• What is the difference between a Cafe Racer motorcycle and a Brastyle?

    cafe vs brat

    Source: Return of Cafe Racers & Pipeburn

    Opposition of two YAMAHA SR400

    The differences between these two motorcycle styles can be hard to pinpoint, so that's what we're going to solve in this article.

    First, we will define these 2 types of motorcycle and then the differences.

    Cafe Racer Motorcycle

    According to legend, the cafe racer motorcycle comes from the subculture of "rockers" in the 60s.

    Due to the lack of sporty and affordable motorcycles, bikers started building their own racing bikes to ride from cafe to cafe.

    A cafe racer motorcycle is a stripped down , streamlined version of a standard motorcycle. The goal is to make driving more sporty, a neo retro motorcycle.

    Let's take the SR400 presented in cafe racer and bratstyle at the beginning of the article.

    SR400 modification

    The basic changes are:

    • Disassembly of non-essential elements (removal of unnecessary parts such as mudguards, plastics, excessively large fairings, etc.)
    • Installation of a race bike style aerodynamic fork crown.
    • Installation of bracelet or clubman handlebars for a low riding position like on a sports car.
    • Change of saddle for a short, single-seater model with a hood .
    • Performance upgrades like horn air filters , sports exhaust and more for the less timid.
    • Rear controls (footrests) for a position in line with the handlebars. A sporty position.
    • Opt for harder and/or shorter suspensions .

    Here is the result on an SR400 prepared the old-fashioned way by Orange Boulevard :

    SR400 cafe racer



    The term "bratstyle" comes from Japan; a workshop in Tokyo is simply called Brat Style .

    They had a typical way of customizing motorcycles. This style was copied around the world and the motorcycles were called " bratstyle " or " brats ".

    Our example SR400 and the modifications to be made:

    SR400 brat

    The bike is stripped down and lowered with a "cool" riding position.

    The basic changes are:

    • Disassembly of non-essential elements (removal of unnecessary parts such as mudguards, plastics, excessively large fairings, etc.)
    • Installation of a wide flat handlebar .
    • Change of saddle for a thin and flat saddle (or raised at the back).
    • Bigger tires.
    • Exhausts are often replaced by cones.
    • Opt for shorter suspensions .

    The driving position is "cast", no sporting pretension.

    Differences between cafe racers and bratstyles.

    1. Driving position

    The biggest difference is in the riding position .

    On a motorcycle cafe racer , you will have a sportier riding position. The word "Racer" takes on its full meaning. It's cafe racer style.

    The bratstyle is the cool motorcycle, to chill .

    2. The spirit related to the type of customization

    Even though a motorcycle cafe racer can be driven cool and a bratstyle whipped into collars, these preparations are predestined by their characteristics and images they reflect.

    The café racer could be suitable for the sports enthusiast motorcyclist who has calmed down and wishes to personalize his motorcycle.

    harley cafe racer

    Source: gumzcustommotorcycle

    The cafe racer motorcycle is reminiscent of racing, speed and knees scraping the ground when cornering.

    With this driving position, it makes you want to put the handle in the corner and attack.

    SR400 bratstyle

    SR400 from Garage9, photo by Jean-Jacques Marchand, source: unpneudanslatombe

    The bratstyle may be the preparation adopted by a former roadster owner. It makes you want to stroll, beautiful landscapes and wisdom.

    3. Parts used

    At the level of the basic elements of the modifications, the parts used are different.

    At the level of the basic elements of the modifications, the parts used are different.

    Handlebar Wristband / Clubman Flat and straight
    Saddle Single-seater with hull Flat and thin two-seater
    Footrest Rearsets Original model
    pendant lights harder shorter

    4. Eras

    Bratstyle is a more contemporary style of motorcycle customization, which began in the 2000s in Japan.

    The Cafe Racer is much older, originating in England (1960s), it has undergone several evolutions, several currents and fashions until today.

    5. Regions

    The cafe racer and the bratstyle is a bit UK/EUROPE VS JAPAN .

    These 2 types of preparation come from two different cultures, with different inspirations and goals.

    Today, with social networks, these barriers have disappeared and the impact on style is no longer so important.

    6. Notoriety

    Faced with the cafe racer motorcycle , the bratstyle is little known. It is a variant of preparation still little present and exploited in comparison with the cafe racer.

    Most bikers are familiar with cafe racers and know what it is.

    Learn more about cafe racers and bratstyles:

    You can see the difference in style more precisely here by reading our articles dedicated to its subjects:

    Cafe Racer Motorcycle



    In conclusion :

    We have seen in detail the characteristic elements of cafe racers and bratstyles.

    We can now clearly state that these 2 types are different and not the same origins and vocations.

    However, they have their qualities, their charms that everyone will appreciate according to their tastes .

    And for the polyamorous, there is the bratcafé crossover to satisfy them.

    4 Responses

    Didier FALCOMER
    Didier FALCOMER

    April 22, 2021

    Complet et interrompu votre article.
    Vous aviez précédemment évoqué ce sujet mais sur des modèles de plus grosses cylindrés.
    Je pense que d’autres évolutions naîtront encore dans l’avenir et la moto reste un support inépuisable de recherche artistique et philosophique.

    L’invitation à la balade et aux rencontres suffisent à cet épanouissement.

    Bien cordialement.


    April 21, 2021

    Très bien vos articles.

    Je suis moi-même amateur et je réalise actuellement un BRAT sur une base de YAMAHA SR 500 de 1981.

    Amateur d’anciennes a l’origine, j’affectionne les gros mono et j’apprécie ce modèle pour sa légèreté et maniabilité.

    La philosophie COOL est aussi la mienne pour des balades tranquilles dans la campagne Lotoise et ailleurs.

    J’ai déjà commandé des fournitures chez vous pour cette transformation.

    Bien amicalement.

    Roger DEBAR
    Roger DEBAR

    April 21, 2021

    Bonjour,comment faire un café racer en vue du prochain contrôle technique dont tout le monde parle,sûr qu’on voit sur les sites d’annonces des “prépas” faite un peu à l’arrache …..


    April 21, 2021

    Merci, article intéressant, détaillé et agréable.
    Le même sujet, concernant les 125cm3 un prochaine fois serait top 🙂👍.
    Merci à vous.

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