Book Review: Italian Café Racers
The book: Italian Café Racers
Author: Uli Cloesen
Pages: 123, hardcover
Purchase: Click here
Mission accomplished! In the introduction to Italian Café Racers, author Uli Cloesen says, “If this book creates at least some excitement about Italian Café Racers [sic], then its aim has been achieved.” For a Petrolista it would be difficult indeed, looking over the images, not to feel anything. The book is firmly focused on classic Italian racing motorcycles from the middle of the twentieth century and the subsequent motorcycles that they inspired.
Italian Café Racers is divided into chapters by displacement and engine types (singles and V-twins, for example) and features some beautiful studio shots. It also includes futuristic renderings of café racers yet to be built, imagined by concept designers, with completely electric drivetrains. Additionally, the quantity of OEMs and custom bikes featured in such a brief book is impressive. But this book should be considered a primer for those who have an interest in café racers but are newcomers to the scene.
It provides a very broad look at the subject matter, but lacks depth. Brands like Garelli, Idroflex, Itom, and Moto Rumi are featured alongside Aermacchi, Ducati, and MV Agusta. And all are treated with the same respect, however it leaves us wanting more: both in terms of the histories and data provided, and the photography.
Ultimately, if considering Italian Café Racers it’s a question of expectations. Are you looking for a deep examination into some now-defunct Italian café OEMs that were the product of World War Two demilitarization? Are you trying to learn as much as possible about the sport bike culture then or café scene now? Or are you looking to become more familiar with café racers’ visual language and a dictionary’s worth of their Italian manufacturers? If you’re looking for the latter, then you will not be disappointed and the author’s goal will have been met.
Purchase Italian Café Racers.