There are several things to love about the cafe racer scene. For one, there’s no “right” way to do a cafe bike. Sure, certain styling cues are often in play -- except when they aren’t, but the design works anyway. For another, you can find builders in Argentina, Cyprus, Indonesia, India -- seriously, they’re everywhere, and none of them look alike. It’s a rolling art scene, and you’re invited; this scene is incredibly DIY, and many builders get their start just tinkering around in their home garages.

Cafe racers originated back in the day as simple, stripped down bikes that owners customized themselves using whatever was around. Function was the main goal; the slim, compact form that has come to define “cafe racer” in most minds was the natural result.

Some modern cafe racers are paens to the glorious designs of the past, using period-correct parts and rejecting all concessions to modernity. In our opinion, the better ones also make use of how far motorcycle technology has come in areas like suspension and braking. The best ones? The best ones are simply out of this world. Check out our list of 20 Cafe Racer Builders You Should Know.

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