Built for Speed – Suzuki GS1000 Cafe Racer

Recently I published our first custom motorcycle build by Mellow Motorcycles in Germany. While I was putting the story about their GS550 cafe racer together I happened across another great looking bike in their stable. It was built using an icon of 1970’s racing, a Suzuki made famous by Wes Cooley when he won the AMA Superbike Championship over two consecutive years, a 1979 GS1000. Not wanting to let it slip by I questioned workshop co-founder Flo Hubert about the bike. As it turned out the custom Suzuki GS1000 was built in close succession to the first bike, but their end goal with this build was less about show and more about go.
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Minsk Motorcycle – Sparta Kawasaki KZ400

I’m always excited to feature a build from a country we haven’t previously visited here on the Return of the Cafe Racers website. This Kawasaki KZ400 was put together in Minsk, Belarus a landlocked country in eastern Europe that’s bordered by Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Ukraine.  It also happens to be the result of a collaborative build, something I have undertaken myself and as a result have a huge respect for anyone else that’s done it. This particular build was spearheaded by ‘Sparta Garage’ and showcased at the ‘Recast Moto Fest‘ in Belarus earlier this year. Thanks to the magic of social media I had the opportunity to speak with Sparta Garage owner Spartak Malykevic about the development of the bike and it’s unveiling at the show.
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Accurate Description – Kawasaki Vulcan Cafe Racer

The Vulcan S ABS Café is Kawasaki’s “learner approved” cruiser. It’s styling is typical of all cruisers that follow in Harley’s footsteps with its laid back riding position, wide handlebars and over inflated bodywork (in my humble opinion). However, at it’s heart is an engine that uses the same configuration as some of the first motorcycles to ever be used for Cafe Racer conversions, a parallel twin. Granted the liquid cooled, Kawasaki 650 may not have the same aesthetic appeal as a pre-unit Bonneville, but to a romanticist the Vulcan engine is, in a roundabout way, a hommage to the legend. At least that’s how Mário of MRS Oficina felt about it when he was given the opportunity to customise one himself.
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Leather Clad Custom – Yamaha SR400 Cafe Racer

The Japanese custom motorcycle scene is arguably one of the most influential and progressive in the world. Japanese workshops like Cherry’s Company, Brat Style, Custom Works Zon and Ritmo Sereno have inspired builders around the world and have even been commissioned by motorcycle manufacturers to modify their newest models. Unfortunately in the past it has been difficult to get in touch with Japan’s home builders and enthusiasts, but all that’s slowly changing thanks to social media.

I recently stumbled across the Instagram profile of Cyu-G and his Yamaha SR400 cafe racer. Despite a language barrier we managed to communicate enough to put together the following interview to share the story of how his cafe racer came to be…
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Long Live The King – Yamaha RX Cafe Racer

I love the Indonesian custom motorcycle scene. It’s full of passionate young builders who aren’t afraid to give anything a go. It’s common to see young guys building their own bodywork from scratch or jumping head first into a complete engine rebuild that they’ve never attempted before. There’s a real can do attitude that’s evolved because of the environment in which they find themselves and it’s producing some great young talent. Today’s feature is the story of an engineering student who built his own cafe racer from scratch with little knowledge or funds at his disposal. This is his two stroke Yamaha RX K135 cafe racer and the following is his inspiring story…
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Now You See Me – Hidden Ducati 600SS

One of the great things about running this website is coming across a builder who does things a little differently. A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Maurizio Carraro the owner/operator of Imbarcadero14 Venice (IMB14). Maurizio had teamed up with legendary Japanese custom builder AnBu to build an awesome Moto Guzzi SP3 that had my jaw dragging on my keyboard. In just 3 short years the IMB14 portfolio contains over 20 impressive builds and with each one Maurizio’s own style is becoming more pronounced. For his latest build he and his team sank 300 hours into reimagining a Ducati 600SS and the result is as impressive as it is unique.
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Chill factor – Suzuki GS550 Cafe Racer

`Roaring machines to escape from the madness`

This is the mantra of newly formed ‘Mellow Motorcycles’ in the south of Germany. After running their own separate companies for several years workshop co-founders Flo Hubert and Amir Brajan combined their skills to form Mellow, taking a more relaxed approach to business than in their previous pursuits. Mellow aims to focus on the production of cafe racer styled custom motorcycles and their first build, a ’79 Suzuki GS550 paints a good picture of what the pairs capablities are.
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Brotherly Build – Honda CB550 Cafe Racer

Motorcycles came into my life a little over 5 years ago at the age of 28. In February of 2011, my mother passed away and then 2 months after in April, I lost my father as well. During this time, my twin brother Tyson decided that he was going to buy his first bike and learn to ride as an escape and something fun to do. Motorcycles always seemed like a lot of fun to me but they were never something that I felt like I needed to get into. My brother and I have also been playing music together for most of our lives so one night after a gig (and a few cocktails) my brother asked me what my PayPal password was. I told him and when I asked him why he needed it, he told me that I was going to take the riding course with him and that he had just signed me up. I wasn’t thrilled that he had just spent my money, but on the other hand, I knew that riding would be something that I enjoyed.  Even more importantly, however, I knew that riding together would be something that would keep us close through the most difficult time in our lives.
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The Ghost – Triumph Speed Triple

On one of my visits to Indonesia in 2015 I met Nicko Eigert the energetic young entrepreneur behind Bali’s Smoked Garage. Nicko’s workshop is quickly becoming one of Indonesia’s top custom workshops with a partner store located in Queensland, Australia. Last year, inspired by the Lotus C0-1 concept Nicko and his team constructed the Smoked Garage ‘Bronco Racer’. Built on a Kawasaki ER6N platform the project challenged them more than any build they’d undertaken before. Constructing a one-of-a-kind full aluminium body, revising frame geometry and designing a bespoke cooling system were just a few of the challenges they overcame. After delivering the Bronco to it’s new owner in Australia Nicko has been looking for an opportunity to produce another similarly styled motorcycle and 5 short months ago he got his chance.
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Sugar Kane – Suzuki GSX250 Cafe Racer

“We found this Suzuki GSX250 on a Greek island named Othonoi in the possession of a retired Lighthouse Keeper. Its journey to our workshop in Athens took 3 months instead of the normal 3 day journey, so it kind of stayed true to the island’s very history. Legend says that Othonoi was the home of the nymph Calypso who stalled Odysseus for seven years, so we believed the bike itself had been lost or forgotten wandering the seas. I guess it was a stroke of luck that it ever arrived!”
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