What is a Bobber Motorcycle? [Video] Bobbers Look Rad!

black bobber motorcycle inside garage

“Bobber” is the name given to a class of motorcycles built with a bobbed chassis. It’s a motorcycle that looks like it belongs in a movie and was built for one purpose: to ride fast.

Bobber motorcycles are hybrid motorcycles that incorporate the design and appearance of a cruiser motorcycle with a sportbike’s performance and power.

What is a Bobber? Watch This:

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Originally called the ‘bob-job,’ it is not a type of motorcycle. It’s a style of a custom motorcycle to make it lighter and faster; therefore, anything that seemed unnecessary was removed.

In the 1980s and 1990s, custom motorcycle builders and enthusiasts coined “Bobber,” which now characterizes a new generation of custom motorcycles born out of a craving for a practical bike.

Bobber motorcycles have a bobbed chassis with a lower suspension designed to absorb shocks and vibrations, allowing the bike to be faster, more responsive, and more comfortable to ride. Bobber motorcycles are further distinguishable by their broad, flat, and low-slung bodywork, comparable to a cruiser.

A Brief History

The bobber motorcycle was first introduced in the 1920s. High-style motorcycles were in demand, but people got tired of them. They wanted motorcycles to be lowered and shortened. Reducing the wheel diameter, cutting down the frame, and shortening the rear section are some modifications motorcycle owners began to make to their bikes.

The concept of a bob-job began to grow on the East Coast, Midwest, and California in the 1930s. Aside from making the motorcycle lighter, faster, and economical, the bob-job was to personalize the motorcycle, make it look different, cool, and showcase the personality of the rider.

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The popularity of the Bobber started in the 1940s. When World War II started, motorcycles were already famous. However, as service members learned mechanical skills by working on military trucks, they brought home the skill. They began to bob their bikes when they returned after the war.

The popularity of the Bobber continued until the introduction of the chopper in the 70s. What is the difference between them? The chopper prioritized performance over style. Motorcycle brands found inspiration in this, so they made their motorcycles much faster. Japanese and European bikes were ahead of the fastest bobbers by the mid-1970s. 

As if it was back with a vengeance, the Bobber resurfaced in the year 2000 as the riders went back to a more traditional customization style, and the best way to do it was the Bobber. Motorcycle brands joined the bandwagon again. As an example, Triumph released the Bobber Bonneville in 2001. 

Design by Subtraction 

What’s remarkable about the Bobber is that to make it appear fantastic, cost-effectively, and efficiently, various elements must be removed (as opposed to adding stuff to make it look great).

The most important thing is to design the bike around the rider, not the other way around. The motorcycle was designed to ride fast, not look good. 

Another reason for the Bobber? To keep the cost of the motorcycle lower. Common mods were:

  • removing the front fender
  • shortening the rear fender significantly
  • Mirrors would be removed
  • Headlights were removed
  • Handlebars were changed
  • Seats were made as light as possible
  • Any chrome components were stripped.
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How much does a bobber cost?

As mentioned above, a bobber is a personalized motorcycle. Therefore, the cost may vary based on what the rider wants. However, as a general idea, a bobber can be anywhere between $10,000 to $14,000. 

What about a pillion?

By tradition, bobber motorcycles do not have a passenger seat. These seats were stripped off. Then again, since it’s a personalized ride, you can include a pillion seat if you like. 

Bobber Motorcycles in 2022

Today, the Bobber is still a popular motorcycle. However, it is not as popular as it was before. There are a few reasons for this. 

Initially, the Bobber was conceived to give the motorcycle a minimalist look, making it more affordable. In effect, it was made for and by people who wanted a bike but didn’t have the budget for the more expensive variety. These days, bobbers are costly, and many are from the factory.

Although bobbers are popular, the market for custom motorcycles is not very large. The demand for customized motorcycles is much smaller than in the ’70s and ’80s.

If you are a DIY type, you can save much money by modifying the bike yourself. But if you want to be safe, you should contact a reputable custom shop to do the work for you. Alternatively, you can buy factory-made bobbers. Here are a few available models:

  • Honda CMX 500 Rebel
  • Kawasaki Vulcan S
  • Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber
  • Honda CMX 1100 Rebel
  • Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight
  • CCM Spitfire Bobber
  • Triumph Bonneville Bobber
  • Indian Scout Bobber
  • Triumph Bobber Black
  • Harley-Davidson Street Bob

Is the Bobber a good motorcycle?

If you are a new motorcycle rider, you need to choose an appropriate ride for your skill level. If you are a beginner, a bobber motorcycle is a great choice. The low seat height, the center of gravity, and a design that stresses style rather than power and speed make it a great ride for new riders. 

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Final Words

If you’re looking for a custom motorcycle, a bobber is a great choice. It’s not only a great bike to ride; it’s also a great bike to build and customize. The Bobber is a motorcycle designed to be simple and easy to modify. It’s an excellent choice for new riders and experienced riders alike.