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I do not like conical air filters for motorcycles

Filtro cónico Cafe Racer

In this post we will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of replacing the original air filters with conical air filters for motorcycles.

It is becoming a near impossible task to find a Cafe Racer transformation that does not include conical air filters. The classic touch they bring to the bike is undeniable, not to mention the precious space left by the huge standard filter, but I can’t help saying that they didn’t convince me .

We are going to explain each of the advantages and disadvantages of installing external air filters, usually conical, on a motorcycle.

Motorcycle conical air filter

1. Advantages of conical air filters for motorcycles

We have to be positive, so we are going to start by detailing the benefits that the installation of conical air filters brings to your motorcycle.

  • They bring a retro aesthetic to the transformation, fully in line with Cafe Racer canons.
  • By eliminating the original filter, we obtain a very precious free space inside the chassis, which we can use to house a battery, or simply to leave it free, dispensing with the side fairings.
  • Possible power increase : with an external conical air filter, the air inlet into the cylinder will initially be greater, momentarily increasing power.

The advantages end here.

2. Disadvantages of conical air filters for motorcycles

Next I will tell you the negative points of the fashion of installing external air filters on a motorcycle.

  • Particulate entry into carburetor and engine :

The function of an air filter is to allow air to enter the engine, preventing the passage of small particles that can damage it. They are usually found in protected places inside the fairing, precisely to guarantee their cleanliness, favoring their filtering function. An external air filter is exposed to inclement weather, constant dust and, ultimately, all the dirt in the world. They quickly fill up, failing to fulfill the function for which they are designed.

  • Incorrect setting of engine and carburettor:

The elements of our motorcycles are designed for a specific supply of air. By modifying it, we are altering its configuration, which may affect its performance in the medium-long term. Remember that a team of engineers and designers have spent long hours calculating your motorcycle so that its performance is optimal, with all the respect in the world, I do not know if we are prepared to improve it in two minutes.

  • Air intake at higher temperature:

It is difficult to find a place that guarantees a supply of fresh air to the air filter. For this reason they are usually installed in secluded places. When installing new air filters, it is common for them to be positioned right behind the cylinders, condemning them to a lifetime of overheated air flow.

  • Poor quality materials:

It is common to skimp on the price of these types of components, by not giving them the importance they really have. Most of the filters that we install in our Cafe Racer motorcycles are of poor quality and do not adequately fulfill their function of protecting the engine and the carburetor. A good air filter is around € 60, while it is easy to find them for € 5.

Cafe Racer Cone Filter


If you are clear that you want to install a conical air filter on your motorcycle, because you are passionate about its aesthetics, I will not try to convince you. Of course, I will give you a couple of recommendations:

  • Buy quality filters , from prestigious brands ( K&N ) that guarantee the protection of your engine. I recommend the high-performance filters .
  • Try to get the homologation certificate from the manufacturer before purchasing.
  • Locate the filters as far away as possible from the flow of hot air from the cylinders.
  • Clean the filters on a regular basis with a special filter cleaner .
Motorcycle air filter cleaner

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