What the Gauges on Your Café Racer Mean

What the Gauges on Your Café Racer Mean

If your bike is going to be anywhere neat roadworthy, you will need to have gauges. They are not really compulsory, but for your safety and information, it is always nice to have a couple installed. Of course, the ones you choose will depend on the information you would like relayed from your machine. There are those that have almost earned a right to be on your console but with some of the other options, there is not so much that is known about them. It might seem a little naïve that I want to discuss café racer gauges but I’m sure that a good deal of you guys might learn something new. You just need to have an open mind.


This happens to be the most common of café racer gauges. Because most of us are speed demons, we always want to know how fast we are going so we can try beat that next time. It is always hard to miss a speedometer on the dashboard and in most cases, it might be the lone gauge on most bikes. It also happens to be among the compulsory class of gauges and some countries take it a step further by insisting that it be lit in the dark. If you don’t intend to have any gauge, at least make sure you have this one.

Universal Speedometer / Odometer

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RPM meter

This is a little strange for most people and if you have ridden as many bikes as I have, you know that some of the more advanced bikes put extra importance into this gauge. The RPM stands for Revolutions per Minute which are made by your engine. Consider this the same number of cycles your pedal does when riding a bicycle. Now most RPM meters will have a red and an orange area. The red area is usually referred to as the prohibited area. Why? Because riding in this range is not good for your engine. Some bikes will go as far as shutting down the throttle when the arrow gets into this area. Others, café racers included will let you manage that. But for the safety of your engine, it is best not to. Which is why an RPM gauge on your café racer dashboard might be a good idea.

Tachometer gauge

Now this is where the gauge subject becomes interesting. The Tachometer gauge which is used to measure the rotation speed of the shaft or disk is exactly the same as the RPM gauge. They might differ slightly in appearance, but the two café racer gauges have the same exact duty. To measure the number of revolutions that are completed. You can have one or the other but there is no point in you investing in both.

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There are other gauges that are crucial for you to have on the café racer. Not as important as the ones highlighted but it would be a great idea for you to have them to avoid being blind-sided. The fuel gauge for instance. You don’t want to think that you have so much when in real sense you’re barely getting by. If possible, you can try get a digital gauge that has most of these things added. But it takes away from the vintage feel of the café racer.

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