Over the years, we’ve seen trends in the motorcycle industry come and go, but when we think about the lasting influence Cafe Racers have had it’s clear that these ageless rockers have created a global style of their own that has, and continues, to dominate the two-wheel world.

Though some may argue that Cafe Racers are made rather than bought, we thought it was worth making a list of the best styled Cafe Racer motorbikes available for 2021. So, in this new list, we’re looking at the top 10 that have helped to keep that culture built on speed, style and rebellion alive.

Herald Cafe 400

Traditional in both looks and build, the British-based company Herald are giving us full 60’s nostalgia with their Cafe 400. The Taiwanese Honda 397cc air-cooled engine is tuned for speed and gives you that feel good feeling so you can easily bomb this little firecracker down B-roads.

This is an A2 licence friendly option that is lower on horsepower when compared to others on our list but, coming in at £4,499 it is the cheapest, so if you’re looking for a budget friendly racer to take out on weekends that’ll stay in style then this will definitely satisfy your needs.

Engine 397cc, 27 bhp, air-cooled
Top speed 90mph
Tank size 12L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 790mm
Weight 165kg
Price £4,499

Suzuki SV650X

With standout features which set it apart from the rest of the SV family, this good looker showcases clip-on handlebars, headlight cowling and a ‘tuck and roll’ seat which all encourage a sportier riding position and reinforce this racer’s authentic look. A dual sport v-twin engine is impressive yet versatile, so at low RPM you’ll generate heaps of torque whilst maintaining good road control, at mid-range you’ll feel that smooth response and a higher RPM lets you really experience a level of frenetic energy that’s ready to ‘ton-up’.

As one of the cheapest on this list, with a very impressive spec and great brand reputation, for £5,949 buying this bike will feel like an absolute bargain!

Engine 645cc, 69 bhp, liquid-cooled
Top speed 124mph
Tank size 14.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 790mm
Weight 198kg
Price £5,949

Husqvarna Vitpilen 701

The spirit of Husqvarna's Vitpilen 701 is captured through its contrasting colour scheme and 692.7cc liquid-cooled engine producing 74 bhp and 72Nm of torque. A ride-by-wire electronic fuel injection system delivers full power, letting you focus on nothing but the invitation of the wide, open road ahead. Being the lightest on the list, the narrow frame allows for seamless movement while riding, so you’ll really be able to throw it into corners. Falling into the mid-range category for everything, including price, makes it a pretty good pick.

Engine 692.7cc, 74 bhp, liquid-cooled
Top speed 115mph
Tank size 11.2L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 830mm
Weight 158kg
Price £7,549

Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer

Taking inspiration from the 125 GP Desmo, and paying tribute to the rider Bruno Spaggiari, Ducati have used retro side number boards, bold graphics, black spoked wheels and low-slung handlebars to emphasise its heritage and give it an old-school design – providing a fantastic mix of modern and vintage styling. As part of Ducati’s hugely successful Scramble range, this racer is powered by an 803cc air-cooled Desmodue engine (producing 75hp), whilst also packing a hydraulic clutch control and dual-channel BOSCH ABS, to offer a smooth power delivery, better safety and an improved riding experience.

At the heart of this counterculture, riders wanted something personalised and distinctive and that’s what Ducati’s Scrambler achieves, so if you’re looking for a bike to look good and hit triple digits on then this legend is for you.

Engine 803cc, 75 hp, air-cooled
Top speed 125mph
Tank size 13.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc (ABS)
Seat height 805mm
Weight 180kg
Price £9,995

Royal Enfield Continental GT

Royal Enfield’s resurgence in recent years has been driven by the release of the 650 Twins, the Interceptor and, of course, the Cafe Racer themed Continental GT. The stripped-down silhouette celebrates a time of style, speed and self-righteousness. Thanks to a double cradle frame, Brembo brakes and twin rear shock absorbers, the GT takes swift hairpin turns and bumps in the road in its stride. An aerodynamic riding position and indents in the fuel tank help the rider ‘tuck’ their knees in to reach peak performance and feel it’s timeless soul. This popular air-cooled motorcycle is a great middleweight option, which will also appeal to those on an A2 licence thanks to its 46hp.

One thing I will make you aware of is that the price varies depending on what colour you’re interested in. Prices start at £5,899 for Black Magic or Ventura Blue, for Dr Mayhem and Ice Queen it’ll be £6,099 but for Mister Clean (which is my second favourite combo after the striking Ventura Blue) expect to pay around £6,399.

