Café Racer Wiring

4 Sep

Stuck in the middle? Check out my Café Racer Building Plan!

Building a café racer means that you strip your bike down to only the necessary functions. The stock wiring harness is one of the things you want to strip down to a minimum. If you take a look at your workshop manual, you can see that the original wiring looks extensive and complex. You don’t need to get scared because building a café racer means that you can ditch a lot of functions! If you want to go down to the bare essentials for your your café racer wiring you need:

  • Headlight (with Hi/Lo switch)
  • Taillight
  • Brake switch
  • Ignition and coil
  • Rectifier
  • Optional: battery
  • Optional: starter solenoid
Beginner tip: if it is your first time working on your cafe racer wiring, it’s really helpful to put labels on the the original wiring when you strip down your bike! Be sure to take down every function/cable one by one!

What do you need?

If you’re working on your café racer wiring, you need to get the right ingredients:

  • Volt meter
  • Stripping tool
  • Colored wiring
  • Automotive connectors (heat shrink & waterproof)
  • Lighter/heater
  • Electrical tape

There are a lot of different bikes, but when it comes down to electronics, you can all put them in 2 boxes: fueled by a carburetor or fuel injection. Note that these wiring diagrams are meant for the first type and that you can use them on a lot of bikes from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Please also check my article about the best bikes for your café racer project.

Invested in a MotoGadget M-Unit? Check out this article: MotoGadget M-Unit Wiring.

Café Racer Wiring – Electrical Starter

One of the most simple and complete cafe racer wiring diagrams with a battery and starter I’ve found:

Cafe Racer Wiring

This is also a clear wiring diagram:

Custom motorcycle wiring diagram


And if you prefer some more visuals, this is a nice wiring diagram:

Minimal wiring diagram

Café Racer Wiring – Kick Only

You can choose for an option without battery and starter (kickstarter only). This is the leanest & cleanest way:

Cafe racer wiring kick only


This one will also work:

Kickstart only wiring diagram

What about turning signals?

Some prefer to also use turning signals on their café racer. In that case, this café racer wiring diagram could help:

Cafe racer wiring with turn signals

Or you can just use this wiring diagram to fit in one of the other diagrams:


turn signal wiring

Upgrading your electronic systems

It’s possible to reuse all parts you’ve stripped from your bike, but when you really want to upgrade your ride, this is the moment to upgrade your electronic systems too. To develop a state of the art café racer, you can:

  • Replace your battery (I prefer the Antigravity models)
  • Use an electronic ignition instead of points
  • Replace the rectifier/regulator
  • Replace your ignition coils
  • Replace your stator
  • For the real nerds: a Motogadget control unit.

If you’ve got any questions or suggestions: please let me know!

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One thought on “Café Racer Wiring

  1. Working on a 1983 gpz 750 and was wonder about wiring coil pickup straight to coil. It got 4 wires from pickup 1 blue 1 yellowish brown and 2 black with white stripes. So questions what to do with the 2 black and white

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