Posts tagged as: norton

Cafe Racer TV Season 3 – Episodes 5 and 6

This week’s shows open with none other than Kenny Cummings who works at the East Coast’s best-kept café racer secret laboratory- the massive – and massively hidden Spannerland complex. Kenny is the type of enthusiast that makes working on a series like Café Racer so memorable- the professional musician has gigged on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and toured with top-flight alt-rock bands, but in the between hours, Cummings is a fierce competitor on the vintage motorcycle roadracing circuit. This week finds Kenny eager- no, that’s too benign a word- foaming- to get a podium finish on his Seeley-framed Norton Commando roadracer, a machine that he’s run in various AHRMA (Antique and Historical Motorcycle Roadracing Association) events. Kenny’s quest to claim a trophy takes the CRTV crew to Minnovation Racing, a Northern England machine shop and race parts emporium that supply Kenny and like-minded petrolheads with go-fast necessities.

The fifth episode of the new season also finds me, your host, running around New York’s Lower East Side, trying to pin down the technicians from 6th Street Specials so’s I can blag a test ride aboard the Norton Commando project bike that Café Racer magazine’s overworked crew were too busy- OK, we admit it, too unskilled- to tackle for ourselves. The results, and the scary-fast way that 67th Street’s Hugh and Fumi blow off steam on the weekends is a real-eye (and throttle) opener.

We return to Italy’s industrial heart in this edition of Café Racer where Classic Farm Motorcycles’ Fabrizio DiBella gets into the beating heart of his Royal Enfield café racer project.

If you’re curious about the Mod side of the re-emergent Mods and Rockers equation, this episode takes a long, informative look at the history and future of Mods on both sides of the Atlantic. The parka-wearing, soul music-loving Mods have been around nearly as long as- and occupied a similar cultural cache- as café racers, and their story, filmed in part during a Mod gathering at California’s vaunted Peterson Automotive Museum, is worth hearing, even if you think scooters are just overblown hair-dryers!

In Episode Six, we’ll meet one of the classic British motorcycle scene’s true eccentric visionaries. Matt Rambow (yes, that’s his given name!) has been building reproductions of classic Nortons at his Colorado shop for years, and Café Racer TV’s crew catches Matt as he embarks on the most ambitious project yet; he’s setting out to design and build a dozen, identical Norton Commando customs, high-end street machines festooned with the best components the aftermarket can muster. When completed, they’ll sell for more than a garage full of café racers.

Meanwhile, back in Jersey City, Kenny Cummings takes delivery of his hand-welded Seeley racing chassis, a component that the determined roadracer is convinced will shave seconds from his lap times and add precious MPH to his performance. Of course, Kenny, who operates NYC Norton, a restoration and custom shop, has to find time to build his racebike while customers are a-knockin’…

We’ve all seen patch-wearing biker clubs in TV serials like “Sons of Anarchy,” but what do like-minded café racers do when they feel the need to cement bonds of camaraderie? Well, almost 20 years ago, before café racers we’re popular in the states and motorcycle clubs had Facebook pages or reality TVs shows, on the West Coast, dozens joined forces in the Cretins MC. Today, they’re several chapters strong and have helped drive café culture on the west coast. Which in the midst of other M/C’s is no simple feat! We applaud them for their efforts to pave the way and help keep the culture alive and are sure you’ll enjoy their segment!

And don’t put away those English/Italian phrasebooks just yet- this week finds Italy’s Classic Farm Motorcycles revving up its all-aluminum, lightweight and very stylish Royal Enfield Bullet for a road test. The Enfield 500 has been fully redesigned to look like a 1950s café racer while offering loads of modern performance, so this should be a test to remember for British bike fans and Italian motorcycle lovers alike. Ciao!

Cafe Racer TV Featured Builder of The Week – Kenny Cummings & Dan Rose, NYC Norton

If you’ve watched Season 1 or 2 of Cafe Racer TV you’ve seen quite the array of motorcycles, all of which are aspiring to the “Cafe Racer” marquee. Shod with knee indents, clip-ons and other bits and pieces focused on speed they pay homage to the forefathers of modern sport bikes, the race bikes of yesteryear. Our talented builders have all worked tirelessly to create and re-create the bikes that hailed the streets of London in the 50’s and 60’s all of which were mirrored after those very same race bikes of the day. Bikes like the Matchless G50, MV Augusta’s Fours and Ducati’s Bevel’s.

Giving it a twist and turn and slight departure from the norm we’re going to look at these machines from a slightly different perspective with one builder in particular, Kenny Cummings from NYC. Instead of staring from the sidewalk to the track, we’re going to the track and are leaving the sidewalk in the rearview…

We give you this weeks featured builder(s) from Season 2 of Cafe Racer TV, Kenny Cummings and Dan Rose, who together, with quite the cache of expertise and resource have built what is arguably one of the fastest, most accurate and simply stunning Vintage Norton Race Bikes to ever see the pits at any of the fine race tracks found in the good’ol US of A. It is, The Seely Norton.

A modern interpretation of a Seeley MKII Racing Norton with a hand fabricated frame by Roger Titschmarsh and imported from Minnovation Racing in the UK. Powered by a custom Commando motor assembled from Steve Maney Racing components and JS Motorsport internals. No paint… just bare metal. Dan Rose’s “REV’IT” Seeley Norton is an amalgamation of period correct and hand fabricated parts and serves as one of the finest examples of a period correct race bike that as they said in the day “Goes like snot!” But don’t take our word for it, stop by the recently launched website http://seeleynorton.com and share in the story that Dan tells as this fantastic machine comes to life.

