In Bangladesh, there are two ways to get yourself a café racer.
The first is building one on your own, which involves buying a ratty old bike for the cheap and modifying it to your heart's content. This approach, while bespoke, will often result in a bike that is problematic, uncomfortable, and bound to give you a host of troubles down the line.
The other, more reasonable solution for those who don't like to work on their bike every other day, is to simply buy a bike with cafe racer styling. For the latter, here are a few bikes offering that nostalgic style, along with their own quirks and limitations.
Yamaha XSR 155
Price: Tk 5,45,000
Dealer: ACI Motors Ltd.
The priciest option on the list, by a large margin, Yamaha's XSR 155 is special as it is largely an MT-15 with retro skin.
Under the elegant body, the bike utilises the same Delta Box frame found on the R15 and the MT-15, as well as the same fuel-injected 155cc water-cooled engine capable of making 19 BHP and 14.7 Nm of torque.
The six-speed gearbox also retains the slipper clutch, while the upside-down forks at the front and mono shocks at the rear suspension setup mean it is as much of a performer as its other two brethren.
Besides the performance numbers, the "Sport Heritage" offers advanced features such as a fully digital speedometer, LED head and tail lights, and disk brakes on both wheels.
To summarise, Yamaha's R15 has long been one of the fastest motorcycles available in the Bangladeshi market. If you want that level of performance in a classic package and have the bank balance to afford it, this is for you.
Special mention: Yamaha FZ-X
Price: Tk 3,50,000
Dealer: ACI Motors Ltd.
Generally, we try to avoid featuring two bikes from the same company in lists such as this. But because of the limited availability of options in this frankly already niche segment, we have to make an exception.
A more reasonable alternative to the XSR, the FZ-X is for people who want a cafe racer from a reputable brand, but don't need the top-shelf performance. The FX-Z is derived from the FZ platform, meaning it shares a lot of components with bikes such as the FZ-S.
Powering the FZ-X is a fuel-injected 149cc single-cylinder rated to produce 12.2 BHP and 13.6 Nm of torque, sent to the rear wheel through a five-speed gearbox. Other features include an LED headlight with DRL, fully digital instrument clusters and possibly dual disk brakes with single-channel ABS, though, at the time of writing this article, we are not sure about that one.
By the time you're reading this, the FZ-X is likely still a few hours away from hitting the market. The bike is making its official debut on Saturday, May 21st, the same day this goes on print. We will update the full specification of the motorcycle when it becomes available; watch this space.
Generic Caferacer 165cc
Price: Tk 1,99,900
Dealer: Speedoz Ltd.
Moving from the top of the line to something a bit more well rounded, we have Generic's aptly named "Caferacer".
Generic is the in-house brand of Speedoz, the official distributor of GPX motorcycles in Bangladesh. Based on GPX's own Gentleman 200cc, the bike features a virtually all-metal body and a design that perfectly captures the stripped-down feel of cafe racers of old.
Powered by an oil-cooled, carbureted 165cc engine producing 15 BHP and 14 Nm of torque, the Generic also features a six-speed gearbox, but lacks the slipper clutch found in XSR. What it does have are a pair of classy wire-spoke wheels with disk brakes, along with LED running lights and turn signals, a fully digital speedometer and a metal pillion seat cover for those who like to ride alone.
Overall, the Generic's option offers a much more genuine cafe racer experience at less than half the cost. If you want to experience both the pain and gains of the cafe racer life without building one on your own, this is what you should consider.
Victor-R CafeRacer 125
Price: Tk 1,15,000
Dealer: Rasel industries Ltd.
The other bikes on the list have one thing in common, they are geared toward performance. But what if you are looking for a cheap and cheerful motorcycle with classic lines?
Lifan's Victor-R is a light, brightly coloured motorcycle with elegant lines and a nostalgic exhaust note. The 10.4 BHP and 8.8 Nm of torque generated by the 125cc carbureted air-cooled engine are quite decent for an engine of its size, especially considering the bike weighs only 95KG.
Besides the peppy motor, Victor-R spots a single front disk, a fully digital gauge cluster, LED running lights and a comfy bench. If you are looking for a retro commuter on a budget and don't care much for performance, the Victor-R will suit you just fine.