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Although I could never really warm up to the "Harley" style and biker scene, I have always been fascinated with the" Cafe Racer" culture which originated in the UK in the late fifties to early sixties. This page contains information and photos collected from the web, books, and magazines that I found interesting. (And yes, I have "done the ton")

What is a "cafe racer" ?

The history of Cafe Racer motorcycles and style starts with the Ton Up Boys, also known as Rockers or Leather boys. These groups were part of the biker subculture that originated in the United Kingdom in the late 950s. The Ton Up Boys centered around two main cultural magnets: Cafe Racer motorcycles and Rock and Roll music.

The term ‘cafe racer’ became common because riders often travelled between Transport Cafes (truck stops or rest areas) and usually used them as checkpoints for road racing.

The top hang out spot and meeting grounds for the rebel subculture was The Ace Cafe in London.

The Ton Up Boys influenced popular culture throughout the 50s and 60s.  The Rocker style started to grow and define a new generation of baby boomers. The Beatles, as well as many hard rock and punk rock groups, drew style inspiration from the Cafe Racer subculture: leather jackets, patches, jeans, and boots made popular by the cafe racer Ton Up Boys.


Definition:  Do the Ton:   To Accelerate your vehicle to over 100mph or to break the 100 miles per hour barrier, preferably on a (vintage) motorcycle.

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Cafe Racers I ride

1964 Norton Atlas

       1976 Honda CB750

(even a Japanese bike can be a cafe racer!)

More to follow...

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