Just like the Seeley itself, the website is well laid out, crisp and thorough. You can follow the build step by step without being overwhelmed by a myriad of photos and blathering text. Dan has somehow, just like in the creation of his machine, perfectly balanced the art of aesthetic with detail and function in the presentation of this bikes story. It’s worth the look! Trust us, you won’t be dissapointed!

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Cafe Racer TV Featured Builder of The Week – Dave Degens

When it comes to Cafe Racers names like Mark Wilsmore, Father Bill and Dave Degens are synonymous with the iconic culture in both conversation and legend.  Having built literally thousands of Cafe Racers over the last 50 years and being the one to first recognize the utility and capability found in the Norton Featherbed Frame when matched with the Triumph parallel twin, Dave Degens is arguably the Father of Cafe Racers.

Starting out with a 350 Aeramachi, Degens set out on a quest to combine the best qualities from every bike he’d ridden into a single frame style combination that would allow him to shave seconds off laps times on the local brick laden streets of London. Truly a tuner, he set the bar and created a ripple effect that would change the world of motorcycling forever. The pursuit for speed, ah what wonderful thing!

In addition to building some of the most potent frame swinging-arm combinations, as Dave calls them, he is also one of the worlds foremost Triumph engine builders and rebuilders. Able to take a ceased pile of rubbish from a local scrap yard and turn it into a stunning horsepower produce ton chasing power plant, he has a vast amount of knowledge to draw off of when bringing these beauties back to life. Whether it be simple stuff like tapping and rethreading head studs to factory specification, modifying oil paths or adding additional breathers to allow for maximum performance.

But don’t take it from us, check it out yourself online right from Dave’s website at http://www.dresda.co.uk “Winner of the Barcelona 24 hour race on two occasions using sound sensible engineering 100mpg from a Triumph or 80bhp from a Triumph twin Road or Race……………….Talk to the Engineering Experts….We ship worldwide” or in person if you’re fortunate enough to be close, he’s the man when it comes to building things that go fast on two wheels.

The Cafe Racer TV Team toasts to you Dave, without you none of of us would be where we are today twisting the throttle on our aircooled vintage speed machines from pub to pub, cafe to cafe or just running amuk around the streets of our local town! Thank you!

Be sure to checkout all the Edit Room Floor Clips and Outtakes from Cafe Racer and subscribe to our Youtube Channel for updates! [CLICK HERE]

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Cafe Racer TV Season 2 “A Vintage Blur” by: Mike Seate

During a broadcast of Café Racer, viewers take in thousands of individual images, some of which zip across the TV screen so quickly, our brains sometimes wonder whether we’ve actually seen what was actually there. The speed of it all reminds me of the first visit to the Isle of Man TT I made about eight years back; I was shooting photos as fast as my Cannon Rebel would allow, with the shutter pressed to the metal and the electronic motor on “full sports” more which allowed the camera’s brain to enter hyperdrive mode. Unfortunately, when I returned home and went to the photo processing stores (remember those?) I was shocked to find my film was about half-filled with empty frames- the racers were whizzing by so fast, that most frames contained only a rear tire, if that.

That experience- which seems funny with a few year’s distance applied- reminds me of a shot that appears very briefly during the promotional summary segment that aired during the first show of this season on Wednesday, August 43. It was filmed at Squires Coffee Bar near Leeds, England and captured a fellow doing a massive burn-up on an original Manx Norton. For the uninitiated, the Manx Norton was the racing machine of the 1960s, claiming more British and International racing titles than Usain Bolt does today in track and field. For a 350cc or 500cc single, the Manx clearly punched above its weight – so much so that a few years back, Grand Prix champ Phil Read took on a modern Yamaha YZF-R1 with his trusty bump-start-only Manx Norton and lapped England’s Donnington Park circuit nearly as fast as the R-1 pilot!

Well, when our crew spotted the Manx sitting beneath the Squires sign, we struck up a conversation, and during our chat, asked just how fast the little silver devil could actually go. “About 130 when she’s in the proper mood,” the owner proudly boasted, which caught us off guard. A true 130MPH form an air-cooled, four valve, 500cc single just didn’t add up, not when we’ve struggled to do 120 on modern, air-cooled café bikes manufactured and designed in the modern age. But before we could voice our doubts, CRTV producer Brad Jones was shoving the Manx and its rider along the Squires car park, helping to bump-start the machine, which erupted to life in a glorious swell of single-cylinder thunder.

The crew placed their cameras alongside the undulating, two-lane road adjacent to the coffee shop and as a small crowd of rockers gathered to see the legendary machine in action, the owner revved his throttle for all it was worth and blasted past us at a speed well in excess of the ton. Grin firmly planted on his face, he turned around and burned by us again, even faster. You can youtube the clip and share in this amazing spectacle and I’m glad we were there to see it ourselves. If our collective jaws didn’t scrape the pavement that day, they should have and it wasn’t the first- and thankfully will not be the last – time we’ve been completely godsmacked by the sheer speed and mechanical prowess of a vintage café racer. No wonder riders in the know treat Manx Nortons with the respect and reverence NBA players did a Michael Jordan jump-shot. Who knows how Norton created a machine with that sort of performance capability back in the days when most streetbikes were barely capable of wheezing their way to 100 MPH, but the next time I doubt some old school rocker about his machine’s top speed, I’ll remember that particular ride.

