Cafe Racer TV Show Summaries: Episode by Episode
Season 4 Summaries
Episode One: Classified Moto out of Richmond, VA makes no apologies for the elevated perceptions that others have of their backyard business. John Ryland, a laid off ad man knows the ins and outs of marketing his startup company and his sought after machines. Actress Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica and Riddick found John’s story irresistible and commissioned Classified for a canyon carving café racer. Jay Leno weighs in on Katee’s off-road Honda build.
With a Weimaraner dog as CEO and a backyard workshop only big enough for one bike, Grey Dog Moto’s appearance doesn’t match its impressive products. Bay Area builder Patrick Bell has dabbled in acting, photography, and music, but motorcycles are his true love. When Bell received a cold call from eccentric and eager finance manager Olaf Hoff to transform an ugly Moto Guzzi 850 T-3, complete with running boards for foot pegs, into a lean and light ton-eating machine, he called Café Racer TV. Bell keeps his anxious client in the dark throughout the build and then hands the bike over to Ben and Eric Bostrom for a top-secret, fast and picturesque runway test ride that would make Maverick and the Iceman jealous.
Episode Two: Seattle’s riding scene is strong and Twinline Motorcycles helps fuel it with classically inspired bike builds – they’re also not afraid to experiment. Their build features elements of two different brands from different generations of design and function: a mid-70s Honda chassis stuffed with a 90s Kawasaki air-cooled engine, covered in hand-formed bodywork. Their goal? Increase the horsepower by 50% and put a smile on the faces of the Bostrom during an aggressive racetrack test.
Ry Seidler is out to prove Harley-Davidson wrong. The American motorcycle manufacturer sold its interest in the Italian brand Aermacchi in 1978 to turn its attention to the home favorite V-Twin. But don’t tell a guy from Detroit using simple tools and solid engineering that he can’t turn an outdated brand into something really cool. Ypsilanti Michigan’s hard core, local watering hole and vintage hot spot, Café Racer Ypsi will decide who was right, Ry or Harley-Davidson.
Episode Three: Former national road racing champion Roland Sands is a bike building superstar with clients like Mickey Rourke and Brad Pitt. For Café Racer Roland has been commissioned to resurrect a salvage yard Harley for professional skateboarder
Lyn-z Adams Hawkins Pastrana. Lyn-z is accompanied by husband and action sports legend, Travis Pastrana, who uses a hammer, a screwdriver and a Sawzall to dismantle a 1200cc Sportster. The end result is a naked street tracker suitable for the dirt ovals of the Grand National Series. The Pastranas are on hand for a reveal and test that puts Travis in a first-time, compromising position.
Analog Cycles’ Tony Prust marches to the beat of a different drum. The percussion tech for alt-metal band Chevelle also leans to the alternative side of motorcycling. In season IV Prust has accepted the challenge to build a Bimota DB3 into a slick Café Racer for Chevelle Drummer Sam Loeffler. The musician had his say throughout the build, but the Bostoms will get the encore at Black Hawk Farms, a 1.95 mile private circuit racetrack outside Chicago.
Episode Four: Trenton New Jersey’s Cycle Icons owner and operator Leon Stanley believes bikes have a soul, and he plans to provide a final afterlife for a sedentary Indian brand. The 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet has had previous lives as a road racer and a flat tracker, but Stanly wants one more shot at immortality. He plans to repurpose and complete on the speed challenged brand for a land speed record at the East Coast Timing Association’s speed shootout. Stanley, looking to “Do the Ton” on a bike more comfortable doing the speed limit, has recruited former Isle of Man winner Chris Hook to fire the Bullet and get to the elusive 100 mph mark.
Also on episode two, Austrian brand KTM debuts on Café Racer with an out of the box build. Mace Livingston and wife, Ashleigh, are new to the café scene. The young couple builds side by side, and tools around together in Crestview, Florida, always looking to stay one step ahead of current trends. What they lack in experience they make up for with expectations. The KTM Dual Sport, known more as a pedestrian off-roader – when complete – will light up the blogs with opinions of love and hate. 8-time National Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty and off-road legend Jack Penton will test this dangerously designed machine.
