Cafe Racer Monkey Test Ride

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I was contacted by a chap called Pat who has turned a monkey bike into a cafe racer and asked if I would like to have a ride and blog about it. Well I’m not going to turn down an offer like that am I?

We met at The Super Sausage Cafe at Towcester, got a cup of tea and had a chat.

Pat, who is approaching 70 years young, retired from the West Midlands Ambulance Service after 20 years of service and became ill about four years ago with an auto immune disorder.

His son could see that this was affecting him mentally as well as physically.

Pat’s son has been riding and racing mini bikes for many years and one day he turned up at Pat’s house with a box of bits which contained all the parts needed to make a mini bike and asked Pat to help him put it together.

The box sat in the workshop for a few weeks and Pat’s son asked if he could have any bike, what would he choose. Pat’s first bike was Norton when he was 16 years of age and that would be his choice so the seed was planted to rebuild the mini bike into a cafe racer mini bike.

Pat did a lot of research online and the first thing he found was the seat and that was how the bike started to take shape. 

A lot of time was spent looking for the right shape tank and whilst searching the internet found that there is a calculation to reduce anything in size. 

If I remember rightly, you measure the seat and divide by 1.615 and that gives you the tail measurement and again you measure the seat and then add 1.165 to give you the tank measurement and that is how Pat managed to get the proportions right for both the tank and the tail.

If you are thinking of trying this at home, let me know and I will double check with Pat that I have got that right – I have visions of out of proportion tanks and tail ends in circulation!!!

The bike started off as a 50cc and after some tweaking it is now 140cc. In a couple of weeks time some more mods are happening to the engine and it will become a 190cc engine. In a mini bike!! Wow, I was looking forward to having a ride of this bike.

The original exhaust on the bike was a single outlet going into a single pipe but Pat decided to change this to a single outlet going into twin pipes as it looked so much better. So the exhaust may have looked better but it didn’t sound right even after buying a pair of motorcycle end cans from a classic motorcycle shop in Redditch.

After much deliberation and head scratching it turned out that the down pipes were too narrow so Pat decided to cut the end of an exhaust that was laying around in his garage and adapt it to make it fit on the cafe racer. Unfortunately, Pat didn’t realise that the exhaust laying in the garage was apparently a very expensive exhaust which belonged to his son and was waiting to go on his bike. Oops. I believe that Pat’s son is now talking to him again!

The original mini bike wheels were 8” but they didn’t fit the cafe racer look Pat was after so he ordered some 10” wheels off eBay. 

The bike was starting to take shape and look right. Many parts were sourced from all over the globe and the Cafe Racer Monkey was ready to ride.

Pat’s first ride on the bike was to the Coventry Motor Fest and Pat was asked to lead the cavalcade.

Pat’s son entered Pat into the Bike Building Championship in July 2019 and Pat came a very well deserved 2nd place and was awarded his trophy by Steve Parish and Henry Cole.

Two days later Pat rode to Wales and covered some 500 miles in two days. Very impressive bearing in mind it’s a mini bike! Pat is also taking part in The Gentleman’s Ride in September to raise funds for a cause close to his heart.

Pat’s goal is to get the bike to do 100 mph and the wheels have now been changed to 12” wheels (which came from the US) in order to help achieve this. Pat is hoping that after the engine upgrade and now with the new wheels, he will be near that 100 mph mark!

My time for a ride on the bike. It’s a kick start and the gears are neutral and then 1, 2, 3, 4 up. 

Well it sounds amazing when it started up, even for a little bike it sure does have a lot of noise. I started away and had real trouble getting my legs up high enough to get my feet onto the pegs. 

After guidance from Pat I re-positioned myself on the seat and did manage to get my feet on the pegs but I’ve got to say it wasn’t the most comfortable I have been on a bike but I would assume that if you rode it often your body would soon get used to the position.

For a little bike it sure does go. I didn’t have any problems with the gears and really liked the sound from the exhaust as I was riding. It is light and very easy to ride. 

It is huge fun to ride and I had a silly grin on my face when I got back. I can definitely see why Pat loves it so much. 

Thank you Pat for the privilege of being able to ride your bike, I appreciate that very much.