Now, I wonder if we can piece one together in our own garage…

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Cafe Racer Season 2 Builder Recap

Due to the foundation of “cafe culture” being established by the building of low budget speed machines with whatever the gents who were turning wrenches had access to the available talent for custom builders is both varied and vast. In season 2 of Cafe Racer TV you’ll see some familiar faces along with some new ones, some of which are responsible for the original cafe movement that took place in London. Take some time and research these guys, look at their websites, check their facebooks pages. They do what do for you, and for the love of the machine and each and every one deserves a bit of your time. We’ve got a stellar cast lined up for you this season folks, we hope you enjoy it! Go Go Cafe Racer!

British Customs

British Customs began with a vision to manufacture quality bolt-on parts that even a novice rider could install and use. With just a few thousand dollars to start, British Customs has grown from an out-of-the-garage home business into the leading manufacturer of aftermarket parts and accessories for Triumph Motorcycles. The initial focus was to improve overall performance starting with air boxes and exhaust pipes, but owner Jason Panther quickly saw the need for styling and designing quality products to specifically match the fit and finish of the Triumph Motorcycle line. With more than 18 years of experience in the industry, British Customs is the expert source and one-stop-shop for all things Triumph.  Their mission is to provide quality, simple to install bolt-on parts while improving a bike’s appearance, handling and performance a perfect segway for the next generation of Cafe Racers!

Bike Specifications: 2011 Triumph Thruxton

Frame: Stock
Subrame: N/A
Engine: Stock
Carburetion or FI System: EFI
Rear Swing Arm: Stock
Rear Wheel (Size): 17”
Front Wheel (Size): 18”
Steering Stabilizer: N/A
Rear Shock(s): Hagon Nitros
Clip-Ons or Bars: LSL Clip-ons w/ British Customs Triple Tree
Seat: Stock
Tank: Stock
Rear Sets: Stock
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: N/A
Tires (Sizes): 130/70-18 Front, 170/55-17 Rear (British Customs Wide Tire Kit)
Exhaust: British Customs 2-into-1
Paint: White Pearl w/ Gold Hue and Silver Accent Striping

British Customs featured in Episodes – 11, 12 & 13

– Original Airs: 10/5, 10/12 & 10/19 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
18426 South Broadway
Gardena, CA 90248
Phone: (877) 999-2748
Email: sean@british-customs.com
Website: www.british-customs.com

Bryan Fuller – Fuller Hotrods

Bryan Fuller is no stranger to cutting things up and making them gleem. Having worked with Chip Foose on a series of one-week custom builds for the TV series “Overhaulin” is no easy feat for any man! In addition to cutting and grinding with the best of them Bryan has also been a co-host for SPEED’s “Two Guys Garage” which is the oldest how-to automotive TV show currently on the air. Combine those elements with the mind to bend metal and chase speed and his talented crew and you’ve got a formula for one heck of a Cafe Racer!

Bike Specifications: Honda CB750

Frame: Modified stock, Fuller Rear Section
Subrame: N/A
Engine: 1969 CB750 w/ 836 Kit
Carburetion or FI System: CR
Rear Swing Arm: Custom Fuller, Retains Engine Oil
Rear Wheel (Size): 5.50-18”
Front Wheel (Size): 3.50-18”
Steering Stabilizer: N/A
Rear Shock(s): Fox
Clip-Ons or Bars: Custom, Fuller w/ Beringer Controls
Seat: Custom Aluminum Fuller
Tank: 1969 CB750 Modified stock, Fuller Custom
Rear Sets: Custom Fuller
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: N/A
Tires (Sizes): 110/80-19 Front, 180/55-18 Rear
Exhaust: Custom Fuller w/ Cone Engineering Mufflers
Paint: JDK w/ Stripping by Papa Studios, Plating & Polishing by Pro Plating Atlanta

Bryan Fuller featured in Episodes – 1, 2 & 3

– Original Airs: 8/3, 8/3 & 8/10 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
250 Arizona NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
Phone: (310) 704-3855
Email: bryan@fullerhotrods.com
Website: www.fullerhotrods.com

Classic Bike Experience

A bunch of guys who like to work on old British bikes (and yes, occasionally some other stuff).  Their group includes many former Brit bike mechanics, racers and aerospace engineers.  They started as a small club operating out of a heated garage, dubbed “The Classic Bike Cooperative”.  And cooperate they did, to the point where we outgrew the space!  And now, their favorite parts supplier in NH has decided to do more retirement related activities.  So, after purchasing his inventory and a move into their new location in Essex Junction VT they open for business turning out some the most classic cafe iron running the streets.