Engine 648cc, 46 hp, air/coil-cooled
Top speed 100mph
Tank size 12.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc (ABS)
Seat height 804mm
Weight 198kg
Price £5,899 (Black Magic & Ventura Black), £6,099 (Dr Mayhem & Ice Queen) & £6,399 (Mister Clean)

BMW R NineT

The overall style of BMW’s R NineT oozes casual coolness and leaves an unmistakeable impression on the road and passers-by. Defined by a variety of characteristics such as its boxer engine, compact tank and slim rear help to keep the R NineT refined and connected to the iconic past of the ‘ton-up’ boys. With a large 18L fuel tank and awesome spec – including dual-speed indicator, adjustable upside-down front fork and ABS – lets you expand your riding range and justifies the £12K price tag.

Engine 1,170cc, 110 hp, air/oil-cooled
Top speed 125mph
Tank size 18L
Brakes Front and rear disc (ABS)
Seat height 805mm 
Weight 222kg 
Price £12,745

MV Agusta Superveloce 800

Known for producing stunning motorcycles, the Italian brand MV Agusta haven’t held back with the Superveloce 800. With a retro-focused character and aggressive yet beautiful styling, this is a sportsbike that screams exotica! Designed directly from the F3 800, the in-line three-cylinder engine reaches 148 hp at 1,300 rpm, and as ‘Superveloce’ translates to high-speed you’ll have no problem ‘tonning-up’ on this road-racer! For that extra level of fun, the 800 includes four maps – sport, race, rain and custom – to keep the bike dynamic and able to adapt to whatever the roads throw at it.

Now this bike isn’t cheap but if you’re after something unique, and have a high enough budget, then the Superveloce 800 juxtaposes nicely from the other entries, and I thought it was also worth mentioning that it comes with 3 years warranty across the whole range.

Engine 798cc, 148 hp, liquid-cooled
Top speed 149mph
Tank size 16.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 830mm
Weight 173kg
Price €20,000

Honda CB1100 RS

Curves from a golden era, a ‘pipe wrapped’ exhaust and low-slung clip-on handlebars help to make this fast-paced racer look the business. Earning it’s stripes, custom styling with contrasting chrome details, flowing fuel tank and wide seat (made the way they used to be), create a pure and real street stunner with a direct link to those early days of freedom. A steel double cradle frame, front and rear suspension units and revamped DOHC engine provide a sportier ride and fresh edge.

A decent spec and higher price, plus Honda’s reputation for reliability, make the CB1100 RS excellent value for those budding retro enthusiasts.

For those of you who are more interested in the more modern neo sports bikes then make sure to check out Honda's CB1000R model new for 2021! 

Engine 1,140cc, 88.5 bhp, air/liquid-cooled
Top speed 130mph
Tank size 16.8L
Brakes Front and rear (ABS)
Seat height 795mm
Weight 252kg
Price £9,999

Kawasaki Z900 RS Cafe

Kawasaki have designed a Cafe Racer to keep up with the pace of the urban world. A front cowl, low handlebars and pronounced seat allow you to stand out and make a statement on this bright vintage charmer. Through KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control), ABS and dual throttle valves you’ll be able to indulge in the apex of twisty lanes – and by hitting that mythic speed and then some, topping 140mph, the Z900 RS can carve up the road effortlessly!

Engine 948cc, 109 bhp, liquid-cooled
Top speed 140mph
Tank size 17L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 820mm
Weight 216kg
Price £10,949

Triumph Thruxton RS

With all the hallmarks of a conventional Cafe Racer, Triumph’s NEW Thruxton RS brings the best qualities of the ‘Ton-Up Club’ to the modern day. An indented fuel tank, clubman handlebars and distinct round headlight keep the RS true to its rocker roots and delivers an intoxicating rawness. Simple yet striking bodywork, including eye-catching gold suspension, provide that classic rock’n’roll attitude.

A responsive 1200cc parallel twin engine delivers 8PS more power and a new sports-focused chassis and Metzeler race-spec tyres give excellent handling. As one of the pioneers in the British Cafe Racer market, Triumph know what they’re doing when it comes to building bikes which pay homage to their vintage ancestors, so even with a more top of the range price, we’re sticking this bad boy at number one.

Engine 1,200cc, 103 bhp, liquid-cooled
Top speed 135mph
Tank size 14.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc (ABS)
Seat height 810mm
Weight 197kg
Price £13,000

It’s amazing to see how over 50 years on from the start of the cafe racer scene how important and in demand the culture and style remains. Though diehards will stick to the true ‘build your own’ stance, it is great to see manufacturers still offering so many great cafe racer styled motorcycles that really help bring retro right up to date!

So, what do you think to our choices? What Cafe Racer are you currently riding? Why do you love them? Share your thoughts with us below or on social media!

We’re sure the Ton-Up boys didn’t have insurance high on their list of things their bikes needed but, nowadays it’s one of the most important things to think about. Check out the two-wheel insurance specialists - Lexham Insurance – direct to get the best deal!