LONDON’S Ace Cafe is the spiritual birthplace of the cafe racer. To celebrate its 80th birthday this year, owners Mark Wilsmore and George Tsuchnikas collaborated with local lad Nick Gale of Nick Gale Custom Cycles on a commemorative bike to be known as the Ace Cafe Racer. This is the result.

Gale has serious form as one of Europe’s leading bike builders, albeit best known for his Harley big-twin customs. He wanted to provide a British take on the current generation of specials created by the likes of Roland Sands in the US; dynamically functional, full of glitz but still way cool. Replete with upside-down forks, massive brakes and serious attitude, the new Californian customs were as ready to wheel-stand and carve corners as function as works of art. “I saw very little point in trying to out-radicalise Roland,” says Gale. “I realised I could very easily come unstuck. So I needed to raise my game in a different way and do my own thing.”

The archetypal British cafe racer was the Triton, which provided the inspiration for this build. That meant it had to have a Norton Featherbed chassis fitted with clip-ons and rear-sets, and it would have to stop,

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