Bike Specifications: Norton Commando

Frame: Norton Commando
Subrame: Stock Norton Isolastic
Engine: 750 Norton Commando
Carburetion or FI System: Mikuni 2 into 1 –  34mm
Rear Swing Arm: Stock
Rear Wheel (Size): 19”
Front Wheel (Size): 19”
Steering Stabilizer: N/A
Rear Shock(s): Stock
Clip-Ons or Bars: Norman Hyde “M” bars
Seat: Corbin Gunfighter
Tank: Commando Roadster
Rear Sets: N/A
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: N/A
Tires (Sizes): Avon 19”
Exhaust: Pattern Dunstall
Paint: Custom

Classic Bike Experience featured in Episodes – 14, 15 & 16

– Original Airs: 10/26, 11/2 & 11/9 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
104 Center Rd. 05452
Essex, VT
Phone: (802) 310-878-6961
Email: jack@classicbikeexperience.com
Website: www.classicbikeexperience.com

Greg “Doc’s Chops” Hageman

Back for another season of Cafe Racer, Greg Hageman is still bless for an eye for finding “Pickers” quality treasure among trash-heaps, transforming old and forgotten, Japanese commuter bikes from the 1970s into stunning café racers. Greg’s specialty is everything from Yamaha’s XS 650 and shaft-driven XS 750 to Honda’s CX 500 transverse twin as you all know, but this year he’s taken on something new, a Yamaha Virago. Hageman hasn’t let us down yet, but lets be honest people, this is a Yamaha Virago one of the ugliest motorcycles every produced. Greg’s gonna have his work cut out for him so stay tuned and you be the judge!

Bike Specifications: Yamaha Virago 750

Frame: Stock
Subrame: Handbuilt
Engine: 750cc
Carburetion or FI System: Dynojet Carburetion
Rear Swing Arm: Stock
Rear Wheel (Size): 15 x 3″
Front Wheel (Size): 18 x 3″
Steering Stabilizer: N/A
Rear Shock(s): Showa
Clip-Ons or Bars: Tarozzi
Seat: Moto Lanna
Tank: Benelli Original NOS
Rear Sets: Tarozzi
Radiator: Stock
Fairings: N/A
Tires (Sizes): Front 120/90-18, Rear 140/90-15
Exhaust: Jardine
Paint: Custom by Kenny Chains

Greg Hageman featured in Episodes – 15, & 16

– Original Airs: 11/2, 11/9 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
Email: docschops@yahoo.com
Website: www.docschops.net

Dave Degens – Dresda Triumph & Triton Tuning

Dave Degens, while he didn’t build a specific bike for Cafe Racer TV Season 2 deserves mention amongst our fantastic list of builders. Why? Because along with folks like Mark Wilsmore of The Ace Cafe, Degens helped pioneer “Cafe Racer Culture” and has been instrumental in its furtherment around the globe. In Daves’ words- “The whole idea was a racer you could use on the road, or the nearest you could get to it.” And was he ever right… Famous around the globe for tuning Triumphs and his most famous game-changing production bike, “The Triton” the youth of cafe culture owes a great debt to Degens. Here’s a sampling of what Dave likes to do in his later years, custom one-off purpose built machines. In this case, a rare Rudge. If you’re going to watch any of the features in Cafe Racer TV, this is the one!

Dave Degens featured in Episode – 1

– Original Airs: 8/3 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
Howells, Friday Street
Rusper, West Sussex RH12 4QA
Phone: (011) 44 1293 871 887
Email: dave@dresda.co.uk
Website: www.dresda.co.uk

Dime City Cycles

Back for another season, the boys in red at Dime City Cycles have arguable become the go to guys for vintage Honda parts. In addition to their access to hard to find Honda items, they’ve also managed to amass and build what may be the largest source of universal cafe racer parts on the web.  Loaded with high quality product images and witty product descriptions it’s confirmed, these boys love to have when it comes to work.  So whether you’re building a vintage Honda or Yamaha or even a modern Triumph they’ve got it all! In addition, they also turn out some of the coolest Honda Cafe Racers pounding the pavement.

Bike Specifications: Honda CB400F Super Sport “The Four Hundred”

Frame: Modified stock chromoly track frame
Subrame: N/A
Engine: Yoshimura 466cc CB400F
Carburetion or FI System: CR Race on big-bore carburetors
Rear Swing Arm: Modified stock chromoly track swingarm
Rear Wheel (Size): 18” Aluminum shouldered
Front Wheel (Size): 18” Aluminum shouldered
Steering Stabilizer: Custom valved hydraulic
Rear Shock(s): Progressive
Clip-Ons or Bars: Tarozzi
Seat: Handbuilt fiberglass
Tank: Replica fiberglass Ducati GP
Rear Sets: DCC/Loaded Gun
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: Customized replica Ducati GP
Tires (Sizes): 120 Metzler rear and 110 Metzler front
Exhaust: Custom DCC/MAC stainless steel & ceramic coated
Paint: Custom by Tribby, Pin Striping by Liza aka: Von Dutch’s Daughter

Dime City Cycles featured in Episodes – 7, 8, 13, 14 & 15

– Original Airs: 9/7, 9/14, 10/19, 10/26 & 11/02 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
2025 Lake Ave. SE, Unit C
Largo, FL 33771
Phone: (727) 386-9735
Email: thecrew@dimecitycycles.com
Website: www.dimecitycycles.com

Framecrafters

Framecrafters is a performance motorcycle fabrication shop located in northwest Illinois. Originally a design and fabrication shop for chassis only, Framecrafters has methodically expanded their focus to the entire motorcycle. While still specializing in frame and associated parts fabrication, Framecrafters also offers their expertise of building, converting, and restoring motorcycles to their customers. Randy, Justin, and Karsten are life long motorcycle enthusiasts who ride and race. Street, trail, track, each type is viewed by Framecrafters as an important part of motorcycling that should be fun and exhilarating. From building a ground up racer to resuscitating your old street bike, Framecrafters is up to the task and a solid member of the Café Racer team!