Ever heard of a motorcycle called a Rokon? No worry, only Rick Doughty of L.A.’s Vintage Iron and a few on the lunatic fringe of motorcycling are familiar with the American brand that’s more popular on the snowmobile racing circuits. Rest assured old school charms have not given way to modern technology with the Rokon. It’s still a loud and fast two-stroke that features a chainsaw-like pull starter. We’ll see just how creative Vintage Iron can be with this eccentric build and leave it up to test rider Blake Kelly for a final yea or nay to the project.
Doing the ton is fun and all but one night, over a few pints, we got into a debate over which café racer motorcycle really is the fastest. Instead of burning up public road and racking up speeding tickets we hired two elite drag racers, rented a professional drag strip and corralled a group of production – straight from the factory – motorcycles to analyze every aspect of speed we could.
Season 3 Details (Available now on DVD)
Episode 1 – Viva Italia; Desmo Pro’s Rich Lambrechts and Vicki Smith make an exclusive search through Italy’s premier motorcycle race shop in preparation to build a Ducati café racer. In Southern Calif., Eric Bostrom has been so inspired by the bikes he’s ridden on “Café Racer” that he has decided to build his own and surprise his brother Ben. CRTV explores the American Pin-Up and its relevance to motorcycling.
Episode 2 – Reverend Jim’s Church of the Ape Hangers tries to pray away a relic’s rust as they decide on a 40 year old Honda CB 750 motor with 140 HP that the Rev. had long forgotten about. Eric Bostrom gets a little (read: a lot) of help from some friends from Long Beach as he burns the candle at both ends to get his café racer ready for brother Ben and the track at Willow Springs. Walt “Hot Richards” and the Psycho Devilles return to “Café Racer” to debut their new hit “Ton Up” and help us give a preview of what’s to come in the rest of season three.
Episode 3 – Hugh Mackie and Fumi Matsueda of Sixth Street Specials return to “Café Racer”, this time with a Norton Commando mess delivered by Café Racer Magazine’s Mike Seate. The good Reverend Jim plays bad when it comes to rushing an out of the box project. The Bostrom Brothers deal with Desmo Pro’s dangerously fast Ducati at an Alabama racetrack.
Episode 4 – The show heads back to Italy where McDeeb & Classic Farm Motorcycles builds Royal Enfields from India with Italian flair. Sixth Street specials plays it cool when trying to sort out a gnarly Norton, and Rickey Gadson, one of AMA Pro Star drag racing’s elite riders, tests a motorcycle that hasn’t been started for over 30 years!
Episode 5 – Kenny Cummings of NYC/Norton heads to England to find his racer’s edge on his project, a Sealy Norton. Italy’s McDeeb & Classic Farm Motorcycles continues their project of turning a modern Enfield into a café classic. “Café Racer” TV puts its reputation with the Rockers on the line by heading Los Angeles to hang out with a bunch of (gasp!) Mods. 6th Street’s Hugh Mackie gives a new life to another British bike.
Episode 6 – “Café Racer” makes its first ever trip to Colorado where we discover that Matt Rambow of Colorado Norton Works run a shop as clean as a surgical station. NYC/Norton goes a long way from Jersey to run up front with the fast guys. CRTV heads northwest to the hangout of the Cretins, America’s first café racer motorcycle club. And Italy’s McDeeb finishes their Indian Enfield for an Italian test ride.
Episode 7 – Getting Old World engineering to do the Ton; in this four part series, Mike Seate and Blake Kelly embark on a tour of northeastern bike builders in their quest of making a Royal Enfield reach 100 mph. Colorado Norton Works specializes only in Nortons, only Commandos and only between the years of 1968 and 1974. For “Café Racer” they’ve narrowed it down even more with a limited edition run of 13 custom café specials. NYC/Norton finds out why the saying “that’s racing” holds true at Road America.
Episode 8 – Would you believe that Dolores, CO (pop. 936) has two bike builders? CRTV goes back to southwest Colorado where Vincent Works takes on a controversial, six figure motorcycle build. Some of the Country’s best builders team up to make a Royal Enfield more powerful, better handling and faster looking but not before Mike and Blake run into some unexpected problems. Colorado Norton Works’ Matt Rambow holds his breath while the Bostroms test ride his high-buck Norton Commando on the Million Dollar Highway in southwest Colorado.
