What Is a Bobber Motorcycle? Main Features & Purpose

Are you wondering, “What is a bobber motorcycle?” If so, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we will look at the three main features of a bobber motorcycle, discuss how bobbers differ from choppers, and answer frequently asked questions regarding bobber motorcycles.

What is a bobber motorcycle?

A bobber motorcycle is a style of motorcycle. This style is custom-made and has a minimalistic construction.

Here are the three main features of bobber motorcycles:

1. Minimalistic Design

Bobbers are known for their minimalism in design. They do not include any parts that are not necessary for the bike to run. This means that the bike is stripped of covers, fenders, back wheel suspension, fairing, luggage rack, and luxury lights.

Bobbers usually come with the following modifications:

  • Fenders shortened
  • Seat replaced or modified
  • Mufflers replaced or removed
  • Handlebars replaced
  • Basic lighting
  • Change color scheme

The minimalistic design makes the bobber much lighter than other bikes, which makes it ride faster.

Many bobbers are crafted out of other bikes. All you have to do is remove unnecessary parts, and the bobber is ready to roll. Unfortunately, many bikers make their bobbers shoddily, which causes the bike to be more dangerous.

Bobber chopper motorcycle

2. Thick Front Wheel

Most bobbers are equipped with a thick front wheel. When compared to the back wheel, the bobber’s front wheel is notably larger. It is also much larger than the standard motorcycle wheel.

A thicker front wheel makes the bike easier to handle while a thinner back wheel increases the torque of the bike.

Thick front wheel of a motorcycle

3. Vintage Style

Because of the minimalistic look, the bobber motorcycle has a very vintage look. The lack of ornamentation makes them look dated, even if they are brand new.

The vintage style does not improve the performance of the bobber, but it will make you and the bike look more trendy.

History of the bobber motorcycle

The bobber motorcycle was originally called the “bob-job” from the 1930s to the 1990s. The bob-job developed from the “Cut Down” model in the late 1920s. In 1933, the AMA introduced Class C racing, which provided opportunities for lightweight bikes. This movement inspired the bob-job.

Regular bike riders began to rig their bikes so that they mimicked the minimalist design of the Class C racers. These bikes lacked excess material as well as paint and chrome.

After World War II, the need for bobber motorcycles increased, but the bobbers became more decorative than their depression-era counterparts. These bikes tended to have some chrome plating, pinstriping, and colored upholstery.

Other modifications included wild paint jobs, a smaller gas tank, raised handlebars, and upward-turned exhaust pipes.

From the 1930s to the 1980s, bobber motorcycles were home-built and reflected the individual owners’ tastes. In the 1990s, though, manufacturers such as Harley-Davidson and Honda started selling bobbers.

Today, bobbers can still be homemade or bought. Many motorcycle enthusiasts enjoy making their own bobbers so they can add personal touches.

How is a bobber motorcycle different from a chopper motorcycle?

A chopper motorcycle is the more extreme version of the bobber.

High power motorcycle chopper

The chopper motorcycle came about in the 1960s. It evolved out of the bob-job as well, but the chopper was more stylistically and technically extreme than the bobber. It normally includes more modifications and includes glossy paint jobs.

While the bobber is usually made from unmodified frames, choppers are almost always built from highly modified or custom-made frames. This fact makes the bobber both more affordable and easier to build.

Frequently asked questions

Here are frequently asked questions about bobber motorcycles:

Why would I want to turn my bike into a bobber?

There are several reasons you would want to turn your old bike into a bobber:

  • Eliminates replacement parts
  • Eliminates accident damage parts
  • Faster
  • Style preference

Are bobbers safe?

Like any bike, bobbers have the potential to be dangerous. If they are not built properly or with safety in mind, they can be lethal.

Before removing any item from your bike, carefully research the purpose and need of the part. If you remove necessary items, you run the risk of ruining your bike and injuring yourself and others.

Similarly, a reckless driver will certainly increase the chances of wrecking and getting injured on a bobber. Always practice safe driving techniques when on your bobber, wear protective clothing, and watch the road carefully.

What are the normal modifications of a bobber motorcycle?

Making a bobber can be a fun and rewarding task. Before removing any parts, research your bike and its parts diligently. You do not want to remove any items that provide necessary safety or functionality.

Fenders

Once you know what parts you can remove, you may want to start by shortening the fenders. You can do this by either shortening the fenders yourself or buying pre-shortened fenders. You will want to modify your own fenders, however, if the bike is rare. This will increase the bike’s value.

Seat

Bobber seats can be customized to your preferences, but they usually resemble board track racer seats from the early 1900s.  Unfortunately, modifying modern seats to look like board track racer seats is very difficult. You may have to buy a totally new seat to achieve this look.

If you don’t want to spend the extra money, you can modify the seat however you like.

Exhaust

Traditional bobbers lack any sort of muffler. Removing the muffler can affect the engine’s running condition and is illegal in most U.S. States and other countries. Be sure to check your local laws and regulations.

Handlebars

There are many handlebar styles and modifications to choose from. Whatever you choose, however, make sure that the electrical wiring is up to code and safely implemented

Lights

You will probably have to order custom lights for your bobber. You can get lights online, at a motorcycle shop, or auto accessory shop. You will want to make sure that the lights have a low power requirement so as not to overwork the battery.

Color scheme

Changing the color of your bike is relatively easy. Just make sure to seal the inside of the fuel tank before painting. If you do not feel comfortable painting your bike, many custom shops will paint it for you.

Conclusion

What is a bobber motorcycle? A bobber motorcycle is a minimalistic bike that can be recycled from other bikes. Whether you are looking to buy a new bobber or create one yourself, make sure not to remove parts that improve functionality and safety.