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Turning a cafe racer passion into business

It all started when Brisbane rider David Kempson wanted to buy a new bike and his wife agreed on the conditions it was “self-funded” and did not impact on the family budget.

Sound familiar?

cafe racer
David Kempson

That’s where the tale sometimes ends, but not in David’s case.

“From there I started selling various old parts that I had at home, and then started buying other parts and reselling them,” he says. “After a while I noticed that there was a small market for cafe racer parts, like Clubman and Ace bars. I started looking around and found a supplier in the USA for the bars and other bits and pieces. From there we created a website and began the search for more parts and suppliers.”

So, in 2011, he started The Cafe Racer Shop, an eBay-based Mecca for restorers, customisers and cafe racer aficionados.

“As time has passed we have grown to a point where I now work on the business full time and are at a point where we are working towards our next goal – an actual shop front around Cleveland,” David says.

The shop stocks five different types of handlebars, headlights, LED indicators, LED tail lights, bar-end mirrors, speedos, tachos and grips.

They have just added TEC Classic motorcycle shocks and are planning to expand into replica parts such as Lucas-style taillights, Miller taillights, old school switch gear and alloy and fibreglass tanks and racer

The shop has access to Pro Grip, RHK and Talon parts, Tarozzi rear sets and clip ons, Raask rear sets and handlebars, and EMGO vintage parts.

Riding gear includes XRH Rola and Cruiser X helmets and Scoyco gloves.

David says part of their service is that they endeavour to have stock of everything ready for immediate shipping. The only exception is special order parts such as Tarozzi and Raask.

“Now that I am full time on the business we can now offer a fitting service for all of our parts. We’ll even fit stuff that was bought elsewhere.”

David has been tinkering with bikes since he was a kid.

“My father brought home an old postie bike they used for running around the yard where he worked,” he says. “The catch was it had been backed over by a truck.Cafe Racer

“Soon enough I got the engine to run and after much hammering and bending it was rideable; sort of. It turned left better than it turned right resulting in a crash that was witnessed by my mother, thus resulting in the banning of motorcycles – for a while.

“I ended up pulling the postie apart and advertised the various parts in the old Trading Post paper.

“Over the years I progressed from the flattened postie, to an XL250 that did hundreds of kays around the local shopping centre carpark. This was long before Sunday trading.”

His current bike is a 1982 Suzuki GSX750 which is a test mule for various parts that he tries out before stocking them.

He’s also owned a couple of Honda CX500 Shadows which he bought as junk, rebuilt and sold, plus Honda CB900s and an old TZR250.

“I have yet to go and get a new motorcycle,” he says.