Originally Posted by IHWillys
I didn't get through all the other responses but this is it: The modern "bobber" is due in large part to a plethora of inexpensive older bikes that mechanically are mostly still capable but have definitely seen their better days cosmetically(think '70s/80s UJMs). The bobber treatment is an *easy* and *cheap* method of altering the appearance of said motorcycle. It's much easier and cheaper than trying to make it look nice and original.
Take just about every thing that is done on a UJM "bobber" and it is easy and cheap to do.
Needs paint? Flat black is the easiest and cheapest there is, aside from simply discarding parts that need paint.
Fenders are dented/peeling/rusty/etc, just get rid of them.
Turn signals are bent/non-op, in the trash they go
OEM taillight is broken or still attached to the discarded rear fender, trailer lights are cheap.
Needs rear shocks? Some "struts" are easy and definitely the cheapest.
Seat is all messed up? Toss it and bolt on a cheap universal Bates style.
There I just covered 90% of UJM bobbers on CL.
Easy and cheap combined with a readily available supply.
I get why people do it. I kinda like the rat bike style, especially if that aesthetic was earned by hard use and lotsa mileage. What burns my butt is when I see a nice old survivor "bobberized" by some knucklehead hipster in his thriftshop mechanic's shirt and ironic waxed mustache. Here in Baltimore old original UJMs are getting few and far between at a rate proportional to the expanding glut of flat black "hardtail" POS populating CL. They take a $2500 bike with nice original bits and turn it into a $500 dangerous sled, and ruin NLA parts forever.