“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.
What is a Bobber? Watch This:
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.
Characteristics of a Bobber Motorcycle
One of the defining features of a bobber motorcycle is its minimalist, stripped-down design. A typical bobber will have a low, narrow profile with a rigid frame that has been modified to remove excess weight and bulk. This design results in a motorcycle that is lighter and more agile than many other types of bikes, making it ideal for cruising and city riding.
In addition to its streamlined design, a bobber motorcycle will often have a number of customizations that help to further enhance its appearance. These may include chopped fenders, a solo seat, a custom paint job, and a wide variety of vintage or classic motorcycle parts. Some bobbers may also incorporate elements of other motorcycle styles, such as café racers or brat bikes.
While the exact look of a bobber motorcycle can vary depending on the preferences of the builder or owner, there are a few key characteristics that are common to most bobbers. These include:
- Low, narrow profile: Bobbers typically have a low seat height and a narrow frame, giving them a sleek and streamlined appearance.
- Minimalist design: Bobbers often feature minimal or no bodywork, leaving the engine and other components exposed.
- Customizations: From chopped fenders to custom paint jobs, bobbers often incorporate a variety of unique and personalized modifications.
- Classic parts: Many bobber builders will use vintage or classic motorcycle parts to achieve the desired look and feel of the bike.
- Rigid frame: Unlike many other types of motorcycles, bobbers typically have a rigid frame rather than a suspension system. This gives them a unique ride and handling characteristics that some riders prefer.
Overall, the characteristics of a bobber motorcycle are all geared towards creating a unique, stripped-down look that emphasizes the essential components of the bike.
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.
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.
Differences Between Bobber and Chopper Motorcycles
While bobber and chopper motorcycles share some similarities, there are also several key differences between the two styles. Choppers are a type of custom motorcycle that typically feature long, extended front ends and high handlebars, giving them a distinctive “chopped” appearance. Unlike bobbers, choppers often have large, wide rear tires and may incorporate a lot of chrome or other flashy decorations.
One of the biggest differences between bobber and chopper motorcycles is in their overall aesthetic. While both styles are highly customizable and often incorporate unique modifications, bobbers are typically more stripped-down and minimalist than choppers. Bobbers often have a lower, more streamlined profile than choppers, with fewer decorative elements and a greater emphasis on function over form.
Another difference between the two styles is in their handling and performance characteristics. Choppers often have a long, stretched-out frame and a large engine, which can make them heavy and difficult to maneuver at low speeds. Bobbers, on the other hand, are often lighter and more agile, making them well-suited for city riding and other situations where maneuverability is key.
Despite these differences, there is some overlap between the two styles. Many custom motorcycle builders will incorporate elements of both bobber and chopper design into their builds, creating hybrid styles that draw on the best of both worlds. Ultimately, the choice between a bobber or chopper comes down to personal preference and the intended use of the bike. Whether you prefer the stripped-down, minimalist look of a bobber or the flashy, eye-catching design of a chopper, there’s no denying the appeal of these two iconic styles of custom motorcycle.
Bobber Motorcycles Today:
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
Building and Customizing a Bobber Motorcycle
If you’re interested in building or customizing your own bobber motorcycle, there are a few key things to keep in mind. While the exact process will vary depending on your experience level, budget, and available tools and materials, the following tips can help you get started:
- Research different styles and designs. Before you begin building your bobber motorcycle, it’s a good idea to do some research and get inspiration from other builds. Look for photos and videos of different styles of bobbers, and take note of the design elements that you like and want to incorporate into your own build.
- Choose your donor bike. While you can build a bobber motorcycle from scratch, many builders prefer to start with an existing motorcycle and modify it to their liking. Look for a bike with a simple, reliable engine and a frame that can be easily modified to achieve the desired look.
- Strip the bike down. To create a true bobber motorcycle, you’ll need to remove any unnecessary parts and components from the bike. This may include the rear fender, turn signals, mirrors, and other non-essential items.
- Modify the frame. Depending on the donor bike you’re using, you may need to modify the frame to achieve the desired look and feel. This can involve removing sections of the frame, welding on new parts, and reinforcing key areas to ensure that the bike is structurally sound.
- Customize the appearance. Once the frame and other components are modified to your liking, you can begin customizing the appearance of the bike. This may include adding a custom paint job, installing a solo seat, and modifying the exhaust system.
- Test and refine. Once your bobber motorcycle is complete, it’s important to test it thoroughly and make any necessary adjustments. This may involve tweaking the suspension, adjusting the brakes, or fine-tuning the engine to ensure that the bike performs as well as it looks.
While building and customizing a bobber motorcycle can be a challenging and time-consuming process, it can also be incredibly rewarding. With the right tools, materials, and a bit of creativity, you can create a truly one-of-a-kind bike that reflects your individual style and personality.
Riding and Owning a Bobber Motorcycle
If you’re considering buying or building a bobber motorcycle, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of owning and riding this type of bike. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Pros of Owning a Bobber Motorcycle
- Unique style: A bobber motorcycle is a great way to express your individual style and stand out from the crowd.
- Agility and maneuverability: The stripped-down design of a bobber motorcycle often makes it lighter and more agile than other types of bikes, making it ideal for city riding and tight spaces.
- Customization options: Bobber motorcycles are highly customizable, allowing you to create a bike that truly reflects your personality and preferences.
- Community and culture: Bobber motorcycles are often associated with a specific community and culture, giving you the opportunity to connect with like-minded riders and enthusiasts.
- Cons of Owning a Bobber Motorcycle
- Comfort: The minimalist design of a bobber motorcycle can sometimes lead to a less comfortable ride, especially for longer distances.
- Limited storage space: Because bobber motorcycles often have minimal bodywork and no passenger seating, there is limited space for carrying cargo or passengers.
- Limited versatility: While bobber motorcycles can be great for city riding and cruising, they may not be as well-suited for longer trips or more demanding terrain.
- Tips for Riding a Bobber Motorcycle
- Wear protective gear: As with any motorcycle, it’s important to wear appropriate protective gear when riding a bobber, including a helmet, gloves, and protective clothing.
- Practice safe riding habits: Always follow traffic laws and practice safe riding habits, such as using turn signals and maintaining a safe following distance.
- Be aware of limitations: Understand the limitations of your bike, and avoid pushing it beyond its capabilities.
- Invest in quality parts and maintenance: To keep your bobber motorcycle running smoothly and safely, invest in quality parts and regular maintenance.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a newcomer to the world of motorcycles, owning and riding a bobber motorcycle can be an exciting and rewarding experience. With a bit of preparation and care, you can enjoy the unique style and individuality of this iconic type of custom bike.
In conclusion, a bobber motorcycle is a unique and distinctive type of custom motorcycle that emphasizes a stripped-down, minimalist aesthetic. With its low, narrow profile and custom modifications, a bobber can be a true reflection of the owner’s individual style and personality.
While there are certainly pros and cons to owning and riding a bobber motorcycle, the appeal of this style of bike is undeniable. Whether you’re drawn to the classic design elements, the unique handling and performance characteristics, or the sense of community and culture that surrounds the bobber motorcycle scene, there’s no denying the allure of this iconic custom bike.
If you’re considering building or buying a bobber motorcycle, be sure to do your research and understand the various customization options, as well as the pros and cons of this type of bike. Additionally, don’t forget to explore the market for the best motorcycle hitch carriers to ensure convenient transportation of your bobber motorcycle if needed.. With a bit of preparation and care, you can enjoy the thrill and excitement of owning and riding a truly one-of-a-kind motorcycle.