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Buying a Café Racer with absolutely no Clue where to Start –Comprehensive Guide

Buy a Café RacerIn the hot summer sun it is more than impossible to look composed and cool in a car. You will be longing for the wind to glide over your face just to provide you with some form of relief but just won’t get it. For many, this is the time they get all frustrated and sort of hopeless. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. You can get a bike for yourself and your better half. To cruise around town with your hairs blowing in the wind. And not in just any bike, you can get a café racer – yes the old, vintage looking motorbikes. If there are bikes that know how to soothe a man’s ego, then these are it. However, the problem that many individuals face and probably the reason why you are reading this article is to know how to choose the best cafe racer there is in the market. Now if this is the case, we have got you covered. Below is a comprehensive guide that will help you choose the best café racer bike for you (and without having to spend all the money you had saved up in the process.

Below are the considerations you ought to make:

The cost of ownership – actual cost

It is true motorcycles are far cheaper, no scratch that, affordable than most cars. And while they actually achieve better mileage than cars, the total cost of owning a bike can exceed many of the car brands available in the market if you do not make your choice wisely.

The bike

For starters, the price of the bike is one that should be a major concern. You should not rush to purchase a bike that you can barely afford without having to take a loan on it. This might come as a shock to you but on average a café racer bike fit for a beginner in this lifestyle may cause one to part with anything between $5,000 and $10,000.

You should also do a little research on the base bike that was used. Given that the café racer is built upon a vintage motorcycle, it will require some (technical) knowledge of the bike. Two left hands? Or just looking for a more reliable bike? In that case you should take a look at some modern café racers.


Just like cars, you will need to get insurance for your bike. The fact that it is vintage does not mean that it requires no insurance – it faces the same risks as the modern new upgrade bikes face. Insurance however depends on your record as a driver. If you have a spotless record, then you will most definitely get a decent rate from your insurance company. But is that all that goes in to factor the amount to pay as insurance? Sorry to burst your bubble but that is not all. The population density, model of the bike and theft rate affect greatly the insurance rate you are provided with.

You could try and shop around for the best rate but you should know for a fact and expect to fork out some good amount of cash.

Maintenance and equipment

This is where things get tricky. You can go broke trying to keep your café racer in tip top shape. Unlike cars, motorbikes cannot go for long distances without a proper check-up and probably belt and spark replacement. The tires on a motorcycle can especially be very costly going for anything between $400 and $600 every set.

The maintenance intervals of the motorcycles are determined by the number of miles it has covered. A distance between 5,000 and 20,000 miles is a call for a maintenance and servicing of your bike.

Let’s put everything in perspective and try to be as accurate as we can about the cost of maintenance and repairs. The drive belts and chains may need to be replaced occasionally and can cost up to $250 but for the case of valve adjustments, you may have to part with $800 or $1,500 on the higher side.

Throw in the regular oil changes, chain maintenance and many other expenses to arrive at the final and comprehensive cost of ownership.


At the very least, and this is when the worst comes to the worst, you will have to do with the helmet which starts from a couple of hundred $$$ to over a thousand. However, if you deem a helmet to be the only equipment you need, then you best stick to four wheel vehicles. Being a smart rider, you should protect your skin, and knees, and cover them with a motor jacket, leather boots as well as abrasion leather gloves.

Cafe racer gearAnd while many people are comfortable with riding in jeans, it is not recommended, more so if you, God forbid hit the ground at speeds hitting 15mph. They will come off your body like a wet paper on skin. Manufacturers and pros in the industry recommend that you wear protective pants. For new gear you should set aside about $800 – $1,200. Which you will be required to replace the moment they wear out.


Before you pick a bike, know the size you are looking for. If you are a beginner, you should start with the 250cc bike and work your way to the bigger and faster ones as you gain and improve on your riding skills. You should however know that this will cost you quite a lot since you will at one point or the other outgrow it (probably in a few months).

So to be on the safe side, try something in the middle– Something between 500 and 1000cc.

Build quality & parts used

Last but not least: you should take a good look at the build quality and parts used. You only have two wheels on the road and you’re safety is priceless. There are a lot of parts for sale and there is a lot of difference in quality. So please be sure that you do a little check on this! What tires are used? Do the used clip ons look proper? How do the brakes look? Etc.

Buying a Café Racer: Conclusion

At this point, given the detailed guide, you should and will be able to buy a café racer for yourself. And the best place for buying a café racer is Go there to find your ride.

By Published On: January 18, 2016Categories: Articles0 Comments on Buying a Café Racer – Comprehensive Guide5.5 min readViews: 545

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About the Author: Ron Betist

Ron Betist grew up with motorcycles with a father heading the Amsterdam motorcycle police force. He has been riding (legally) for over 40 years and motorcycles are his true passion. With a life-long career in marketing and sales he has a huge international network. He joined as a contributor at BikeBrewers in 2017 to spread his word about bikes with the rest of the world.

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