Top 10 Cafe Racers

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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:

BMW R nineT Racer

What Is It?

Launching in 2017 BMW's R nineT Racer is, unsurprisingly, based on their R nineT models. Not the range topping R nineT though, it has more in common with the lower down R nineT Pure and R nineT Scrambler.

Still, it really looks the part and it's only really missing the premium suspension and wire spoked wheels from the top model.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £10,775
  • Engine: Boxer
  • Capacity: 1,170 cc
  • Power: 110 bhp / 82 kW
  • Top Speed: 125 mph / 201 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 170 miles / 274 km
  • Seat Height: 805 mm / 31.7 inches
  • Wet Weight: 220 kg / 485 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.500 bhp/kg
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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 with 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: £10,350
  • 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

Triumph Thruxton R

What Is It?

Based on the Bonneville T120 the Triumph Thruxton R 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 heavy.

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!

For 2020 there's also the higher spec Thruxton RS with more power, less weight, better brakes and some blacked out bits.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £11,700
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 1,200 cc
  • Power: 97 bhp / 72 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: 203 kg / 448 pounds

Triumph Street Cup

What Is It?

Launching in 2017 the Triumph Street Cup is essentially the retro Street Twin with lower clip-on bars, a mini fly screen, pillion seat hump, brushed exhaust, no fork gaiters and a tasty yellow / silver paint job.

Again it's a great model to base it on, with plenty of low down torque and hundreds of accessories available from the Triumph catalogue.

It's also A2 licence compliant with a restrictor however it's not the lightest bike out there.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £8,600
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 900 cc
  • Power: 54 bhp / 40 kW
  • Top Speed: 110 mph / 177 km/h
  • Economy: 60 mpg / 4.7 L/100km
  • Range: 160 miles / 257 km
  • Seat Height: 780 mm / 30.7 inches
  • Dry Weight: 200 kg / 441 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

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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: £5,700
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 648 cc
  • Power: 47 bhp / 35 kW
  • Top Speed: 110 mph / 177 km/h
  • Economy: 55 mpg / 5.1 L/100km
  • Range: 150 miles / 241 km
  • Seat Height: 793 mm / 31.2 inches
  • Wet Weight: 208 kg / 459 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.226 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

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: £6,000
  • 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

Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

What Is It?

This is the Abarth edition of Yamaha's XSR900, which itself launched in 2017 as the retro version of their super successful MT-09 angry naked model.

Each of the 695 limited editions turn it into a proper cafe racer with Carbon fairing, seat hump, low bars and Akrapovic Titanium exhaust.

There aren't many around though and the styling is slightly more modern than some of the others on this list.

You could of course buy a standard XSR900 and slowly turn it into a cafe racer yourself.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £7,850
  • Engine: Triple
  • Capacity: 847 cc
  • Power: 113 bhp / 84 kW
  • Top Speed: 145 mph / 233 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 140 miles / 225 km
  • Seat Height: 830 mm / 32.7 inches
  • Wet Weight: 195 kg / 430 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.579 bhp/kg

Sinnis Bomber

What Is It?

There aren't many 125cc cafe racers around but the Bomber absolutely nails the Triumph Thruxton styling and it's a lot of bike for the money.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £2,150
  • Engine: Single Cylinder
  • Capacity: 125 cc
  • Power: 12 bhp / 9 kW
  • Top Speed: 65 mph / 105 km/h
  • Economy: 80 mpg / 3.5 L/100km
  • Range: 180 miles / 290 km
  • Seat Height: 760 mm / 29.9 inches
  • Dry Weight: 125 kg / 276 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.