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How to Build a Cafe Racer

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After coming in and out of fashion in the late 1960′s, early 1970′s, cafe racers are back in style. And they seem to be offering a great way for younger riders to be creative, and get some mechanical and fabrication experience. So it’s not surprising a few new books are popping up in addition to magazines and even television shows that feature cafe racer creations.

Doug Mitchell, long time writer and photographer in the car and motorcycle world, just brought out How to Build a Cafe Racer. It’s a very broad overview of this segment of motorcycling. Some history is presented and Doug offers up some chapters useful in getting our heads set to build a bike. While this is not strictly a reference for detailed fabrication, parts sources and fitments or design, through “visits” to suppliers, shops and builders’ garages you get a feel for some build options you can then pursue in depth related to the actual model of bike you are modifying. In other words it’s good stimulus, gets your mind opened up but won’t tell you how to make a tank, stitch a seat cover or the nitty-gritty of making a wiring harness. I bought a copy for myself and gave two away for Christmas gifts, however, just because it’s good preparation if you are not an experienced mechanic or fabricator. And the appendix of four dozen sources for parts and services, websites included, may facilitate your success.

144 pages, highly illustrated, $27.95 from the Museum Store.

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