Bike Specifications: Framecrafters Custom YZ450F

Frame: Custom, Bi-Metallic
Subrame: Custom, Solo Aluminum
Engine: 06’-09’ Yamaha YZ450F
Carburetion or FI System: 42MM Keihin
Rear Swing Arm: 06’-09’ Yamaha YZ450F
Rear Wheel (Size): Galespeed Aluminum 5” x 17”
Front Wheel (Size): Galespeed Aluminum 3.5” x 17”
Steering Stabilizer: 100MM Shindy
Rear Shock(s): RaceTech G3-S w/ FC Linkage
Clip-Ons or Bars: Vortex
Seat: Battle Factory Honda RS250 Fiberglass
Tank: Custom, Aluminum
Rear Sets: Battle Factory Honda RS250
Radiator: Custom, 06’-09’ Yamaha YZ450F
Fairings: Battle Factory Honda RS250 Fiberglass
Tires (Sizes): 120/70-17 Dunlop KR106 Front, 165/55-17 Rear
Exhaust: Custom Stainless Steel
Paint: N/A

Framecrafters featured in Episodes – 10, 11 & 12

– Original Airs: 09/28, 10/05 & 10/12 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
Email: randy@framecrafters.net
Website: www.framecrafters.net

Yoshi Kosaka – Garage Co & Jay LaRossa – Lossa Engineering

Lossa Engineering and Garage Company have teamed up to build one of the baddest RD’s out there.  By far one of the fastest and most popular 2 strokes from the 70’s, the RD 350/400’s were the bike of choice for those looking for white knuckles.  Jay and Yoshi wanted to build a purpose built vintage race bike and still make it street-able.  No modern stuff here folks, just parts and style straight from the 70’s.  Yoshi rebuilt the RD350 motor and hand made the 2 stroke exhaust from flat steel while Lossa built the tail from a old SR500 gas tank and stretched n lowered the Dayton Special gas tank.  The Lossa team also de tabbed the frame, made the seat hoop and reinforced the whole frame.  Garage Co. supplied the rare Yamaha TZ front end with clip ons and a flanged hoop.

Bike Specifications: Yamaha RD400

Frame: Stock
Subrame: Stock
Engine: Rebuilt, RD350
Carburetion or FI System: Dual Mikuni
Rear Swing Arm: Custom Aluminum, Lossa
Rear Wheel (Size): 18”
Front Wheel (Size): 18”
Steering Stabilizer: Kawasaki H1
Rear Shock(s): Hagon
Clip-Ons or Bars: Vintage
Seat: Custom Steel, Lossa (From SR500 Fuel Tank)
Tank: Custom RD400 Daytona Special, Lossa (Stretched 2-1/2” and Lowered 1”)
Rear Sets: Loaded Gun
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: N/A
Tires (Sizes): Dunlop
Exhaust: Custom, Yoshi
Paint: House of Kolor Black Gold w/ Chrome Yellow & White Striping

Yoshi & Jay featured in Episodes – 14 & 15

– Original Airs: 11/03 & 11/10 @ 8:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info: (Jay)
2659 Junipero Ave
Signal Hill, CA 90755
Phone: (562) 899-8389
Email: info@lossaengineering.com
Website: www.lossaengineering.com

Contact info: (Yoshi)
956 W. Hyde Park Blvd.
Inglewood, CA 90302
Phone: (800) 393-3766
Email: yoshi@garagecompany.com
Website: www.garagecompany.com

Joker Machine

With roots in aviation product design Joker Machine holds itself to the absolute highest level of standards in the industry. Begining under the name C&W the Joker emblem was scrawled on a hand-full of custom parts produced for their first v-twin project and it was an instant success! Thus, the name was changed to Joker Machine. With a list of distributors of their over 700, manufactured in-house skus, like Drag Specialties and Parts Unlimited it’s no surprise that the brand and company took off with great success. As they’ve developed their brand and parts list they’ve produced quite and offering for the Honda CB750 which is arguable, the most iconic Japanese Cafe Racer ever built.

Bike Specifications: 1975 Honda CB750 SOHC

Frame: Stock
Subrame: N/A
Engine: Stock CB750 SOHC
Carburetion or FI System: Stock Keihin Carburetors
Rear Swing Arm: Stock
Rear Wheel (Size): 18” Aluminum Excell
Front Wheel (Size): 19” Aluminum Excell
Steering Stabilizer: N/A
Rear Shock(s): Hagon
Clip-Ons or Bars: Flanders (Triple tree & controls by Joker Machine)
Seat: Classic City Cycles
Tank: Stock Honda CB750
Rear Sets: Joker Machine
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: Customized replica Ducati GP
Tires (Sizes): Bridgestone Battleax 19” Front, 18” Reart
Exhaust: MAC 4-into-1
Paint & Powdercoat: Corsair Powdercoating & Specialized Coatings

Joker Machine featured in Episodes – 7, 8 & 9

– Original Airs: 9/7, 9/14 & 9/21 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
1931 Yeager Ave.
La Verne, CA 91750
Phone: (909) 596-9690
Email: rpw@jokermachine.com
Website: www.jokermachine.com

Morrie’s Place

With an eye for the original, the team at Morrie’s Place found a gem in a Norton Chopper and along with the rest of their classic custom works, have created a stunning original representation of what the chopped up, raked out metal sled resembled in it’s hay-day. With a major basis of their business being resurrecting English iron, they have the tools, knowledge and experience to revive even the most forgotten of motorcycles!