Episode 9 – The Colorado tour continues as Sam Manganaro of Vincent Works, a Vincent restoration ace, makes historians cringe by messing with a rare beauty. Big Sid Biberman returns to the show as he makes his last stand on the Bonneville Salt Flats with his own Vincent motorcycle. Will the bike hold up long enough and get its two runs in on time? Will Sid hold up in the searing desert sun? It’s judgment day for one well-traveled Royal Enfield as Blake Kelly risks his life for the cameras, and the speedometer, as he brings the search for 100 mph to a close.
Episode 10 – Old friends and rivals reunite in Ohio as fabricator and engine guru Stan Lipert and former professional road racer turned parts manager Jerry Dudley attempt to take a $150 commuter bike and make it into a vintage racer. Sam Manganaro of Vincent Works heads to the exclusive Quail Lodge where he finds 100,000 reasons why an Egli-framed Vincent should be kept off the road. It’s the final chance at Bonneville for Sid Biberman and his son Matt to set a land speed record on their Vincent. “Café Racer” goes rogue as it rides with Los Angeles street artist Thank You X for the first in a three part series.
Episode 11 – J&B Moto Co. returns to “Café Racer” where the PA-based shop uses ingenuity and natural resources to outfit a Suzuki two stroke they were given by knocking $80 off a customer’s bill. Stan Lipert goes to work on his motor, shaving four pounds from the crank and nearly doubling the horsepower on a mundane Honda CB 350 engine to get it ready for Jerry Dudley. Street artist Thank You X rides his Bonneville and Thruxton in an effort to change the L.A landscape one building at a time.
Episode 12 – J&B Moto Co. builds slick Japanese cafes smack in the middle of Harley country and their latest project, a gifted Suzuki two stroke is smoking up the joint. Street artist Thank You X heads to the desert to unveil the artwork he’s been developing for “Café Racer” TV. New York-based Musician Julia Haltigan shows us the art of busking, by way of a Triumph Bonneville that she learned to tune by hanging out with Hugh Mackie of 6th Street Specials. And Stan Liepert has been building a vintage racer for his friend, now racing rival, Jerry Dudley. Will Stan be fast enough to overcome the horsepower of his latest build?
Episode 13 – J&B Moto struggle with the inner workings of a two stroke Suzuki as an Isle of Man champion tests his patience. Julia Haltigan returns to record a café racer-related song and video. Follow the money from Alain Bernard of Santiago Choppers as he uses his builds to battle at the front lines of curing kid’s cancer. And we show you why, in less than ten years, the Barber Vintage Festival has become one of the biggest vintage racing and swap meet fests in the world.
Season 2 Details: (Available now on DVD)
Episode 1 - Starting Season 2 with something a little different, join us as Hot Rod builder Brian Fuller chops a 1960’s era Honda to create a one off café custom inspired by classic hot rod roots. We’ll also travel across the big pond and visit British café king Dave Degens for an in depth interview chocked full some traditional British humor and some of Dave’s secrets that catapulted him to the head of the pack in the early days of cafe racers. And, because we know you just can’t wait get things kick-started- a preview of the rest of the 2011 series!
Episode 2 - After a high-side crash at Buttonwood took it’s toll on comedian and Last Comic Standing winner Alonzo Bodden’s Ducati 1098, he opted to rebuild the bike in the spirit of a cafe fighter. We take a closer look at this one-off creation built by Nick Anglada and have a few laughs while we’re at it! We also hit the highway and head back to Atlanta, Georgia where Brian Fullers Hot Rod Honda continues to takes shape from it’s hot rod roots. Taking a closer look at the history of where cafe racers came from we explore some of the history of England’s transport cafes like The Ace.
Episode 3 - The story of Britain’s 59 Club; one of the first and most influential cafe racer clubs in history is still thriving today with more than 30,000 members around the globe. Learn what they did, why they did it and what made them different. Brian Fullers 1960s Honda rebuild is finished and we put it through it’s paces at Barber Motorsports Park. Does this heavy handed hot rod builder have what it takes to build a delicate track worthy cafe racer? We find out and so will you!
