What Is a 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. 

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.

History

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. There is also a big difference in the bike's aesthetics.

Choppers are stylish and more "technical". They have 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.

Another key difference between the two 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.

 

Where do you start? 

As said above, a bobber is a unique motorcycle equipped with unique parts. In this category, we dig deeper into the products commonly known as bobber parts. You can also design your own motorcycle by browsing our store or by asking us for recommendations. We will happily oblige!

We recommend doing it step by step and start with the seat and fender combination. 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