Bike Specifications: 1948 Norton

Frame: Garden Gate Norton Plunger
Subrame: N/A
Engine: 1948 Norton 500cc OHC International Single Cylinder
Carburetion or FI System: Amal TT10
Rear Swing Arm: Stock
Rear Wheel (Size): 20”
Front Wheel (Size): 21”
Steering Stabilizer: Friction Knob Damper
Rear Shock(s): N/A
Clip-Ons or Bars: Clubmans
Seat: British Solo
Tank: 1947 Norton Manx
Rear Sets: N/A
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: N/A
Tires (Sizes): 3.50×20 Rear, 3.25×21 Front
Exhaust: Straight Pipe w/ Megaphone
Paint & Powdercoat: Period Correct Two-Tonw White and Black

Morrie’s Place featured in Episode – 12

– Original Airs: 10/12 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

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Contact info:
5410 Austin Ct.
Ringwood, IL 60072
Phone: (815) 653-7000
Email: morriesplc@aol.com
Website: www.morriesplacecycles.com


Kenny Cummings – NYC Norton

Kenny Cummings is a four-time AHRMA National Champion racer, who campaigns a Seeley Norton Commando and a Manx Norton throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. After many years of building and perfecting his own racing bikes, he has put his skills toward building and tuning bikes for others who want a high level of performance from their classics. Based in NYC, he quietly opened his shop, NYC Norton, to a few select customers last year and was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm. On the lifts currently are several racing bikes in various states of completion, including a couple that will be campaigned by world-class racers at this year’s Barber Vintage Celebration, as well as a handful of high-performance street bikes.

Bike Specifications: Custom Norton Commando

Frame: Seeley MK2, fabricated by Roger Titschmarsh and imported from Minnovation Racing in the UK
Subrame: N/A
Engine: Highly modified Norton Commando 750cc
Carburetion or FI System: Amal MK2 36mm
Rear Swing Arm: Seeley
Rear Wheel (Size): 18″ Flanged Alloy w/Dunlop KR164
Front Wheel (Size): 18″ Flanged Alloy w/Dunlop KR825
Steering Stabilizer: Ohlins Damper
Rear Shock(s): Works Performance Lightweight Alloy Trackers
Clip-Ons or Bars: Minnovation
Seat: Seeley MK2
Tank: Seeley Short Circuit
Rear Sets: Barleycorn Engineering
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: Kirby w/ Belly-pan
Tires (Sizes): KR164 = 130/70, KR825 = 80/80
Exhaust: Steve Maney Racing
Paint & Powdercoat: None – Bare frame exposing absolute TIG-brazing

Spannerland featured in Episode – 11

– Original Airs: 10/5 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
Email: nycnorton@gmail.com

Santiago Choppers

Hailing from France, Alain Bernard is most often found with a hammer in his hand and Elvis playing on the background. Fortunately, for both the hammer and Elvis, he brings them both into the best possible light. An artist who combines the best of all marques, Alain Bernard created a stunning KZ1000 in Season One and is back with his Norley a hybrid Norton Featherbed Frame powered by a Sportster Engine. The crew of Santiago Choppers always delivers with a punch and this season is no exception!

Bike Specifications: 2011 Norley

Frame: JW Motorcycle/Santiago Chopper –
Subrame: N/A
Engine: 74ci Harley Davidson Sportster
Carburetion or FI System: CR
Rear Swing Arm: Norley
Rear Wheel (Size): 17” Norley
Front Wheel (Size): 17” Norley
Steering Stabilizer: N/A
Rear Shock(s): Norley
Clip-Ons or Bars: Ducati Frontend & Tripple Trees w/ Votex Clip-ons
Seat: Norley
Tank: Norley
Rear Sets: Storz
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: None
Tires (Sizes): 17×3.5” Front & Rear
Exhaust: Norley
Paint & Powdercoat: Paint by Craig

Santiago Choppers featured in Episodes – 9, 10 and 11

– Original Airs: 9/21, 9/28 and 10/05 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
6102 Adamo Dr. E
Tampa, FL 33619
Phone: (813) 677-1676
Email: santiagochopper@aol.com
Website: www.santiagochopper.com

Contact info:
Wynne Pendraig
JW Motorcycles
Email: jwmotorcycles@gmail.com
Website: www.the-norley.com

Tim Harney

With a spotty driving record, an almost unusable and impractical education for industrial design (since the US economic downturn) and a desire to go fast, Tim Harney has forged a path as one of the most unique up and coming custom bike builders. With a great emphasis on classic cafe culture, chopping what you have and keeping things on the the leanest of budgets, Tim has managed to produce some fast, flashy and now, reliable Cafe Racers to run around the streets of Brooklyn on. Paying his bills by producing custom metal furniture from his boutique in NYC, Brooklyn Design House, he candidly stated – “Metal is metal, it’s all the same.” And how right he is, folks. Tim is the epitome of cafe spirit, a down and dirty, get it done and have a fun time while doing it stand-up guy and we’re confident you’ll enjoy his spot in Season 2. Just watch out for the smoke cloud!