Episode 4 - Idaho’s Union Motorcycle Classics dissect an 1965 BSA A65 Lightning streetbike with an interesting story behind it. Stay tuned as they resurrect this old gem and turn it into a cafe racer the original ton-up boys would be proud of! Join us as we travel through time and space to explore the Pompadour haircut’s and it’s origins! Gel not required for viewers at home. We also head back across the pond to visit to London’s Ace Classics motorcycle shop, purveyors of all things British that have to deal with two wheels! Be on the lookout for vintage Triumphs among many others in this segment!
Episode 5 - Can a motorcycle shop based in the land of potatoes produce a classic cafe racer? We take another look at the progress of Union Motorcycle Classics A65 BSA Lightning and let you be the judge! And as a special treat for those who love collections; Billy Joel opens his café collection to the world! Come with us as we take a closer look at all the gorgeous machines he’s preserving for future generations to enjoy.
Episode 6 – Pursuing cafe racers as art, Tim Harney, a New York artist builds a cafe racer for his under a grand. Stay tuned to see is his rolling art makes the grade! Motocross legend Bob Hannah tests Union’s BSA twin, tune in to see if this motorcycle racing legend gives this BSA the Goldstar!
Episode 7 – A TOP SECRET and high-tech engineering firm switches from jets to motorbikes! Come with us and our cameras as we get clearence to see who they are and what they’re working on! We take some time away from the workshop and explore some of the best kept secrets for finding cool cafe parts and donors and a Michigan team tests a 1960s Honda cafe project!
Episode 8 – We stop back in and check on our defense contractors as they continue to tackle their cafe racer project. We take a look at 50 years of two-wheeled speed and explore the origins of “screwing it on” and going “knuckles up.” Tim Harney faces the gods of speed with his 2-stroke under a grand Café withas the Bostrom Bros at The Talladega Super Speedway. Will his machine cross the finish line?
Episode 9 - Santiago Choppers makes history with their Norley a Harley Davidson Sportster cafe racer. If you thought what happened in season one was amazing you better stay tuned to this episode, you won’t believe what happens this year! Tim Harney, our New York artist chasing the ton and his undergrad struggles with a 2-stroke and Speedway World Champion Billy Hamil puts a Joker to the test! See who gets the last laugh in this segment.
Episode 10 - A barn yard find gets a new life and has a second go at the world as a cafe racer. Alain Bernard of Santiago Choppers exercises his usual tools of persuasion, broken English and the biggest hammer he can find, he perfects the Norley; will the outcome be the perfect blend of American iron and Britsh style? An English Rocker competes at Bonneville and New York artist Tim Harney puts his butt on the line and tests his 2-stoke cafe bike on the track personally. Stay tuned to see who if the rubber stays on the road!
Episode 11 – Californians at British Customs prove that there’s more to the west coast than choppers as they turn a brand new production Triumph Bonnevile into a modern rendition of a classic ‘60s café racer. An Illinois chopper gets reinvented and becomes a classic cafe racer, New York’s secret Britbike hideaway is uncovered and the Philadelphia Phillies play hard ball with Santiago Choppers and their Norley cafe racer.
Episode 12 – A 1940s Norton is reborn in cafe style, the team at British Customs unveils their modern Triumph Bonnevile that has been transformed into a ‘60s café racer and we get an indepth look as authentic Mods and Rockers revisit 1964, from both sides of the street.
Episode 13 – Familiar faces Herm and Jason from Dime City Cycles are joined by Lowside Magazine as they share their latest Honda resurrection with viewers. A 1975 CB400F fit and finish with all the detail they’re known for and a few additional surprises as this one is destined for the track and not the street. Can these southern boys turn out a race-ready bike the Bostrom Brothers would take as their ride? Stay tuned and you’ll find out! Yoshi and Jay struggle to complete their Yamaha two-stroke as a two shop team and we hang around in California to test British Customs modern Classic Triumph Bonneville.
