Trip Machine Headlight X with yellow motorcycle headlight glass

Trip Machine, Headlight X: Mini-mod and an ode to Cafe Racer Culture

Trip Machine embraces Rocker style of the fifties and sixties with its Headlight X leather accessory. An easy mod, that emulates the look of cafe racers of yesteryear.

Why the Black ‘X’ Across a Motorcycle Headlight?

Headlights of road-legal bikes are taped if they ever go on track. Clearly, this is to avoid peppering the track with shattered headlight debris in the event of a shunt/crash. However, it’s likely that most retro, classic and custom bikes will not see the inside of a track. And in any case, if such a bike finds its way to the track, the whole headlight will be covered by tape.

Yet it’s not uncommon to see the headlights of modern-classic cafe racers or roadsters and customs with black tape in a distinctive ‘X’ format on the headlight. Actually, to the point that it has both zealous detractors and advocates.

Roots of the Black X on Cafe Racers

Trip Machine Headlight X with yellow motorcycle headlight glass
Classic Black Headlight X, on a modern-classic motorcycle, with yellow-tinted headlight ‘glass’ – Image: Trip Machine

Becoming common in the 1950s and 60s, the practise of taping headlights in a specific ‘X’ configuration was adopted by cafe racer riders. And while racing (doing the ton, up Hanger Lane) was the intention, black tape on cafe racers back then was really just a style thing.

And it remains so today.

It’s clear that some riders view the tape as an unnecessary affectation. One that serves little to no purpose. But others just dig the look. And if you’re in the latter group then you’ll appreciate this mini-mod, accessory by Trip Machine.

Trip Machine Headlight X

Trip Machine has taken the idea of black tape a little further (fully embracing its semi-non-functional nature) by creating a simple but exquisite leather accessory in the guise of an ‘X’. Simply named Headlight X, Trip Machine bills it as an “ode to… Café Racer style and culture”.

Available in four colourways: Cherry Red, Tobacco Brown, Vintage Tan and Classic Black, the leather Headlight X features is easily affixed to the headlight with the heavy-duty, 3M tape on the reverse. That means you can throw away that old electrical tape – and that’s it, you’re ready to roll.