Bobber

What Is a Bobber? 

A bobber is a custom motorcycle using a chopper as a base more often than not. Think about brands like Harley-Davidson, Indian, but also models like the Suzuki Intruder, Honda Shadow, Kawasaki Vulcan or Yamaha XV. 

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Bobber

A short rear fender that is tightly mounted around the tyre is a bobber characteristic. In addition, the rider is somehow "floating" on a bobber seat. Indeed, the solo seats usually have two springs and a hinge to mount onto the frame.

Apart from the seat, bikers tend to pick wheels with small balloon tyres. This ensures your bobber will have a nice look, especially when combined with a tough-looking bobber tank. These pieces already give a solid bobber style to your motorcycle.

For the finishing touch, a lot of bobbers are equipped with special head- and tail lights. The headlights have a diameter ranging from five to six inches.

What are the main Characteristics of a Bobber Motorcycle?

There are a few characteristics, how you can identify a Bobber.

A short rear fender that is tightly mounted around the tyre is a bobber characteristic. In addition, the rider is somehow "floating" on a bobber seat. Indeed, the solo seats usually have two springs and a hinge to mount onto the frame.

But the vehicle line also makes a good bobber. Since this should lead obliquely downwards from the handlebars to the rear tire give the motorcycle the special bobber look.

Apart from the seat, bikers tend to pick wheels with small balloon tyres which are often the same size front and rear. This ensures your bobber will have a nice look, especially when combined with a tough-looking bobber tank. These pieces already give a solid bobber style to your motorcycle. But there are more characteristics.

For the finishing touch, a lot of bobbers are equipped with special head- and tail lights. The headlights have a diameter ranging from five to six inches. You can find a lot of different Headlights and tail lights for custom motorcycles and Harleys in our Web shop at Choppershop.com. We offer a wide range of different Brands and Designs for every kind of motorcycle. Have a look!


History of the Bobber Motorcycle

The first bobbers make its appearance in the United States around 1920. The bikers had their motorcycles adjusted with smaller-diameter wheels, shorter frames and shorter fenders.

Because of these adjustments, the bobber became smaller and lighter, which led to better racing results. Around 1930, these motorcycles were adjusted even more. The sitting height was lowered through the addition of drop-shaped fuel tank.

Still, bikers did not find the motorcycles light enough. They removed the front fenders and shortened the rear ones. This process is known as "bobbing". All these modifications became the new standard for the 25 years that followed.

Bobber motorcycles became more popular in the 1940s. When soldiers came back from the war, they would use their mechanical abilities to build bikes. In the 1950s, bobbers had more features such as chrome details. Later, this kind of motorcycle was also used for Hot Rod Racing.

From the 1960s to the 1990s, bobbers were quickly being replaced by chopper motorcycles. These instantly became famous all over the worlds. They were considered more stylish as bobbers, despite being less practical than their counterpart. 

In the 21st century, the classic bobbers made a comeback thanks to TV shows like Biker Build-off and American Chopper. Motorcycle manufacturers then released bobber-inspired models. Nowadays, bobbers are still on the rise. Just take brands like Triumph and Indian! They are producing bobbers at the time being.


Bobber vs Chopper

The biggest difference between a chopper and a bobber is the length of the fork. The fork of a chopper is longer than the one of a bobber. But there is also a big difference in the bike's aesthetics.

Choppers are stylish and more "technical". They have a lot of chromed parts and custom/dyed frames. Bobbers tend to be more minimalist and the frame around which they are built stays untouched most of the time; In general, bobbers are easier to build, which means that a lot of people build them themselves. And this point we can help you a lot. If you’re interested in building a Bobber or Chopper by yourself. Than you should definitely have a look at our web shop. We can offer you a wide range of all common motorcycle brands that you can always find the perfect solution for your custom bike.

Another key difference between the two motorcycles, is the size of the front wheel. Choppers have a bigger front wheel than bobbers do. In general, both the front and rear wheels of a bobber are the same size.

You’re not sure if the part fits to your motorcycle? Or do you need help finding the perfect solution for your problem? Even that is no problem! During the business hours you can always contact our customer support via chat, email or phone call to find a solution for your problem.


Tipps for choosing the right base for your Bobber Motorcycle

Vintage motorcycle such as a Yamaha XS 650 have far fewer sensors and electrics than other motorcycles. If you don’t want to deal with electrics that much, this might be a good option for you.

