A photographic chronology of some of the fastest, most stylish, and most individualized bikes in motorcycling history. Originally used as a slur against riders who used hopped-up motorcycles to travel from one transport café to another, café racer describes a bike genre that first became popular in 1960s British rocker subculture - although the motorcycles were also common in Italy, France, and other European countries. The rebellious rock-and-roll counterculture is what first inspired these fast, personalized, and distinctive bikes, with their owners often racing down public roads in excess of 100 miles per hour ("ton up" in British slang), leading to their public branding as "ton-up boys." Café Racers traces café racer motorcycles from their origins in the mid-twentieth century all the way into modern times, where the style has made a recent comeback in North America and Europe alike, through the museum-quality portraiture of top motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter and the text of motorcycle culture expert Paul d'Orléans. Chronologically illustrated with fascinating historical photography, the book travels through the numerous ever-morphing and unique eras of these nimble, lean, light, and head-turning machines. Café Racers visually celebrates a motorcycle riding culture as complex as the vast array of bikes within it.
Since the early 1980s, Michael Lichter has been photographing custom motorcycles for the pages of Easyriders magazine--often hanging from the beds of pickup trucks during rainstorms or photographing packs of bikers in such places as Daytona Beach, Florida, and Sturgis, South Dakota. He has written and provided photography for a number of books, and he lives and works in Boulder, Colorado.
Paul d'Orléans, better known as the publisher of website The Vintagent, travels the world following the vintage motorcycle scene. As a rider, collector, and recognized expert on moto-history, he is a passionate advocate for old motorcycles and writes for numerous magazines (including Cycle World, MCN, Men's File, Klassik Motorrad, and Café Racers FR), websites, and club journals worldwide.
"...the just released hardcover book Cafe Racers, Speed, Style and Ton Up Culture is a must-own if you like the Cafe Racers genre." - CyrilHuzeBlog.com
"If you enjoyed Paul's crisp, perceptive writing in our own book The Ride, take a look at his latest work€”a joint project with one of the top US motorcycle photographers, Michael Lichter. So fresh my own copy has not arrived yet€”but I'll be ripping off the packaging in haste when it lands in the mailbox." - BikeEXIF.com
"D'Orleans does an amazing thing in Cafe Racers - he provides a history of motorcycling's earliest days and how cafe racers evolved, became widely popular in the 1960s and beyond that is almost clinical in its completeness, yet he keeps it from being as dry as a helmet owner's manual. Add to that 200 stunning, large format, full-color studio shots of some of the best examples of cafe racers you'll ever see, 75 period and historic black-and-white images slathered all over 224 10" x 12.25" heavy stock pages and you have a book that is as much presentation quality art as it is a technical masterpiece. Even if you haven't been particularly drawn to the cafe racer scene up to now, if you appreciate Spartan, essential motorcycles that are an art form unto themselves, you will find Cafe Racers a fascinating read and a great addition to your library." - UltimateMotorcycling.com