For the understandably perplexed, "Generic" is an in-house brand of Speedoz, the official distributor of GPX motorcycles in Bangladesh.
Their first bike, aptly named the "Caferacer", is heavily based on GPX's own Gentleman 200cc, re-engined and modified to fit the local climate. I was handed over the keys of one for three days, and here's what I think about it.
Looking at it, the Caferacer perfectly captures the look and feel of the original cafe racers, which were heavily personalised hacked-up motorcycles built purely for performance.
The large headlamp housing, the narrow metal fuel tank with faux-leather inserts, the quilted saddle seat accompanied by a practically useless pillion seat with an optional metal "hood", all give credence to the classic stripped-down, no-nonsense architecture expected from this genus of motorcycles.
It is also quite an attention grabber, as apparent by the number of times people around me stopped to take a gander, with one person going as far as to pull me up on the road to ask questions about it.
The first thing one notices is how overbuilt everything is. Almost all the components are made out of metal, even the purely cosmetic items such as the fuel tank cover and switchgear housing. This gives cadence to the bike's "tough" cafe racer styling, but also adds bulk, giving the bike a kerb weight of 142 Kg. Weight that I'm happy to say does not negatively affect the bike's excellent riding experience. More on that in a bit.
Being a modern take on a classic design, Caferacer features some quality-of-life upgrades. The round headlight housing contains an automatic halogen headlamp surrounded by a circular LED daytime running light. The warm light of halogen looks rather pleasing in contrast to the sharp white of the LED, though the nighttime performance remains about what you'd expect.
The round side mirrors are a compromise between style and practicality. They look good and do the job, but the view they provide is much smaller than what you would get from a traditional ear type mirror.
Controls of the Caferacer are stripped down to the bare essentials, just like the cafe racers of old were removed of all the unnecessary parts. The metal switchgear lacks an engine cut off and flash button, but does come with a hazard toggle switch that lights up all the low profile LED turn signals at once. It also lacks a choke, which combined with the absence of a kick start lever, might make starting the bike a bothersome affair on a particularly cold morning.
The fully digital instrument screen is reminiscent of vintage speedometers, and is offset to the right to make room for the ignition key. The backlight display is colour adjustable and contains a nifty battery indicator in addition to all the standard items. The tachometer moves from right to left in a "U" pattern, and lacks a clear redline indicator. Something that might take a bit to get used to.
Riding the Generic Caferacer is an exercise in pain and pleasure. The saddle seat, while looking great, supports only the rudimentary area of your bottom and will cause stiff muscles after prolonged rides. The theme-accurate spiked diamond grips dig into your hands and are best used with gloves, a piece of advice from Speedoz that I regretted not taking into account. But both issues completely escape your mind as soon as you pull on the throttle.
The oil-cooled, carbureted 165cc engine of the Generic Caferacer produces 15 BHP and 14 NM of torque, sent to the rear wheel through a six-speed manual gearbox. In real life, that means rapid, exhilarating acceleration, accompanied by an excellent sounding exhaust note. Throughout my multiple spirited runs at 300 feet, the machine bolted through every gear and not once did it feel like I had reached the top end of the power curve. In fact, it wasn't the engine power that prevented me from pushing the bike to the limit, but mother nature herself.
Being a design language that somewhat predated the concept of aerodynamics, the lines of a cafe racer has little to no consideration for wind deflection. At triple-digits, the wind resistance practically turns into a wall, and if you have a well-ventilated helmet like mine, it starts to hurt your ears.
In terms of ride comfort, the rear monoshock is rather stiff, giving your spine a workout and preventing the bike from bouncing around at high speed. Compared to its donor, the ride height of the Caferacer has been raised slightly, something that is particularly useful in a city such as ours.
For stopping, the large disk brakes on the wire wheels slow the bikes quickly enough, though the lack of ABS means one has to be mindful to prevent the wheels from locking up.
Not everything on the bike is perfect, however. During one of the runs, the engine developed an odd throttle lag, something Speedoz claimed to have been caused by the extended throttle design. The slanted footrest took me a while to get used to and caused my left ankle to suffer an unexpected muscle pull.
The clutch on the bike has a bit of a quirk of its own practically when switching with the neutral gear. It might stall when put in gear on a cold engine, but the issue disappears when the engine warms up. Getting it into neutral at a standstill is also a bit tricky, though an easy workaround to this is switching to neutral while slowing down. Speedoz is aware of these issues and is currently working on a solution.
Despite these issues, I've begun to miss it as soon as I handed it back and went back to my daily commuter. Although my buttocks immediately appreciated the wider seat, the lack of power and acceleration immediately became apparent, as I ended up pushing my poor bike over the redlines multiple times without realising it.
In the English dictionary, "Generic" means something having no particularly distinctive quality or application. Although commonly used in a negative manner, it also means the item in question fulfils all the criteria associated with its namesake. In that respect, the Generic Caferacer is perfectly named. It is stripped down, uncomfortable and a lot faster than any bike of its proportion ought to be, just like cafe racers of the olden times.