With Royal Enfield launching the twins (Continental GT 650 and the Interceptor 650) in the far west, one of our readers back home has expressed his love for café racers and how they have evolved since their inception. With the launch of the 650 twins in North America, for the first time the Royal Enfield has introduced the café racer with a twin cylinder engine since 1970. When it comes to India later this year, customers will now have another option apart from the single cylinder 535cc Continental GT. Royal Enfield made its first twin cylinder 500cc engine which was seen in earlier models like the Meteor, Super Meteor and, ultimately, the original Interceptor of 1960. Fast Bikes India reader Harsh Joglekar wrote to us about what he thinks of café racers and how they have evolved in time.
As I imagined, I started writing this article on a rainy day with music playing loudly in my ears and a cup of tea to go with the weather. Just like this, somewhere in Britain in the early 1960’s, a few bikers came up with the term “Café Racer” for the bikes they used to just travel around in the city hopping from one cafe to another. It is said that old is gold. It truly is. A café racer as I see is the most simplistic yet elegant version of speed that you can find in this world. It is the perfect machine for the laid back riders who love the wind in their hair, the sun in their eyes, and in general a connection with the environment.
A vintage beauty with an underlying heritage is how most people see café racers. Only a true lover knows that there’s more to café racers than just heritage. For a diehard café racer enthusiast, a café racer is the purest essence of freedom that you can experience. Far away from the chains of tacky electronics and extensive bodywork, a café racer is the ultimate riding experience solely dependent on the rider’s skill. Café racers, as every enthusiast will agree, are meant to be built and not bought because I think they have the ability of bringing out the artiste in a rider. Café racing is a form of expression and it is the art of depicting one’s self in a motorcycle. Café racers, as I believe, can mirror the rider’s personality on two wheels. The culture of cafe racing to me is what fashion is to designers. It’s the ultimate way to really go beyond your imagination and give the world something with a uniqueness of its own. Every café racer has its own style, its own aura, its own charisma, which is unique to every bike. It is all about spending time and building a machine that breathes soul into the rider’s veins. It is about opening up to a wave of emotions and sweat that leads to the fabrication of a surreal piece of motorcycle art. What else would I want from my life if I wake up to a V-Twin or a Flat Twin snore from a bike that I built? It is the ultimate fantasy. For many, it is a journey of countless hours of hard work, effort and persistence.
It is nice to see motorcycle companies making quite an effort to bring back café racers by giving them a modern twist. I must say that I am a big fan of the new Ducati Scrambler cafe racer, the Triumph Thruxton R and the BMW R Nine T. Although I would, any time, prefer building a café racer from an old Honda CB750.
Since the idea of building a cafe racer and racing it seems a little far-fetched for a 19 year old with no job, the dream still lives on.