Cafe brokers have become increasingly popular in recent years. Its vintage style and sleek look could make any head spin while driving down the road.
Many people who build a cafe racer want the fewest number of components to be displayed to give it a minimal look. This process often includes getting creative with hiding the drums.
Where can you put the battery in a cafe racer? The best places to put a battery in a cafe racer include placing it in an under-seat battery box, placing it on the rear swing arm on its side, placing it under the rear swing arm in a battery box, or replacing the air box with capsule filters and placing the battery where the air box was.
Having built over a dozen cafe racers, I have been able to find the best places to put the battery that have been shown to work well and also proven to be safe if done correctly. This article can explain how to do it to give your café racer the classy look you were looking for.
Places to hide the battery
One of the most refreshing things about turning a motorcycle into a cafe racer is ditching all the extra frills and just making the bike lighter in both literal weight and appearance. If you’re like me, you’ll want to make your café racer look from the side to give it that true conservative look.
Often times the battery gets in the way when doing this. The motorcycle needs the battery, so it’s not necessarily something you can get rid of. Cafe racer builders often wonder how to hide the battery so you can’t see it at all, but some batteries are so big and bulky that it almost seems impossible to do so.
The first way to successfully hide your cafe racer’s battery is by placing it in a battery box under the seat. Cafe racers will likely have a custom flat seat that would be the perfect cover for the drums.
Sometimes the battery box that comes with the bike will be able to fit under the seat, depending on how wide your frame is and what type of battery you have. You may need to make your own battery box and use metal plumber’s tape to attach it to the frame. I have successfully made a handful of sheet metal drum cases.
Another way to hide a battery in your cafe racer is by placing it under the rear swingarm. This option is not for all motorcycles and requires a fair amount of clearance between the frame and the ground to be successful.
You will need to place the battery box under the rear swingarm or make your own and fasten it to the frame with metal plumbing tape. You will need to paint the battery box to blend in with the rest of the frame. Make sure the battery is securely attached to the frame to prevent it from coming loose.
But my favorite place to put a battery in a cafe racer is at the top of the rear swingarm. Again, not all motorcycles will allow you to do this due to the anatomy of the bike, but this is the way I prefer to go if possible.
You will need to lay the battery on its side so make sure you have a sealed battery because unsealed will leak if placed in any position other than vertical. Secure the battery with metal plumber’s tape or other means to ensure that it does not move.
Lastly, another place to put a battery in a cafe racer is to place it where the air box was. Obviously, you will need to remove the air box to place it there; Often times the airbox will have some type of shelf or compartment that fits a battery perfectly. If you decide to remove the air box, you will need to make sure to add capsule filters to make sure your air is filtered.
An air box will always give the best results by filtering the air and assisting with air / fuel delivery, but capsule filters can work well if you choose the right ones. Click here to see my other article looking at air boxes and capsule filters.
The best types of batteries that hide well
One of the biggest hurdles you are likely to face when relocating your cafe racer battery is getting the battery to fit in the first place. Here are some suggestions for the best types of batteries that will suit these types of bikes well and make the transition easier.
First, you’ll want to make sure you have a battery that’s safe to mount on its side. All of the suggested locations for placing a battery in a cafe racer discussed above will likely need to be placed on its side. As I mentioned before, you’ll want to make sure it’s a …