There are bikes that are way easier to convert into a Bobber than others, at the end of this article you can find an example that is more complicated. Maybe it will help you to decide if you want to spend that much work on your custom bike.

For example, it is very easy for Harley-Davidsons to get new or replacement parts, as they are available almost everywhere but also some other brands have a lot of parts available.

A Bobber can either be built into a classically-styled bobber, however, the Sportster will take more time and thought when it comes what to eliminate and how to give the cleanest and most simple look to the finished bike.


What are the costs of a Bobber conversion?

The conversion from a chopper to a bobber can usually be done relatively inexpensively. Because many parts are simply reduced, or original parts simply need to be adjusted. Nevertheless, we give the tip at the beginning of the project to set a budget and to establish an emergency reserve. Because as everyone knows, unfortunately something always goes wrong and we don't want your project to fail in the end because the costs became too high. The costs are also highly variable depending on the model and condition. For example, if an exhaust system has to be modified, high costs can quickly arise. Furthermore, it also plays a role how much has to be rebuilt, for some models only parts have to be dismantled and changed, as already mentioned, for other models the whole frame up to the tires has to be processed.

But in general, it is possible to convert a motorcycle into a Bobber from 500-2000 Euro.

But at the ends it depends on the things named above and on how much work and time you want to spend on your bike. If you are a person who can build and adjust things by themselves than you can safe a whole lot of money.

 

What do I need to know to build a Bobber?

After you have chosen the perfect motorcycle for your needs, you can start thinking about what you want to adjust to build up a Bobber.

Bobbers tend to be designed by subtraction, as opposed to adding more components to the motorcycle. For this reason, they can be a good starting point for someone who hasn’t built a custom motorcycle before.

We can give you the advice to take pictures of every part before taking it away from the motorcycle, this helps you a lot later on to find the right place for the new or adjusted part. Furthermore, it is really helpful to use some boxes or plastic bags to put small parts or screws together. Furthermore, it is also really helpful to plan everything before you start building otherwise you may have to things twice.

In most cases, removing all the ‘unnecessary’ parts is as much work as adding the custom ones.

Consider which stock parts you will keep and use versus what will be removed, and what will be replaced. Many stock parts can be modified for a custom look by simplifying them by removing lettering or emblems or changing their finish with paint, powder coat or polishing.

Also important is a good part supplier that helps you if you have any questions about parts and how they fit on the motorcycle. Luckily you have found our web shop. We can help you with almost every part and motorcycle related question. Just contact our customer service if you have questions!

Custom parts are widely available, though there is definitely a difference in fit and quality. At Choppershop.com you can find a wide range different Chopper parts, from different brands in almost every price range. From headlights over forks, exhausts and fenders, we can offer you every part needed to build up a good-looking Bobber.

A really common thing to adjust your motorcycle into a Bobber is the so called “bobbing”. That mean to shorten your rear fender into tight fitting, small fender to give your custom motorcycle the perfect Bobber look. Additionally, you can also do it with your front fender or leave the front fend completely by the side. But you can also order Bobber fenders in many different Designs and price ranges at Choppershop.com.

When it comes to motorcycle wheels, spoked wheels are the go-to when building a bobber. If your project bike has spoked wheels you are in luck! Because otherwise you may have to buy some new ones. There is also a variety of Harley-Davidson style complete replacement wheels available these days at reasonable prices.

Furthermore, we would like to advise you to ask questions or read posts on motorcycle forums or Facebook groups, read customer reviews of products, or reach out to the manufacturer with your questions before purchasing a part. This can save a lot of time and money for you.

Of course, you can also make your own parts or modify existing ones. This takes more time and skill, but it is extremely fulfilling both during the work and later, when you are riding around on a motorcycle you built yourself.

We recommend doing everything step by step and start with the seat and fender combination because those already make a whole lot of difference in design. As already mentioned, try to modify as much by yourself as you can. You will learn a lot about your motorcycle and the feeling if your done is just great. There are numerous designs, all with a different price tag. Therefore, there is always something to match your needs!


Fun facts

  • The fastest bobber in the world goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds! 
  • The first bobber was built before World War II
  • Shortening fenders on a bobber is called 'bobbing'
  • Harleys were often used to build bobbers, but nowadays, the Yamaha XS650 is extremely popular