We decided to follow up our list of 2016 Best Custom Motorcycles with a cafes-only list. Some of these were real darlings of social media, accruing thousands of likes on Facebook and Instagram, while others can boast “long legs,” continue to garner traffic month after month.Without further ado, here are the BikeBound Best Cafe Racers of 2016, presented in alphabetical order by builder.
This Sportster cafe racer is a completely custom build from the ground up. Builder Curtis Miller, who has a MFA in painting and has worked as a furniture-maker and computer-animator, designed and fabricated the entire frame, aluminum tanks, swingarm, exhaust, rearsets, and many other parts in his converted two-car garage. Amazingly enough, Curtis only bought his first motorcycle five years ago, at the age of 56, and could not even weld at the time. Bravo, sir!
This blood-red Kawasaki KZ750 twin cafe racer, garage-built by Shad Alexander of Alabama, won the People’s Choice Award at Ace Corner during this year’s Barber Vintage Festival. Incredibly, this was Shad’s first build attempt and he did all the work himself, including making the fiberglass underbelly, lacing and truing the wheels, and building his own paint booth.
This incredible Bavarian cafe, “LaDini,” is the work of Giorgio De Angelis, a computer programmer in Rome who builds bikes “for pure hobby” — which warms our piston-driven hearts. The bike was shared on Pipeburn’s Facebook page, receiving 1.7K likes and dozens of comments.
Here we have the first of two Arkansas-built bikes to make our list. Builder Will Hight is a friend of the crew at One-Up Moto Garage, whose CB600 made our list of the 2015 Best Bikes on Instagram. Will built this incredible 1973 Honda CB350F monoshock cafe racer at his girlfriend’s farmhouse. One of the best monoshock cafes we have ever seen.
We first spotted this incredible 830cc, turbocharged Kawasaki KZ650 at The Handbuilt Show, only to realize it was built by Ezio Covelli of Magnum Opus Custom Bikes in our hometown of Wilmington! We have seen this bike in the flesh, and it’s truly incredible.
Incredibly enough, builder Tom Laveuf, who lives down the street from Seaweed & Gravel, built this 1981 DOHC Honda CB750 monoshock with zero prior experience welding, bending, or grinding metal. Truly an incredible execution. We would hardly classify this genre-busting road weapon as a classic cafe racer, but who cares?
Here we have “Moxxi,” a 1972 Honda CB175 cafe racer built by artist and designer Kat Stovall (@gutterskump) of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Like so many of our favorite bikes, this build was a family affair, with Kat building the machine together with her fiance’s father, Jan Sallings of JMS Customs. All told, they spent about nine months on the build.
Lars Engelsviken of Norway’s Therapy Moto built the “XS900” you see here. There is something inherently sexy about a Triple, and Lars has brought the hidden beauty of this three-throated machine to light. She’s long, low, lean–built like a knife, with those tires giving her a serrated edge. We love that Lars went with an original XS750 tank–one of the prettiest OEM tanks every produced, in our opinion.
In a world chock-full of CB builds, this ’77 Honda CB750 Super Sport cafe racer truly leaps off the screen. The Wrench Kings managed to retain the classic aesthetic of the “original superbike,” while bringing the machine into the modern age…and making it rideable for 6.2 foot client!
Pepo Rosell, the creator of Radical Ducati, is taking on Bavarian builds with his new shop, XTR Pepo. This BMW R100R doesn’t just recall the endurance racers of yore. It is one. It boasts a 24 liter fuel tank, twin lights, quick battery release, high performance brakes, wheels, and weight (only 165 kg), and a high compression engine. While not a classic cafe racer, we believe that any ton-up boy of old would kill to throw a leg over this high-powered boxer.