Episode 14 – In the quiet hills of Vermont a 1970s Norton Commando is rebuilt with quite the story behind it. We head back to Florida and join Herm and Jason of Dime City Cycles as they progress on their 400F build, have a Grand Opening event that attracted the Ace Cafe all the way from London and select the first Miss Dime City, USA. We head out to LA to check in on our boys Jay LaRossa and Yoshi Kosaki to see the progress they’ve made on their 2-stroke street terror! This is an episode you won’t want to miss!
Episode 15 - Your favorite builder, Greg Hageman, from corn country is back with another unbelievable transformation of a bike! A Vermont shop remakes a Norton Commando, we explore some of the best of café bike photography around the world and Dime City Cycles faces off with Ben and Eric Bostrom at Little Talledega. We head back out to California where Jay LaRossa and Yoshi were able to pull it off and watch as they hand over their two-shop two-stroke to two fast brothers! Yep, you guessed it; The Bostroms! This is one test you won’t want to miss folks!Stick around for this one, you won’t be disappointed with the final score!
Episode 16 - Greg Hageman unveils his Virago vixen for the world to see, will it Do The Ton and look the part?. Two generations of Norton’s Commando are tested head to head comparing the old vs. the new and Vermont’s Classic Bike Experience checks their bike into the Hot Rod Hotel!
Season 1 Details: (Available for purchase on DVD)
Episode 1 – In Café Racer Episode One, revisit the origins of the fast, customized street bike through eyewitness accounts of the Rockers and ton-up boys themselves. Café Racer visits with Mark Wilsmore of Ace Café, London for some historical perspective on the early days of the scene, complete with rare, historical footage from the 1950s and ‘60s. Veterans of the mods and rockers dust-ups from British beaches tell their tales; Café Racer gears up for a look down the road at the coming trends, machines, events and builders keeping the ton-up tradition alive today.
Episode 2 – In Café Racer’s second outing, join Largo, Florida’s Dime City Cycles in their search for the perfect project bike in a junkyard bristling with two-wheeled treasures; Brian Richardson, a sheep farmer and country lawyer from the wilds of Bluegrass, Virginia launches his quest to build the world’s first electric-powered Norton café racer; Dallas does it up big with their annual Mods and Rockers rally while music legend Billy Joel rides with Café Racer and recalls some of his favorite fast bikes.
Episode 3 – This week we’ll meet J&B Moto Co. a café emporium located in the heart of Harley-Davidson country; Florida’s Dime City Cycles tear into their project bike to find some good- and bad surprises; After 35 years in the red, England’s Norton Motorcycles make a comeback and invites Café Racer to test the new 961 Commando; Virginia farmer Brian Richardson faces off against some of the big guns in roadracing on his barn-built Norton Electra, zero-emissions café racer.
Episode 4 – Café Racer travels to the cornfields of Davenport, Iowa where former chopper builder Greg Hageman unearths a project bike in his family’s barn; York, Pennsylvania’s J&B Moto Co. attempt to build a café racer version of the world’s most famous roadracing motorcycle; Café Racer magazine road tester Blake Kelly moves from illegal to legit as he switches careers from stunt rider to roadracer; Dime City Cycles complete their project bike and hand it over for testing to a classic roadracer.
Episode 5 – Café Racer makes a visit to the annual Mods VS Rockers rally in Chicago, the nation’s longest-running café event; our in Davenport, Iowa builder Greg “Doc’s Chops” Hageman completes the rebuild of his barn-find Honda CX 500 V-twin while we meet Long Beach California’s Jay LaRossa, a former hot rod car designer whose turned his attention to Japanese café bikes from the 1970s; meanwhile, the crew from Pennsylvania’s J&B Moto Co. hand their Yamaha XS 650 monoshock custom over the pro roadracers Eric and Ben Bostrom for a high-speed test ride.
Episode 6 – We meet Yoshi Kosaka of California’s Garage Company as he sets out to build a 1965 Triumph motorcycle in Los Angeles; across the Golden State, Jay LaRossa tears into a Yamaha SR 500 single, making the machine a thing of speed and beauty; not to be outdone is Greg Hageman who sits back to watch as Ton-Up Chicago founder Larry Fletcher tries to coax the ton from Greg’s CX 500 Honda. Hungry for more unique custom café bikes? This week we serve up “Café A La carte” mini-features focused on some of England’s best streetbikes.
