Details: stripped sportsbikes as the new café racers

Dailies -


2008_Honda_CBR1000RR_naked.jpgYesterday’s Ducati Monstersedici RR got us thinking. While we liked the idea of a naked bike powered by a 200bhp MotoGP-inspired v4, the highly advanced engine didn’t look at home in the Monster’s svelte lines. In fact, contemporary roadsters like the Monster, Honda 919, Triumph Street Triple and Yamaha FZ6 all look a little over-styled and limp wristed next to the sportsbikes that donated their engines. What’s missing is a strong technical element to the look, something that isn’t provided by the sharply creased plastic and weird exhaust cans of bikes like the Kawasaki Z1000 and Suzuki B-King. That look is surprisingly easy to achieve. Strip the fairing from most current sportsbikes and what you’re left with is a perfectly functional motorcycle, just one whose style is provided by its mechanical components, not plastics. Motorcycle design’s mantra has always been form follows function, it should be: function is form. Click through to see the three bikes we think are best suited to this treatment.
>Ducati_desmosedici_rr_naked.JPGDucati Desmosedici RR:
Strip the carbon fiber fairing off Ducati’s MotoGP replica and you’re
left with a bike that exudes mechanical aggression, not race pedigree.
Ride this to a bar and no one’s going to mistake you for a balding
stockbroker living out a mid-life crisis. It’s easy too; the fairing
will bolt right off; all the necessary lights and oily bits stay
attached. We’d add some crash damage and worn out slicks to complete
the look.

2008_Kawasaki_Concours_14_naked.jpgKawasaki Concours 14:
Think the 2009 Yamaha VMAX is an over styled, overweight let down?
Here’s the performance cruiser for you. A small single seat unit might
be a worthwhile addition, as would some Confederate Hellcat headlights.

2008_Honda_CBR1000RR_naked_2.jpg2008 Honda CBR1000RR:
Already our favorite liter bike of 2008, the CBR1000RR looks even
better minus its handsome fairing. All we’d add would be a sheet metal
undertray for the seat unit, some foam to sit on and some
so-small-you-can’t-see-them LED lights. Bonus points for leaving the
stock exhaust on; quiet is the new loud.

  • kevin

    the Kwaker for sure. put a new school tractor seat on it, and i will ride it.

  • Grant Ray

    The Concourse FTW. That thing could be just so Metal.

  • ardy

    I am big fan of the Cafe Racers. I love this idea… my next new sports bike will become a Cafe Racers, just like the old days!

  • Dr.Danger

    Put a round headlight on that CBR and it would be perfect.

  • remy

    I wouldn’t label any of these as Cafe Racers. They’re called Streetfighters. Good lookin’ bikes, too!

  • Wes

    Streetfighters to me are crazy german bikes with bad-taste paintjobs. A cafe racer was always a bike paired down to a minimum. It’s time we found a modern way to do that.

  • contender

    I just stripped my TL1000S and I love it. I also love the MX Renthals that replaced the clip-ons.

  • B-art

    The UK gave us Street fighters….not the germans

    Streetfighters are(used to be) spots bikes without plastic with an MX bar and some lights.

    But what are Bobbers…also fast bikes with all bits removed that make the bike heavy.

    So..nothing new. Just forgotten where it came from.
    But not by all.


  • Dan

    Ahh, the soothing sound of bickering whenever a niche is defined…

    I too have had that image of the stripped GTR since it came out, it needs very little to make it look bad-ass. I pilfered this image from a forum somewhere of someone interpretation of what it could be:

  • Weety

    I was thinking the very same thing a few weeks back. I was in Melbourne and saw a 929 Fireblade parked in a bike bay.

    Unremarkable any other time but stripped of its fairing and wearing only an ohlins shock and a pair of blued and feathered super corsas. I was shocked at how beutiful it was.

  • Barry Glading

    I’ve modified my ’03 Speed Triple with clip-ons, next addition a single headlight and relocated clocks – new century cafe racer !

  • IanSixty8

    If you are looking for a new generation Cafe Racer I would look at Philippe Starcks Voxan Cafe Racer or the Wakan 1640. Both are the pure essence of a modern cafe racer although the Wakan still somewhat retro. Bikes like the Benelli cafe racer are just well pure pants quite frankly.

  • Ryan

    I’m trying to figure out a good way to style my Daytona 600 into a modern day cafe-fighter. SO far I’ve moved the indicators to the frame where a fairing mount point was and removed all but the top fairing. This took some re-wiring. My first thought was to get speed four lights and intake in the hopes that everything would bolt right on(the two bikes share the same frame and engine). But now that I’ve realized that triumph overprices it’s parts horrendously (108 bucks for one light!!!)I think it would be better if I just get a nice big seven inch single headlight, mounting brackets for the light and instruments, bar-end mirror and no air intake. I hope the lake of plumbing doesn’t mess up my engine’s performance. I saw another dude with a Naked Daytona 600 with no intake other than the frame holes…so I guess it works out.

  • wulfgang

    I think the original name for this type of bike was a “chop” the clue of course being in the word itself i.e. to chop of all the unnecessary garbage added by the design and marketing department. Unfortunately the name was corrupted to include the Hollywood and recreational chemical inspired vehicles favoured by Messers Fonda and Hopper. Personally I’m all for this new mantra Form is Function. Let’s say goodbye to all the extraneous nonsense demanded by leather romper suit encased hobbywobblers. I don’t need a race replica paint job or stealth fighter inspired fairing ducts. I don’t need a lifestyle enhancing accessory to compensate for my status anxiety led midlife crisis. I just want a motorcycle that was born out of pure engineering genius. I’m off to look for a 08 blade with some cosmetic damage. Bye

  • wulfgang

    Correction for above comment “Function is Form”

  • wayne arless rhodes

    You have got to be kidding me you can not see the engine for the frame housed around the cylinder head and now your tunnel ram is not working on the intake that opens and closes on throttle openings.where is the drag bars instead of the low clip ons that break your back after the days ride.Im sorry but that plastic cost about $3,000.00 to replace. Or maybe you are selling the plastic to people over seas Ha! Ha! who cares.Now someone can walk up and cut your water hose and wait for you to go get another and steel your bike–have a new code programed in the computer and a key with the chip and wuoo lay see ya good day wayne R

  • wulfgang

    Hi Wayne,
    I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say. Perhaps you could express yourself a little differently and then I could (as they say in modern parlance) get a handle on your opinion.
    Cheers, Wulfgang

  • Bob Stapleton

    Hell yes, this is the future, too many superbikes look like plastic clones.. strip of the farings the excess baggage if you will and then add a little simple styling and your there, a bike that’ll fly and still turn heads for its originality.

  • Skeet

    Puke, I have been riding for 40 years and lived through riding bikes with no beautiful fairings on them and wished and dreamed that some day we would get them. And now people want to take them off? I dont get it. If you want that junk look just restore one of the old junk bikes.

  • Wulfgang

    I like this, it’s really beginning to upset people with limited intelligence and imagination. Maybe I should make a rude comment about Harley Davidson and wait for the Fatwah.

  • Jeremy

    I’ve always wanted to buy an 08′ and up CBR100RR just to rip the plastics off and fight it! I love the lines on that bike!