8 Cool Retro Cafe Bikes That Won’t Break the Bank

A vintage Kawasaki and a new Z650 RS in green.

CUSTOM CAFÉ BIKES get our blood pumping. But we get it: not all of us have the time and energy to devote to a full café racer build. Luckily, manufacturers are here to oblige with off-the-shelf café and vintage-inspired bikes that have the looks of old bikes, yet they have modern amenities like ABS and traction control.

These eight cool bikes are great for those who are learning to ride, or for those of us who don’t need 120 horsepower to have a good time. Importantly, they all have good retro looks that even the guys at the Ace Café would likely give a nod to.

Yamaha XSR700 in black and gold.

The Yamaha XSR700, especially in black-and-gold, looks like a modern interpretation of a John Player Special Lotus.…

Dream Big: A BMW R18 café racer by XTR Pepo and 911 MX

Custom BMW R18 by XTR Pepo and 911 MX
Here’s a custom motorcycle matchup we never expected: the wily custom bike builder, XTR Pepo, and the monstrous BMW R18. But the results are in, and they are jaw dropping.

We have 911 MX Factory to thank for this. They’re a new outfit out of Madrid, Spain, with a mission to design and build one-off customs—regardless of how outrageous the brief is. 911 MX Factory’s founder, Diego Mena, takes inspiration from Ferdinand Porsche’s famous saying; “I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself.”

Custom BMW R18 by XTR Pepo and 911 MX
There’s a context for that mantra. Diego worked for Porsche Spain for over a decade, and now plans to bring that same sense of exclusivity to the custom motorcycle scene. So he’s partnered up with top builders, like Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo, to bring these dream machines to life.…

What Is It: Can You Identify This Survivor?

Unidentified Bike
A UNIQUE BIKE is going up for sale this week at The Grand Palais Ephemere auction in Paris. It’s a bike so unique, its builder or brand is unidentified. From the Dr. Peter and Ulrike Buhner Collection of Important Pioneer and Collectors Motorcycles and Motor Cars, comes a 1905 motorcycle that’s simply called the Unidentified Veteran Motorcycle. We can usually count on Bonhams to find some rare and interesting bikes from its high-profile auctions, like a vintage Curtiss but this one’s so rare, nobody knows what it is.

Unidentified Bopnhams bike
Even the experts at Bonhams can’t tell you who built this early motorcycle. There are a few clues, but not enough to solve the mystery. Many of these early motorcycles were built by privateers who assembled parts from many different bikes, while others were prototypes for later production motorcycles.…

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