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In a postmodernist culture, most things are rejected with irony and sarcasm, dismissed as ‘fake’. This is the reason why vintage engineering holds so much power.
Leather jackets. Tuxedos. Young men pretending to enjoy whiskey because their friends in frats drown in beer.
This is one of the reasons the bobber motorcycle is making a comeback.
A staple among hardline motorcycle enthusiasts back in the 90s, the bobber motorcycle is the physical embodiment of authenticity.
Stripping away unnecessary kilograms of vanity, the Bobber does not concern itself with trying to look cool.
And that makes it look much, much cooler.
The aesthetics of the bobber motorcycle tie to its functionality.
And here’s the best part- you can customize any bike you want. That’s what lies in the power of the bobber.
And if you put in the time and effort, you can do it for dirt cheap.
Due to the actions of a few, people who ride have attained a reputation for being “attention-seeking”.
The bobber is anti-insecurity. Because the person riding it is anti-insecurity.
We wrote this article to help you put together your own bobber bike. With as little money involved as possible.
Why was the bobber motorcycle so popular?
‘Bobber’ is a funny word, but do you know where it comes from?
The name ‘bobber’ comes from bob-tail. As in the shortening of the tail of an animal.
In the same vein, the shortening of the rear fender of a motorcycle gives it a bob-tail look.
A bobber motorcycle does more than reduce fender sizes though.
The ‘bob-job’ (as it was known back then) actually took inspiration from an early Harvey model.
A botched front fender and the altered rear fender made it to the revamped bike build.
The removal of all accessories that weren’t necessary for the functioning of the motorcycle helped as well. This made it weigh much lighter, and look much cooler.
This caused a huge surge in its popularity, especially after World War 2. The late 40s onward gave rise to a myriad of modifications, most of them reflecting the personality of the owner.
For this reason, all the way back from the 30s to the 90s, every third guy had a bobber motorcycle kit.
Part of this was because the bobber motorcycle kit retained all the engineering marvels of its parent motorcycle. But looked much better.
How Do I Go About The Features Of A Bobber?
Decide the model you want to take part in your bobber motorcycle kit
Any model can be converted into a bobber. But the retros first come to mind. Easily dismantle parts for your bobber motorcycle kit.
The more customization options a motorcycle has, the better.
Rear and front fenders shortened.
One of the most common (and often primary) traits associated with a bobber motorcycle kit.
The front and rear fenders are often shortened (or completely removed) to a degree that saves as much weight as possible.
Because the seats of bobber motorcycles are heavy, they are oftentimes modified to be lighter or replaced completely.
When modified, they often resemble the seats present in those from the motorcycles used in the board track racing back in the early 1900s- small, aerodynamic, and way less heavy.
The long, heavy handlebars are replaced with smaller, more compact handlebars.
These weigh way less but don’t compromise on the ergonomics. This gives the bike an edge of minimalism- while weighing way less.
Removal of silencer
The name of the world silencer is self-explanatory.
Upon removal of the silencer, your motorcycle revs at a much higher noise level.
In fact, when I was on the way to my ex-girlfriend’s house, I never had to call her to ask to punch me in. She heard me coming from a block away.
But do note that due to higher noise levels, more energy is consumed. This may at times prevent the engine from performing at maximum capacity. Also in some states noise levels past a certain limit are illegal.
This is one of those options where adding them to your motorcycle actually has no bearing on its weight.
Because different body parts of a motorcycle have their own lighting, the lights you replace them with fall under different categories:
- Auxiliary Lights – For visibility during night time. Also used in harsh/cold weather.
- Turn Signals – The lights that flash when your motorcycle is about to take a left or right turn.
- Brake Lights – The red lights at the back of your motorcycle that automatically turn on when you hit the breaks.
- Headlights – You don’t need me to explain this.
Springer Front Replacement
The springer fort incorporates the front suspension and front brake to let the front wheel rotate about the steering axis to steer the bike.
How will my bobber look after I’m done with it though?
That’s the fun part- you get to decide.
This means that (within reason) the only limits on what you can do with your custom builds depends on your creativity and financial limits.
Examples of bobber motorcycle kits:
1) 2019 Indian Scout bobber
- 200mm rear tire
- Dirtybird custom 2-1 exhaust
- Hurican air intake
- Power Commander V
2) Rebel 250 bobber build
- Ghetto hardtail
- Brake light mounted to axle bolt
- LED striplight under the seat for turn signals
Alright, all of this has got me excited. Now what?
So glad you asked.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars via trial and error for the perfect bobber motorcycle kit.
Because for under $40, you can build your own bobber.
You read that right.
There are millions of guides and articles on the internet that teach you how to do certain things. But due to the vast amount of information out there, we all fall victim to analysis paralysis.
And we waste way too much time and money.
This is why buying books written by actual experts, that are based on hours upon hours of research and experience is fail-safe.
Motorcycle parts are expensive, and for the vast majority of us, trying out two or three models is not financially feasible.
Based on multiple reviews, motofour.com recommends the following books:
Essentially bobber motorcycle kits in textbook form, multiple readers on Motofour.com said building their own bobbers was a breeze after reading this.
You’re doing yourself a disservice if you have your bike in a box and don’t read these.
Because again, they save you a lot of time and effort. And hundreds of dollars.
In a society that is increasingly dependent on appearances, symbols from the past are important. In the past, people did not have the resources to fake superficiality, and authenticity meant something- because trust was invaluable.
Part of the reason why bobbers are so attractive is because of this.
Few things scream ‘real’ more than an automobile that revolves around functionality only.
Hipsters ruined the appeal of beards by making them mainstream. In a couple of decades, they’ll ruin the appeal of bobber bikes by making them mainstream.
So it’s up to you to get ahead of the hipsters.