Episode 7 – The Café Racer crew packs its bags and travels to London’s Lewis Leathers, the world’s oldest motorcycle gear manufacturer; Alan Bernard of Florida’s Santiago Choppers switches from choppers to ton-up machines as he sets out to build a wicked, Kawasaki custom. At Garage Company, Japanese expat Yoshi Kosaka’s team shows us speed and efficiency as they reconstruct their Rickman-Triumph special and it’s test and tune time for Long Beach custom king Jay LaRossa and his Yamaha SR 500 single when it runs head on into the Boz Brothers in the California canyons.
Episode 8 – If you dig café bikes that are raw, gritty and quick, New York’s 6th Street Specials is the place to be this week as owner Hugh Mackie searches for parts to build a vintage BSA twin; Sparks fly and all the rules get broken as Santiago Choppers wades into their Martin-chassis Kawasaki 1000; “My Name is Earl” and “Memphis Blues” star Jason Lee visits Lossa Engineering in Long Beach to check out what may be his next custom café ride and Garage Company’s Yoshi Kosaka shares his Rickman special with the Bostrom Brothers in his final test ride.
Episode 9 – New York’s XPO Streetfighter show the historic links between futuristic streetfighters and café racers as they start a 919 Honda project bike; In Manhattan’s Lower east Side, 6th Street Specials’ Hugh Mackie and tuner Fumi start rebuilding a 1958 BSA twin; The best of America’s custom streetbikes is profiled in the second installment of Café A La carte and Florida’s Santiago Choppers places their Martin-frame Kawasaki 1000 in the hands of rockabilly motorheads the Psycho Devilles for a full-speed test.
Episode 10 – In Chicago, the husband and wife team of Chad and Bee McDade begin a Norton Commando project with lots of hidden surprises; XPO Streetfighter brings in its best technicians to transform their 919 Honda naked roadster into a Café-Fighter; We point our cameras towards Milwaukee for the annual Rockerbox street festival where the café racer is king; New York’s 6th Street Specials test their BSA café racer on the road with a test riders too young to remember when motorcycles had kickstsrters.
Episode 11 – Delaware’s Loaded Gun Customs turn their gaze from custom hot rods and drift cars to a Triton café bike; Ace Motorcycle and Scooter begin rebuilding their 1970s Norton Commando in Chicago; Meet legendary Vincent tuner “Big Sid” Biberman, America’s foremost expert on making British V-Twins go fast; Pro roadracers Eric and Ben Bostrom pit their skills against XPO Streetfighter’s 110-horsepower Honda 919 Café-Fighter. Café racers; Sid Biberman, an 80 year-old motorcycle customizer is interviewed. LA’s Garage Company has their motorcycle put to the test.
Episode 12 – This week on Café Racer: Loaded Gun Customs finds that building custom Triton café bikes may be the hardest job for their hot rod shop so far; After watching the best custom café builders in the world creating one of a kind, motorcycles, can two unskilled riders do the same for just $1,000 and in under 12 hours? Join Café Racer at the AMA’s Vintage Motorcycle Days swap meet to find out; Norman Hyde is England’s most famous motorcycle drag racer and now he’s created the Hyde Harrier Jubilee, a customized, modern Triumph Bonneville with some serious performance; Chicago’s Ace Motorcycle and Scooter race to complete their Norton Commando project bike in time for the Café Racer crew’s test ride. Now, if only Mother Nature would play along….
Episode 13 – This week on Café Racer: The crew at Delaware’s Loaded Gun Customs hands their Triton hybrid bike over to pro roadracers Ben and Eric Bostrom to see whether the combination of Norton handling and Triumph power still holds up to the legend. While the clock ticks down the remaining hours of their Mid-Ohio Vintage Motorcycle Days challenge build, Ben Freidman and Mike Seate try and make their custom café racers a reality for just under $1,000; and we head back to Oyster Bay, Long Island to catch up with café racing Piano Man Billy Joel as he joins us for a ride.