Top 10 Best Cafe Racers (2021)

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Cafe Racers couldn't be more on trend right now and they mostly start out as other models with a few mods to "cafe racerise" them.

Increasingly the inevitable racer version is being designed in from the start and some of the latest models to hit the dealers go as well as they look. What is a cafe racer?

The Best Cafe Racers:

Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR

What Is It?

For 2022 Triumph have built on their already excellent Speed Triple 1200 RS with a headlight fairing, single round headlight, low clip-on bars, stickier tyres, scrolling LED indicators and Ohlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active electronic suspension to create the perfect modern cafe racer.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £17,950
  • Engine: Triple
  • Capacity: 1,160 cc
  • Power: 178 bhp / 133 kW
  • Top Speed: 170 mph / 274 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 40 L/100km
  • Range: 140 miles / 225 km
  • Seat Height: 830 mm / 32.7 inches
  • Wet Weight: 199 kg / 439 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.894 bhp/kg

Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe

What Is It?

Brand new for 2018 the Kawasaki's Z900RS Cafe is based on the equally new Z900RS retro version of the angry modern naked Z900 and that's a great start!

The Z900RS versions have a de-tuned engine, a fancy "retro style" modern dash, LED lighting, cast wheels designed to look a bit like wire spokes, modern niceties like traction control and a slip / assist clutch.

The Cafe version is essentially the same as the excellent Z900RS but with a cafe screen added to a slightly lowered headlight, a new seat with a hump, lower mirrors and lower handlebars. The end result is pretty striking and it has proved very popular.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £10,950
  • Engine: Inline Four
  • Capacity: 948 cc
  • Power: 110 bhp / 82 kW
  • Top Speed: 140 mph / 225 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 170 miles / 274 km
  • Seat Height: 820 mm / 32.3 inches
  • Wet Weight: 216 kg / 476 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.509 bhp/kg

Husqvarna Vitpilen 701

What Is It?

The Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 is unique on this list, both in looks and choice of engine. It makes use of the KTM Duke 690 powerplant and associated WP APEX suspension so handling, responsive power and braking are all ticked.

Then it's all about the styling, which is the main reason to consider one. Equipment is generous with LED lighting, a quickshifter and Brembo calipers but the chances are you will buy this on looks alone.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £7,550
  • Engine: Single Cylinder
  • Capacity: 693 cc
  • Power: 74 bhp / 55 kW
  • Top Speed: 120 mph / 193 km/h
  • Economy: 55 mpg / 5.1 L/100km
  • Range: 150 miles / 241 km
  • Seat Height: 830 mm / 32.7 inches
  • Dry Weight: 158 kg / 348 pounds

Triumph Thruxton RS

What Is It?

Based on the Bonneville T120 the Triumph Thruxton features the High Power version of Triumph's 1,200cc engine, so it's geared more towards top speed than every day low down torque like many of the others listed here.

It has the seat hump and low clip on bars you would expect from a cafe racer but the headlight cowl isn't standard and needs be added from the accessories catalogue.

It looks amazing but is quite pricey and quite heavy. Triumph updated it in 2020 to the Thruxton RS with more power, less weight, better brakes and some blacked out bits.

If you like the Thruxton then check out the 2019 Triumph Speed Twin. It's a similar concept but uses the High Torque engine with a more relaxed riding position and less overall weight. Many Thruxton owners have their eye on one!

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £13,000
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 1,200 cc
  • Power: 104 bhp / 78 kW
  • Top Speed: 130 mph / 209 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 140 miles / 225 km
  • Seat Height: 810 mm / 31.9 inches
  • Dry Weight: 197 kg / 434 pounds

Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer

What Is It?

Originally launched in 2017 the Ducati's Scrambler Cafe Racer is one of the better looking of the many Scrambler models, it's really light, has bar end mirrors and comes with the Termignoni muffler.

Unfortunately the tank range is very limited but if you really want attention it should do the job. For 2019 it gets a new paint job, cornering ABS and a new dash which includes both a fuel gauge and gear position indicator.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £10,000
  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 803 cc
  • Power: 72 bhp / 54 kW
  • Top Speed: 120 mph / 193 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 130 miles / 209 km
  • Seat Height: 805 mm / 31.7 inches
  • Wet Weight: 196 kg / 432 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.367 bhp/kg

Gear

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650

What Is It?

