Gear: Book Review: Italian Café Racers

Book Review: Italian Café Racers

By Petrolicious Productions
December 5, 2014

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.

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Tom Walters
Tom Walters
1 year ago

Your feedback helps me a lot, A very meaningful event, I hope everything will go well moto x3m

8 years ago

[b]My opinion about this book – 6 out of 10[/b]. There are many unusual bikes but the captions not informative. Most of the bikes are factory racers not strictly [url=””]cafe racer[/url] bikes (modified versions of standard machines) but still worth a look.
[b]Resume – not a reference quality book, but fun to look through. [/b]

8 years ago

Is it really that hard to give a book about something as cool as Italian café racers a suiting cover? I mean, really? A green background and a simple font will do? Such a shame, the photography featured in it is amazing but the cover puts me off immensely.

8 years ago

These are so cool. That 900SS is one of the most successful mods I’ve seen. Guys like Walt Siegl, for example, are making truly lust-worthy machines that are both fast…and modern…and (almost) attainable.