Show off at the café.

Café racers are almost as old as motorcycling itself. The motorcycle type was created in times when relatively few sporty motorcycles were built. A standard motorcycle was converted into a more sporty version. It often got faster, louder and prettier. There are countless reasons to personalize a motorcycle. The name of the bikes already tells you why. -racers-, they became sportier and most often faster. -Café-, their owners liked to show their café racers to the public so cafés were visited frequently. The horizontal line in the design of café racers is something which catches the eye, as are the axles of the wheels which are the outer points.

Let’s get down to business. Calling a motorcycle ‘a high bike’ is, of course, a subjective topic. But to make it all a bit easier we drew a line at 31.5 inches. All bikes below 31.5 inches are classified as ‘motorcycles with a low seat height’. Above 31.5 inches we classify the bikes as ‘motorcycles with a high seat height’. We’ve done this with a perspective from riders who are around 5′ 6″ tall.

Model Seat height Weight Power Topspeed
Benelli Imperiale 400 30.7 in 200 kg 20 bhp 150 km/h
Kawasaki Z 900 RS Cafe 32.3 in 210 kg 121 bhp 250 km/h
Norton Commando 961 32 in 205 kg 80 bhp 175 km/h
Triumph Truxton 1200 31.7 in 203 kg 97 bhp 200 km/h


As you can see, there aren’t many models of motorcycles present in the table shown above. You might wonder why. Café racers are a unique phenomenon in the motorcycle world. And that’s the beauty about them. Many café racers are custom made. They often don’t just roll out of the factory. You’ll find the factor ‘comfort’ maybe halfway on the list. It’s all about the looks. The golden rules like “The horizontal line”, “The full tank should be the highest point of the bike” and “The axles of the wheels are the most outer points” make these bikes so unique.