Let’s face it, café racers are not comfortable at all, as they are basically racing bikes without any fairings. They look cool and have a unique appearance but are very uncomfortable on longer rides. There are eight main reasons why café racers are uncomfortable, which are as follows:
- Lack of a windshield
- Small or lack of fairings
- Lowered “race-style” handlebars
- Harder front forks
- Smaller and stiff seat
- Uncomfortable riding position
- Louder Exhaust
- Lack of fenders
If you want to find out more about these important factors, you are in the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
Are Cafe Racers Comfortable?
No, there’s no question that café racers are some of the least comfortable motorcycles you can buy or build. This is because a café racer is basically a “DIY race bike” without any fairings or a windscreen. So, how could it be comfortable?
Therefore, if you are looking to take longer trips or want any comfort on a bike, café racers are not for you.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and see why café racers are so uncomfortable!
1. Lack of Windshields
When it comes to comfort on a motorcycle, a windshield is always a game-changer.
Because of their minimalist design, café racers typically lack this important protection.
Only a few of them come with a tiny windshield or a windscreen. As you might assume, these are usually more for design than effective wind protection!
2. Lack of Fairings
Another main reason why care facers are so uncomfortable is the lack of fairings.
To achieve the minimalist look, café racers are usually completely stripped down.
The only fairing you can see on some café races is a smaller headlight fairing, but the majority of them are completely naked.
And just like windshields, fairings can also increase the comfort of a bike in many ways. The less fairings the bike has, the less protection and comfort you can expect.
But why do café racers lack these important shells?
Simply put, these machines were originally built for short rides and street races between cafés in London. This is where their name comes from!
But as these rides happened in the city and were very quick, having fairings on these bikes was not necessary.
Unfortunately, this naked look is not a great point on longer trips!
3. Lowered “Race-Style” Handlebar
The other feature that makes café racers uncomfortable is their low-mounted, “race-style” handlebar.
Café racers are typically equipped with two different types of handlebars, which are known as an ‘ace’ bar or clip-on.
Both of these designs offer a very low grip position and less range of motion.
This means the handlebars of many café racers move a lot less than the handlebars on other types of motorcycles. (However, it always depends on the position and design of the handlebars and the tank.)
This makes the bike harder to maneuver in parking lots, tight places, and when you filter though the traffic.
Another drawback of these race-style handlebars is that they are much more likely to put weight on your wrists. The general rule is that the lower the handlebar the more pressure on your wrists.
After a while, this can lead to a massive pain in your hands!
This can be an issue especially if the bike is poorly designed or if you ride it in the wrong position.
4. Smaller and Less-padded Seat
Café racers feature many modified or even custom parts, and their seat is no exception.
Unlike other bikes, cafés feature a recognizable “humpback” seat. This type of seat is typically less ergonomic, and stiffer compared to stock seats.
Therefore, as you might assume they offer less comfort as well.
5. Harder Front Forks
Just like the seats, the front forks of café racers are also often replaced with a pair of “superbike-style” front forks.
They do the job in the turns at higher speeds but are also much harder compared to the stock forks.
6. Uncomfortable Riding Position
As their name implies café racers are racing motorcycles!
Even if they are barely used for racing purposes they feature many race-style parts and offer a similar riding position as sportbikes and racing motorcycles.
And as we know, these types of bikes are not known for comfort!
What’s more, many café racers feature “rear set” footpegs, which are mounted much farther back on the frame of the bike.
This setup results in a more aggressive riding position and requires you to lean on the tank, which causes your head to bend way back.
This unnatural body position usually leads to pain in your neck and back!
7. Louder Exhaust
It’s also good to know that café racers usually have smaller mufflers than stock bikes.
On top of that, where it’s legal you can even find café racers with straight pipe exhaust systems.
They sound really cool, but are also very loud, which can be annoying on a longer ride.
8. Lack of Fenders
Because of their minimalist design, café racers typically don’t have fenders at all, or just feature very small ones.
This is not a problem until you get caught in the rain! Fenders are on motorcycles for a reason, so you can expect a lot of water if you ride a café racer in the rain.
Do Café Racers Hurt Your Back?
Yes, it’s sad to say but riding a café racer can cause a lot of pain in your back, neck, hands or even other parts of your body. This can be true especially on longer rides!
The lowered handlebar and the replaced footpegs force you to lean forward towards the handlebars. If you ride a lot of hours in this position, you should be prepared for a lot of pain in your back and neck.
Are Cafe Racers Good for Long Rides?
No, as you already know café racers are not good for long rides at all. The design and features of these bikes are very similar to sportbikes, which are also not recommended for touring. It’s safe to say that café racers virtually lack all the features needed for motorcycle touring, such as:
- Comfortable riding position
- Windshield and fairings
- Large fuel tank
- High and convenient handlebar
- Comfortable seat for the rider and passenger
- Moderated exhaust sound
- Storage space
- Reasonable weight to handle wind
- Reliability (this is a problem mainly on DIY machines)
Another hidden problem with café racers is that many of them are built by amateurs.
Unfortunately, these “DIY café racers” usually have a poor design and low reliability. Keeping safety in mind, touring with these bikes is never a good idea.
Finally, don’t forget that the seat of café racers is typically designed for one rider. Therefore, carrying a passenger or bags on these bikes is always challenging, if not impossible.
Café racers are customized motorcycles that feature a minimalist design. This is why they typically don’t have windshields, fairings, or fenders.
What’s more, they come with lowered “race-style” handlebars, less-padding in the seats, and replaced footpegs.
Because of these features, it’s sad to say but café racers are not comfortable at all!