Café Racers: Speed, Style and Ton-up Culture

A highly visual survey of 1960s British sub-culture inspired motorcycle designs


Spawned from a 1960s sub-culture of street-racing British rock’n’rollers, the café racer has become a highly admired genre of motorcycle design. Hallmarked by highly modified UK and Italian bikes stripped down to run races on open roads between actual cafés, the handsome, often low-cc, bikes are as popular now as ever—though the original sub-culture itself only “existed” for a decade at most. Paying homage to these stunning works of creativity and engineering is “Café Racers: Speed, Style and Ton-Up Culture,” a new book with text by motorcycle enthusiast and culture expert Paul d’Orléans and images by celebrated motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter.


Following the movement in motorcycle design from then to now in chronological order, the hardcover book features 224 pages of impressive high-gloss imagery, documenting some of the most notable examples of café racer culture from across the decades. Visit Amazon where the visually stunning book sells for $35.

Images by Graham Hiemstra