Are Café Racers Comfortable to Ride?

Café racer bikes are ideal for fun short-distance rides through town but they can become uncomfortable over long distances.

Café racers are known for their distinctive style, which often prioritizes aesthetics and a retro look over comfort. As a result, café racers are typically not as comfortable to ride as modern motorcycles designed for comfort and long-distance touring. Here are some factors to consider regarding the comfort of café racers:

  • Riding Position: Café racers typically have a more aggressive riding position with low, narrow handlebars and rear-set footpegs. This position can put more strain on your wrists, back, and neck compared to bikes with an upright or relaxed riding position.
  • Seat: Café racer seats are often narrow and thinly padded, which can become uncomfortable on longer rides. They are designed to enhance the bike’s aesthetics rather than prioritize rider comfort.
  • Suspension: Many café racers have a stiff suspension setup, which can result in a harsher ride, especially on rough roads.
  • Minimalist Design: Café racers are stripped-down and minimalist in design, often lacking the creature comforts found on modern motorcycles, such as windshields, heated grips, or plush seating.
  • Shorter Rides: Café racers are typically better suited for shorter rides or city commuting rather than long-distance touring.
  • Personal Preference: Comfort is subjective, and what one rider finds comfortable, another may not. Some riders are willing to sacrifice comfort for the unique style and aesthetic appeal of café racers.

There’s something about a café racer bike that harkens back to a bygone era. This style of motorcycle has a classic look that is timeless and steeped in nostalgia. With their low-slung handlebars, small fuel tank, and stripped-down aesthetics, cafe racers are both stylish and functional. Yet, given their low-profile and lack of support, just how comfortable can they be to ride?

Café racers can be comfortable to ride, but it depends on the rider’s preference. Café racers are typically designed for short, spirited rides, not long-distance touring. As such, they tend to have a stiffer suspension and less plush seating than other types of motorcycles. Additionally, the low-profile handlebars and lack of back support can increase fatigue over an extended period of time.

This isn’t to say that they aren’t wonderful bikes, though. In this quick overview, we’ll explain why a café racer bike might be right for you and discuss when it may be better to take a different style of motorcycle.

Café Racers are Designed for Short-Distance Trips

Many people love café racers because they are light and nimble, making them great for short-distance joyrides and around-town errands. They often have a high-revving engine and a stiff suspension, which is perfect for cutting through traffic and carving up the backroads. Café racers are also great for commuting, as they are light and easy to maneuver.

On the other hand, if you’re planning on taking a long-distance road trip, a café racer may not be the best choice. The stiff suspension and lack of back support can make riding uncomfortable over an extended period of time. Keep in mind that you’ll likely have to hunch over to handle the bike, putting excess strain on your back.

Taller Riders May Also with a Café Racer

Café racers tend to be designed for riders of average to smaller stature, as the low-profile handlebars and seating position can be uncomfortable for taller riders. If you’re over six feet tall, you may be able to find a larger model café racer but be aware that you’ll likely feel cramped after more than an hour or so of driving.

Long-Distance Riding

If you’re looking for a motorcycle that can handle long-distance rides, you may want to consider a touring bike or a cruiser. Both of these styles of motorcycles have plush, comfortable seating and a more relaxed riding position. The handlebars are also typically higher and wider, allowing for a more natural arm position and less fatigue.

Additionally, touring bikes often come with luggage racks and other accessories that can make long-distance riding more enjoyable. If you try to take luggage with you on a café racer, you’ll struggle to carry more than what you can put on your back.

The Bottom Line

Despite the comfort issues, café racers can be a great choice for those who want a stylish and light motorcycle that is perfect for short trips. If you’re looking for a motorcycle to take on long-distance rides, however, you may want to consider a different style.

It’s essential to consider your riding preferences and intended use when choosing a motorcycle. If comfort is a top priority, you may want to explore other types of motorcycles, such as cruisers, touring bikes, or standard bikes, which are designed with rider comfort in mind. However, if you are passionate about the café racer style and are willing to make modifications to improve comfort, you can make adjustments to the handlebars, seat, and suspension to suit your needs.