Bike Specifications: 2011 Harney Bro’s Special

Frame: 1997 GSXR1100
Subrame: Ducati Bi-Posto
Engine: 1987 Suzuki LT250R w/ 6 Speed Transmission
Carburetion or FI System: Carburetion
Rear Swing Arm: Honda Hawk GT
Rear Wheel (Size): 17″
Front Wheel (Size): 17″
Steering Stabilizer: N/A
Rear Shock(s): Fox Double-clicker Honda Hawk
Clip-Ons or Bars: Triumph 675
Seat: Ducati Bi-Posto
Tank: GSXR750
Rear Sets: 2006 Kawasaki, ZX10R
Radiator: Yamaha Virago
Fairings: Custom Aluminum, Harney
Tires (Sizes): 18” and 19”
Exhaust: Sectioned FMF Expansion Chamber w/ FMF Muffler
Paint & Powdercoat: N/A

Tim Harney featured in Episodes – 8, 9 and 10

– Original Airs: 9/14, 9/21 and 9/28 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
Email: harneytim@gmail.com

Union Motorcycles

The team at Union Motorcycles consists of dedicated (dare we say rabid?) vintage motorcycle enthusiasts with a wide spectrum of backgrounds and skills. They say it takes a village? We’ve they’ve got one. (Including the occasional idiot.) Professional mechanics, Fabricators and restorers joining forces with professional designers = Something we like to think of as the Super Friends of Classic Motorcycles. Their 67 Beezer is a testament to the dedication and fun-loving atmosphere such a place creates.

Bike Specifications: 1967 BSA A65 Lightning

Frame: Modified and stripped BSA A65
Subrame: N/A
Engine: Stock, Rebuilt
Carburetion or FI System: Dual Amal Concentrics carbs
Rear Swing Arm: Stock – detabbed
Rear Wheel (Size): 18″ Shouldered Aluminum
Front Wheel (Size): 18″ Shouldered Aluminum
Steering Stabilizer: Modified Ceriani dampener
Rear Shock(s): 1 inch over stock
Clip-Ons or Bars: Dunstall Replicas
Seat: Custom Fiberglass, Union and GFTP
Tank: Custom Fiberglass, Union and GFTP
Rear Sets: Custom, Union
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: Custom Fiberglass, Union and GFTP
Tires (Sizes): 18” and 18”
Exhaust: Stock headers –  modified mufflers
Paint & Powdercoat: Paint

Union Motorcycles featured in Episodes – 6, 7 and 8
– Original Airs: 8/31, 9/7 and 9/14 @ 9:00pm

– First Replay: Coming Soon

Contact info:
6129 Ustick Rd.
Nampa, ID 83687
Phone: (208) 466-4474
Email: unionmotorcycleclassics@gmail.com
Website: www.unionmotorcycle.com

Ypsilanti Cafe Racer

John started riding at the age of 4 when his dad put him on a Ruppman mini bike, which is when he simultaneously fell in love with motorcycles. Along with riding motorcycles he was heavy into skateboarding and the punk rock scene from England, and from a young age was influenced by rocker culture.  As an adult in the mid 90s he combined his love for motorcycles and stunts from skateboarding and became a stunt rider until 2002 when he with aspirations to open his first bike shop. With a mind to open a facility that was geared more toward the punk rocker scene led him to the “café racer” style of bikes.  Ypsilnati Cafe Racer was officially started in 2009 by combining Johns mechanical talents with partner Leah’s business savvy. Filling a void in the metro Detroit area they’ve experienced tremendous growth and success in sharing cafe culture.

Bike Specifications: 1976 Honda CB360

Frame: Strock, Stripped
Subrame: N/A
Engine: Stock, Rebuilt
Carburetion or FI System: Stock
Rear Swing Arm: Stock
Rear Wheel (Size): 18″ Stock
Front Wheel (Size): 18″ Stock
Steering Stabilizer: Custom, Ypsilanti
Rear Shock(s): Stock
Clip-Ons or Bars: Dunstall Replicas
Seat: Custom Steel, RAS MOTO/Ypsilanti
Tank: Custom Fiberglass, RAS Moto/Ypsilanti
Rear Sets: Custom Aluminum, RAS Moto/Ypsilanti
Radiator: N/A
Fairings: None
Tires (Sizes): 3.50-18 Rear, 3.00-19 Front
Exhaust: Moto Fiaccone
Paint & Powdercoat: RAS Moto/Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti Cafe Racer featured in Episodes – 6, and 7

– Original Airs: 8/31, and 9/7 @ 9:00pm
– First Replay: Coming Soon

[PHOTO GALLERY HERE]

Contact info:
10 E. Cross Street
Ypsilanti, MI 49198
Phone: (313) 590-3373
Email: johnnycrasher@yahoo.com
Website: www.caferacerypsi.com

Week 10 – Cafe by any definition

“You call that a café racer?’ These six words are familiar in our ears, minds and e-mail in-boxes, and they emanate from readers of all stripes, nationalities and specific motorcycling preferences. It appears there are more individual definitions of what constitutes a true café racer than there are backaches from too-low clip-on handlebars, but that, as they say, is the beauty of the thing.


