End of The Road for Cafe Racer magazine’s Bike Show

May 7, 2024 | By Mike Seate

Fifteen years is a very long time to stage a regional custom motorcycle show. It’s an even longer stretch considering the annual Cafe Racer Reader’s Ride-In Custom Show was the country’s only ride-in event dedicated to the low-barred, highly modded motorcycles that fuel our collective passions. As much as our dedicated staff and you, our attendees enjoyed the August gathering, the Ride-In Show is no more, we’re sorry to announce.

Several factors contributed to our backing away from the day-long event which drew motorcycle designers, custom bike builders and plenty of riders seeking an alternative to the many shows dedicated to non-running machines. However, the sheer logistics of staging an event that drew as many as 1,500 visitors at its peak, began to take a toll on all involved. We’re still collectively amazed that we managed to stage an outdoor motorcycle show in Western Pennsylvania in August, a month typically known for its plentiful rain and thunderstorms. Despite some soggy nights before, the Reader’s Ride-In Show was never rained out, prompting us to wonder whether Mother Nature isn’t a ton-up fan herself.

It’s been one hell of a wild ride. Over the years, we’ve witnessed the winds of the custom cycle scene shift many times: in the late 2000s, British cafe racers still dominated the ranks of judged entries, only to be replaced by 1970’s Japanese fours and, more recently, a wild array of race-replicas, streetfighters and more than a few custom rides we still can’t classify.

The CRM team and our generous staff of some 20 people put in many long days of preparation each year as vendors and sponsors were brought onboard, resulting in the show offering some of the best and most valuable prizes going. Many were the custom and classic motorcycle owners who spent months toiling over one-off machines built specifically for a stab at winning the coveted Best In Show trophy and a chance to have their wheels featured n the pages of this very magazine.

Not to worry-we remain eager to see what, you, the readers have concocted in your garages and workshops over the recent months, and we’ll feature these unique, exciting and handbuilt motorcycles in our regular “Curbside Customs” section.

For all our supporters, attendees and sponsors, there would have been no Ride-In Show for the past decade and a-half without your efforts, time and energy. We are grateful.