Three Best 2012 Cafe Motorcycles Available Today!

by on July 16th, 2014
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In the 1960s through the 1970s, cafe racer motorcycles, alternatively called cafe motorcycles, ruled the streets. These bikes might today have been called hybrid motorcycles, because not only did they incorporate elements of sport bike styling, they also used elements of cruiser styling, as well. Today, the Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200, the Triumph Bonneville T100 and the Moto Guzzi Cafe classic are literally the only serious contenders in this field. The relatively limited market for these retro-inspired rides has left the field open, with no real competition from the likes of Honda, Yamaha or Suzuki, brands that have hung their shingle on splitting up the cruiser and sport market into distinct styles. Quite different from being oddballs, though, these three rides are utterly unique, and uniquely accessible.

2012 Harley Davidson Sportster XR1200X

Harley Davidson wasn’t always known for its big, luxury-sofa-on-wheels motorcycles. There was a time when the brand not only produced larger motorcycles, but scooters and economical 125cc motorcycles, as well. These smaller bikes produced following World War II were the forerunners to the competition motorcycles from the 1960s and 1970s that competed in dirt track racing and hill climbing events, usually under the designation XR and KR. You might be most familiar with this style of Harley Davidson through Evel Knievel, who rode a Harley Davidson XR-750, which would eventually become the inspiration for the new Sportster XR1200X. The XR1200X fills the gap in the Harley-Davidson lineup left by the dissolution of the Buell motorcycle brand, and does it with plenty of style.

The Harley Davidson XR1200X is as much a typical cafe racer styled motorcycle as you could hope to find on American shores. The 2012 model is a study in simplicity, being available in either black or white, stripped-down and ready to run. With fuel injection and a six-speed transmission, there’s plenty of fun to be had banging through the gears down your favorite curvy highway.

2012 Triumph Bonneville T100

The Triumph Bonneville was a motorcycle of the 1960s that everyone wanted. Small and racy, the Bonnie was capable of racing, cross-country touring and commuting, not to mention the vast array of customizations performed by avid riders. One of the reasons that vintage Bonnevilles are so valuable today in original condition is that many of them ended up converted into choppers.

The Bonneville T100 is the spiritual descendent of the Bonneville of the 1960s, but with modern updates that make it an exceptional motorcycle in more ways than one. Triumph says to “ride it with a smile,” and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing, collecting bugs in your teeth the whole time. Although the T100 has a distinctively retro look, both in its period styling and its parallel-twin engine, there’s nothing retro about its 865cc displacement, fuel injection and unbeatable reliability. For 2012, the Triumph Bonneville T100 is available in a red and white two-tone or in black. If you prefer a bit more off-road capability to your Bonnie, you might want to opt for the scrambler version, which offers a higher-set exhaust and knobby tires.

Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic

The 2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic traces its roots back as far as 1969, when Moto Guzzi engineers increased the displacement of the 703cc 90-degree engine to 757cc. The power of this new engine displacement led to the V7 prototype. In its day, it was an immensely popular and powerful motorcycle that dominated racing tracks.

While the 2012 V7 Cafe Classic has a slightly smaller displacement than the original at 744cc, what it adds to the package far outweigh those few metric measurements for fun and rideability. Electronic fuel injection provides effortless fuel delivery while Brembo brakes both front and rear make sure that your “woah” matches your “go.” The V7 cafe classic, like the Bonneville T100, clings to its vintage feel by utilizing similar styling as those motorcycles produced in the 1970s, right down to period-correct paint schemes and graphics.

Cafe racer motorcycles straddle a fine line between cruisers and sport bikes, but do so with a flair for dramatic recollection of a time when motorcycles were much, much simpler. Are today’s cafe motorcycles more fun? The only way to be sure is to ride one.

Sources:
Harley Davidson: 2012 Harley Davidson Sportster XR1200X; www.harley-davidson.com
Triumph: 2012 Triumph Bonneville T100; www. triumphmotorcycles.com
Moto Guzzi: 2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic; www.motoguzzi-us.com


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