To the purists we meet, a café racer can only be British, air-cooled and imbued with certain character traits including but not limited to, leaky crankcases, dodgy electrical systems, kick starters and a mechanical lineage that can be directly traced back to Guy Fawkes and Bracebridge Street. We heard lots of this while filming the Café Racer series in the United Kingdom, a place where, very often, café racers are locked in a place and time that hasn’t moved forward technologically since pints cost pocket change and smoking was permitted in pubs. These machines are, beyond debate, the true essence of the café racer, but I’d like to think the term can have a much broader definition these days.

In other parts of the world, for instance, people held equally strong opinions about just what quantifies a café racer, but their differing views make for a wild, unpredictable genre of custom streetbikes that, to be honest, is as malleable as a block of billet aluminum. In Germany, stripped-down, high-performance streetfighters are considered the natural, 21st Century heirs to the Café Racer mantle, while in Japan, rockers tend to favor small-displacement Japanese retros and commuter bikes, dressed up in throwback bodywork that makes Yamaha SR 500s and Honda GB’s resemble everything from Manx Nortons to Matchless’ stunning G50 and everything in between.


Here in the States, at risk of sounding chauvinistic, we seem to enjoy the broadest possible re-defining of what a café racer can be, as builders across a vast age and cultural range continue to amaze us with their creations. Attend a cutting-edge streetbike rally like Milwaukee’s Rockerbox or one of the many Mods and Rockers events happening these days, and you’ll be blown away by the sheer, unbridled enthusiasm and experimentation that’s happening right here, right now. I’ve spent long moments staring at bikes that were so odd they defied description, only to ask myself, “is it stripped down, unique and faster than it was stock?” Well, that, my friends is a café racer. As we say on the show, the cool thing about the café racer is there really aren’t any steadfast rules about what constitutes the prefect machine, which is a large part of what makes these motorbikes so fascinating.

Some of my favorite ton-up motorcycles seen during the past few years have, surprisingly, been powered by American-made V-Twins. This is a development not many of us could have anticipated, as Harleys are very often, associated with anything but performance riding. But the way a V-Twin motor fills a café racer frame, the sheer length of the mill lending itself perfectly to the stretched-out riding position, the ominous rumble of a pair of megas holding back wads of torque. – it all seems somehow, well, proper.


There’s also lots to dig about how the café racer craze has helped resurrect and in many cases save, old, otherwise discarded Japanese strreetbikes. I can honestly recall- which is a nice way of admitting to being over the hill – when mid-1970s Hondas, Yamahas Suzukis and Kawasakis went for only a few hundred bucks each, mainly because few North Americans realized their remarkable mechanical resilience and timeless style. Today, you may pay upwards of a Grand for clean, running examples of these ideal café donor bikes, but the fact that they’re being rebuilt, ridden and cherished by a new generation of custom builders means they’ll be around for another 30 or 40 years. And though purists may turn their noses up at newfangled sportbikes and water-cooled machines being turned into café customs, well, until you’ve ridden one of these nitro-charged road-burners at full-throttle with the wind rushing by at warp speed and your senses overloaded with adrenaline, you really shouldn’t knock ‘em.

So what, after all does make a motorcycle a café racer. Well, we put that question to Dave Degens, racer, engineer and serious builder who has cobbed together several hundred café racer specials over the years, and his answer was as illuminating as it was direct.


“A café racer is a racer for the road. A race bike you can ride to work and ten take to the track or backroads on the weekends and race against your mates,” he explained. That about covers it for me.

- Mike Seate

A little holiday cheer from across the big pond.

Thanks Brian…  This was a good one!


‘Twas the night before the Holiday race,
Not a “Rocker” was stirring, not even at the Ace.

Battery tenders were attached, to their terminals with care,
In hopes that St. Lucas soon would be there.

The “Mod’s” were nestled all snug in the beds,
While visions of zenier-diodes danced in their heads;

And me in my Barbours, and pudding bowl cap,
I had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When out in the garage, there arose such a clatter,
of 50 weight oil, and cold piston chatter.

I threw open the shutter to see what was the matter,
Would it be Geoff Duke eating a fish & Chips platter? (ok, that’s really bad I know)

The moon on the breast of old British chrome,
Gave the luster of mid-day to the Wolverhampton home.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a ancient Steib sidecar full of draft Guinness beer!

With a fiddly old rider, slightly off his Rocker,
I knew it was St. Lucas, the original little shocker.

More rapid than Tritons, the Mighty-ones came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, Commando! Now Atlas!, and Model 18 too!
On, Navigator! On Dominator! On, Manx! They all flew!

From the bend at Brands Hatch, and on to the Mountain Mile!
They came in hot! and slid by with great style.

Both agile and light — yes Featherbeds do fly!,
When they meet with an obstacle, they wheelie to sky.

So up to the house-top the Nortons they flew,
With the panniers full of parts, for me and for you.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Lucas came with a bound.

He was dressed in waxed cotton, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with burnt Castroll soot;

With Amals, and Avons he had flung on his back,
he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know, I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
He filled batteries with smoke, then turned with a jerk;

And laying his finger aside of his nose,
SPLAT! a blue spark, and up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his Steib, and gave just one kick,
All eight bikes started, one hell of a trick.

But I heard him exclaim, as he wheelied out of sight,
“Happy Holidays” to all, may your Norton thump through the night”

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