How long does it take to build a Cafe Racer?

Average Build Time for a Cafe Racer

So you are looking to build your very own cafe racer, and you’re curious how long it should take. Easy enough question, right? Well, maybe.


The average build time for a cafe racer is anywhere from a couple of months to a decade or more. It ultimately depends on your budget, time, and experience.

How much are you willing to spend?

How committed are you to the project?

Are you an expert or a beginner?

Those are the questions you need to ask yourself when building a cafe racer to determine how long it will take.
Cafe racers are stripped down, gorgeous, two-wheeled machines that almost every motorcycle fanatic has dreamed about building for themselves.
If you are ready to move forward and want to learn about all things related to build-time for cafe racers, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s start with planning.

Planning is Key

Coming up with a specific course of action can mean a cafe racer that you are proud of. You will feel confident about its looks, feel, and performance abilities because you put your heart and soul into it.

That said, without a plan, you will be left filling in the blanks.

You will be forced to make it up as you go, which ultimately leaves you with the possibility of making potentially deadly errors.
But there’s no reason to worry; we have you covered with our planning tips and tricks to building your cafe racer in a timely, efficient manner. Check them out:

Take a Detailed Inventory and Make a List

First things first – you need to take inventory of what you have on hand and what you need to purchase. This task may seem tedious, but it will set the entire stage for your rebuild.


It will help you, in the long run, to save money by using the parts and tools you already have in the garage. That might be helpful down the road if you encounter any unexpected expenses related to your cafe racer.

And let me tell you, you are likely to have something come up when you’re building a new machine like a café racer from the ground up. Even the best of planners experience one or two setbacks.


Next, you need to make a detailed list of parts, tools, and other equipment you need to build a cafe racer. Make sure to do your homework so that you don’t leave anything out!

Check out “How to Build a Cafe Racer” by Doug Mitchel for all things related to building a cafe racer.

Also – you need to commit to the task at hand. Stay focused, and you can build a cafe racer in months rather than years. That may mean giving up other activities, but keep in mind that you have a goal, and you will accomplish it!

Come Up With Your Budget

Now that you have your list of everything needed to build the ultimate cafe racer, price it out. Determine how much every part will cost you.
Make sure the parts fit within your budget. Adjust if needed.

Research, compare prices and talk to fellow motorcycle enthusiasts. Find deals and buy only the products you need.
And make sure to leave a little wiggle room. Things happen, especially when building a machine from the ground up. You will more than likely need additional or replacement parts.

Prepare Your Workspace

Take the time to organize and label parts and create an ideal workspace. Then stripping down and rebuilding the ultimate cafe racer will be that much more comfortable and most definitely more efficient.
Consider every step it will take to build your cafe racer and what kind of setup you will need. For example, do you have:

  • An area specifically for storing parts and other equipment
  • A space designated to design and take measurements
  • A safe place to weld
  • A ventilated area for painting

That said, make sure your space works for you. Clutter is your enemy. Keep everything organized, labeled, and always make sure safety comes first.

Time is of the Essence (Or Is It?)

The last step is to determine how long each step will take you. Put it in a spreadsheet, or just use good old fashioned pencil and paper to create a timeline.
Be sure to pad your time frame a bit as you may have to wait for a part, do some research, or deal with unexpected plans. Because we all know, life happens!

To help you stay on task, get a whiteboard, and put it in your garage. Write down every step, and check it off as you go. When you can see the actual process on paper (or a whiteboard), it keeps you organized. It will motivate you to keep moving forward.


This timeline will determine just how long it will take you to build your cafe racer.
That all sounds great, but for many of us, creating a realistic timeline can be difficult. So, to help you figure out what kind of time frame you are looking at, ponder over these bullet points:

  • Break it down so you know what you are doing each step of the way. Consider each part, from mirrors to the engine to the seat that you will eventually sit on for miles and miles. How long will every aspect take you to complete? If you aren’t sure, give your best estimate.
 
  • Are you a beginner? If so, factor in time to research. That could include reading books, watching tutorials, and speaking with experts.
 
  • How committed are you to crafting your very own cafe racer? Look at your calendar and come up with a reasonable timeframe for your project, taking everything from holidays to vacation days into consideration.

If time is of the essence, meaning you need to complete your cafe racer in a specific timeframe, you have to stick with the program. It’s easy to get off track – but remember – you have a plan!


On the other hand, if you don’t have an end date, enjoy the process at your own leisurely pace. But remember that you started on this journey for a reason – to build a kick-ass cafe racer!

So, What is the Average Build Time for a Cafe Racer?

Good question. We’ve covered ways to manage your time when building a cafe racer. And that’s really the answer!
If you are dedicated, complete your due diligence, and have the parts, you can strip and rebuild a bike in a month.
However, building a cafe racer is a hobby for many. Not all of us have every weeknight or weekend to work on a motorcycle.
In our opinion, the most critical takeaway, since you asked, is this: build time is up to you.
If you are looking for guidance, follow our steps, and you will be ready to take on the task of building your very own, unique cafe racer in no time. Or in your time!

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