The racer lives on.
Today, the cafe racer maintains a deep-rooted, passionate following, encompassing, in style and attitude, the soul of those early British Marquees and the leather-clad hooligans who earned the name “Rocker.” (A term rooted in Britain’s 1960s’ counter-culturists, the Rockers.)
Rainer Budnik of Henrichenburg, Germany, shares the spirit launched in the early ’60s. But instead of taking a vintage platform and restoring the past, Rainer preferred a more modern interpretation. Starting with a 1999 Triumph Daytona 955i, the cafe project was set with a classic British namesake.
The first step was disassembling the bike and spining up custom bits that would make the bike stand out as a hardcore cafe racer. Rainer designed many of the custom parts for the Triumph. With his good friend Russky working the CNC machine, they handled the work with great detail and precision.
The front end and controls are extremely streamlined. Rainer began with 955i forks. The triple clamps are a one-off design folding into the fork covers for a smooth look, top to bottom. The custom-designed top clamp incorporates the handlebar clamps and Motogadget Mini gauge. Walz Hardcore cycles provided the one-inch drag bar holding Arlen Ness levers and an internal throttle.
To keep the bars simple and clean, Rainer made custom switchgear, residing in the hand lever clamps. To light the dark German backroads, Rainer made a custom headlight housing, mimicking a classic single round with integrated visor.
Moving to the rear end, the factory subframe was binned, in favor of a one-off piece. At this point, Rainer got help in the construction from another friend, KaSuDuc. Once the solo unit had been fitted, it was topped off with a Martek seat unit and custom-fit iron cross tail lights. Also coming out of the CNC mill was a set of custom hub covers for the rear wheel. While he had KaSuDuc on board, they fabbed a custom megaphone exhaust and fitted it beneath the engine.
Before they reassembled the bike, its frame and suspension parts were treated to a coat of satin black. Rainer did the bodywork and paint himself.
The “Go, Baby, Go” button in front of the tank is actually the start button, inspired by his favorite movie, “Gone in 60 Seconds.” The nitrous button in Nick Cage’s Eleanor said it all.
The paint took more of a nod toward traditional hot rods. He shot the tank and tail in a matte gray, with a distressed white race stripe and lettering. To be more in tune with the cafe spirit, he added oval number plates: number 77 is actually the year he was born.
And for a rider born some 20 years after the heyday of the cafe scene, he’s built himself a hardcore cafe fighter.