cafe in London is back in business too, trading on its history and the nostalgia theme (after many years as a car dealership). It now gets as many old sportscar boys as bikers but there's a special affinity with the two-wheelers.
  7. +1 we never stop learning
    Thanks 2up!

  8. It wasn't really a secret.
  9. Maybe not for you old Timer :p
    I found it interesting :grin:
  10. Yeah, it is interesting. I always wondered if there was something like that over here, but aside from the Kew Boulevarde, I know of nothing.

    "Old Timer" ...... At least I have lived this long, Laddie. Hopefully you will do the same, you disrespectful young puppy.
  11. Some years back now a guy used to run a borderline legal hotdog trailer at the bottom of the Reefton Spur in the carpark next to the bridge there. Riders would order a hotdog, steak sandwich, whatever, and then go for a sprint up the Reefton to the ranger's gate about one-third of the way up, and back again, and with any luck would pull up to a hot meal straight off the hot-plate.

    That's perhaps the closest thing that Victoria has had to the concept. One of the trailer owner's friends was a regular Spur rider but overcooked a corner one day and put himself head on into an oncoming car. After that incident the guy with the stall was quite grief stricken and soon packed up never to return.
  12. Was that the bloke called "foxy" who had an arm in a sling?
  13. Don't know. I think I recall that the stall owner's name was Terry (??). We're talking >10 years ago now.
  14. ok, not sure about Terry. Foxy was 20 years ago now.
  15. Love interesting bits of riding history/trivia like that - thanks! :applause:
  16. Whether that aspect is true I cannot say, but the guy with the sling (nerve damage from bike accident, BTW), told me that he lost the licence to occupy that site, to a 'mate' of one of the local councillors. Who subsequently never bothered to occupy it himself.
    That's what he told me anyway.
  17. you'd be hard pushed to use that route nowadays, theres two speed cameras, and 6 sets of lights along there now :D
  18. Not untill you brought it up :p . As soon as I read the title, I kinda had it pegged with cafe's, and Italians. Close, but no cigar.

    Very interesting tid bits indeed boys :wink: .
  19. ...and the 59 Club exists in Oz and have for some time (www.the59club.org.au) as do the Tonup Boys (www.tonupboys.com). Cafe racers are alive and well both old and new versions (including the riders :LOL:)

    +1 to 'interesting tidbits' above :)
  20. To be a member of the Ton Up Club, It originated from the Ace cafe, but you had to exceed 100 mph over a given distance of One mile, in London, during peak hour,
    In Melbourne it was the Kew Boulavard or the south eastern freeway during peak hour, I am still a Rocker and a member of the Ton Up Club.
    Ozzie one, Man, those were the days, We only had amphometers, and you could see them on the road.