Despite looking properly retro it's a ground up new design with plenty of character, a fairly relaxed riding position, low learner friendly seat and plenty of shiny bits to polish.

If you aren't bothered about having all the modern electronics behind the scenes it could tick the cafe box with plenty of pennies to spend on the parts catalogue.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £6,300
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 648 cc
  • Power: 47 bhp / 35 kW
  • Top Speed: 110 mph / 177 km/h
  • Economy: 65 mpg / 4.3 L/100km
  • Range: 180 miles / 290 km
  • Seat Height: 793 mm / 31.2 inches
  • Wet Weight: 208 kg / 459 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.226 bhp/kg

Husqvarna Vitpilen 401

What Is It?

The Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 is the A2 licence friendly smaller brother to the 701 and is based on the KTM Duke 390 engine, suspension and brakes. It looks equally stunning but uses Brembo's budget ByBre calipers.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £4,850
  • Engine: Single Cylinder
  • Capacity: 373 cc
  • Power: 43 bhp / 32 kW
  • Top Speed: 105 mph / 169 km/h
  • Economy: 70 mpg / 4.0 L/100km
  • Range: 150 miles / 241 km
  • Seat Height: 835 mm / 32.9 inches
  • Dry Weight: 151 kg / 333 pounds

Suzuki SV650X

What Is It?

Suzuki's SV650X isn't pretending to be anything more than the venerable SV650 with a cafe fairing around the headlight, low bars and a cafe racer style seat.

That isn't a bad thing though because the SV650 has quite a following and this iteration looks especially good with the optional dual LED fog lights. It's a lot of bike for the money.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £7,000
  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 645 cc
  • Power: 75 bhp / 56 kW
  • Top Speed: 130 mph / 209 km/h
  • Economy: 60 mpg / 4.7 L/100km
  • Range: 190 miles / 306 km
  • Seat Height: 790 mm / 31.1 inches
  • Wet Weight: 198 kg / 437 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.379 bhp/kg

Kawasaki W800 Cafe

What Is It?

For 2019 Kawasaki have resurrected and upgraded their popular W800 Street model and added a cafe racer version to boot.

It's now Euro 4 compliant and A2 licence friendly but surprisingly still air-cooled for maximum retro effect. You do get a modern LED headlight and ABS subtly designed in though.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £9,100
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 773 cc
  • Power: 47 bhp / 35 kW
  • Top Speed: 115 mph / 185 km/h
  • Economy: 50 mpg / 5.6 L/100km
  • Range: 160 miles / 257 km
  • Seat Height: 790 mm / 31.1 inches
  • Wet Weight: 223 kg / 492 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.211 bhp/kg

FB Mondial HPS 125 Hipster

What Is It?

The A1 licence friendly Hipster 125 is designed in Italy and built by Zongshen in China, with final quality checks in Italy. So you are basically getting oodles of Italian styling, an engine design from the Aprilia RS125 and it all built to a competitive price point. 

The attention to detail is impressive from the leather seat, to the bar end mirrors, upside down fork and wavy discs.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £3,700
  • Engine: Single Cylinder
  • Capacity: 124 cc
  • Power: 15 bhp / 11 kW
  • Top Speed: 75 mph / 121 km/h
  • Economy: 80 mpg / 3.5 L/100km
  • Range: 160 miles / 257 km
  • Seat Height: 785 mm / 30.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 130 kg / 287 pounds

Want To See More Bikes Like This?

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How Did We Rank Our Top Ten?

We looked at all the best cafe racers you can buy and picked the top contenders, taking into account style, power, technology and value for money.

What Is A Cafe Racer?

What is a cafe racer motorbike?

Cafe racers tend to take a retro styled naked bike then add a seat hump where the pillion would sit, low clip-on handlebars and a small screen / fairing around the single headlight up front.

Lowering the handlebars creates a more aggressive low riding position to keep wind drag down to a minimum but it does mean they aren't the most comfortable of bikes for long distances.

Racers were originally about lightweight speed and handling but these days it's more of a styling exercise to cash in on the demand for modern retro bikes.

Check out the other types of motorbikes.