The days when in post WWII UK, race-track like arterial roads and transport cafes were built around cities. The days when British motorcycle engineering was about to reach its engineering peak and American music and films had a huge influence on the youth. The Teddy Boys inspired a new subculture of Rockers, Leather Boys, Ton-Up Boys and later Greasers sharing a lifestyle mainly centered around motorcycles and rock and roll music. These bikers net in transport cafes, using them as starting and finishing points for road races. Objective: reaching 100 miles per hour between stops to make a “ton-up”. The Cafe lifestyle was born and invaded Europe and even Japan until the late 70’s (Japanese equivalent of the Rockers were called the Kaminari-zoku or Thunder Tribe).. Fast motorcycles, rockabilly and hell raising…
The most defining machine of the Rocker heyday was the Triton (made of a Norton Featherbed frame with a Triumph Bonneville engine), but also BSA, Royal Enfield, Matchless and other European brands. Today, classic British motorcycles are still used as main platforms, but also other European brands such as Italian Ducati and Moto Guzzi, the choice of Alain Bernard from Santiago Chopper for this build sponsored by a young watch brand called Patton. Not at his first try with a Guzzi, Alain built a new subframe, lighten up the 90’s factory Guzzi 1100 Sport by removing all what is unnecessary to go fast, going the carbon fiber route, saving a total of 80 lbs.
The challenge with a Guzzi has always been its very complicated and unreliable electrical system. Problem fixed with a completely new and simple ignition system. The Patton Cafe Racer will be among the 20 Cafe Racers or so displayed at this year’s Lichter exhibition at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. And to celebrate it, Patton is releasing a limited edition of 50 “Cafe Racer” watches priced at $1695 (stainless steel chronograph, waterproof to 300 to 1000 ft, sapphire glass, carbon strap, Swiss-made Quartz movement.)
Photography copyright Erick Runyon for Cyril Huze