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Old 01-24-2013, 09:44 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by el queso View Post
But now you can buy a $30K bobber complete with flat paint and rust.
It's called "patina". That way they can charge more.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:11 PM   #17
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OK, I might regret this being my first post... buuuuut I'm going to anyways. saw this and had to reply.

I did not get a login just to reply on this thread, I have been lurking for a while and looking around so I hope I don't offend anyone and will be participating after this. I have a bobber, but also have a Triumph Explorer, had a GS that had over 25,000 miles on it, a CRF-450 with plates, an older R1 and have spent time on and off road. I have somewhere between 80k and 100k miles in the saddle. but I digress.

What is now called a "bobber" started after WWII when the GI's were coming back after riding or seeing Harley's in service. They were (like many of us) thrill seekers and wanted to make the bikes as fast as they could. They would take everything off the bike that wasn't necessary including the front fender and half of the rear, "bobbing" the bikes. If you look at the rear fender on the old war-time Harleys the rear fender had a hinge at the top of it to allow access to the rear tire. These guys would take the rear off at this hinge or cut right in front of it. Thats where the "12-oclock" rear fender look comes from on bobbers. These bikes were already hard tails, the suspension wasn't cutoff. Just like when choppers with long front ends became mainstream again, its a throwback to an old style, back then bobbing a bike made it handle and stop better and faster. I do think its stupid to cut suspension off a bike just for style.

I will agree that a lot of the guys who have bobbers now are posers and they never get ridden other than to a local place to be seen, but the exact same thing could be said for the adventure bikes that many of us ride. We've all seen the brand new BMW GS's that have aggressive knobbies and enough heavy gear (both make the bike perform worse) to go around the world on but will never get more than 200 miles from home. These guys think bobbers are cool and want in on the fun.

Bobbers are just simply fun to ride, even if they are more uncomfortable and harder to ride fast. They feel old and are very easy to work on. A motorcycle is about fun and enjoyment. If it wasn't we'd all just drive cars. Mine has a Harley evo engine, a hard tail and has an old Harley springer front end and drag bars. None of these things "improve" the bike, but it makes me smile and feels different than my other bikes. And I have outrun my share of sport bikes up the mountain on my old, ill-handling, faddish bobber. The longest day I've had on it was 400+ miles.

I think it comes down to.... just like anything else thats fun or cool, everyone else eventually wants in on the fun. Not all these people are going to completely "get it" like the early adopters do. But don't worry, these guys will sell their new toy for the next big thing pretty soon. The way I see it, whether its a bobber, a chopper, an adventurer, tourer, custom, or whatever... as long as it's getting ridden it still has two wheels it's still a motorcycle. One less person driving a cage. I'm still going to wave at them when I pass them because were all members of the same group.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:05 PM   #18
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:13 AM   #19
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Basically Bobbers preceded Choppers-

What is a Chopper, what is a Bobber, and How do you build one?

Bobbers preceded choppers, gaining popularity and steam in post-WWII ‘Merica when a handful of vets were returning home with an appetite for more than white picket fences and snot-nosed children. Factory bikes, specifically Harleys, were stripped down of non-essentials to be made lighter, faster and more maneuverable. This was a time in American history when it was more economical to remove saddle bags and stop eating so much butter to go faster on your bike rather than bolt on forced induction and nitrous.
One commonality that helped create the name was the action of “bobbing” or shortening the rear fender. Not only did it clean and minimize the look of the bike by cutting out the hinged portion of older fenders it allowed for easier changing of tires.


Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson in the 1969 film Easy Rider.

Easy Rider Facts:

The bikes for the film, based on hardtail frames and Panhead engines, were designed and built by African American chopper builders Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy, following ideas of Peter Fonda, and handled by Tex Hall and Dan Haggerty later during shooting.
As to why the post-WWII bobber appeared; I suspect that it was a reaction among patriotic ex-servicemen to the performance common to British motorcycles sold in the US in that era.

1905 and Now up to 2008

Once the war was over in 1945 civilian production commenced again.
In 1949 the Hydra-Glide was introduced using hydraulic front forks. The 1950's were not a good time at Harley-Davidson.
The British with their Triumph and BSA motorcycles had 40% of the market.
These were smaller, lighter and in some cases faster bikes.
This problem was met head on and in 1957 with the introduction of the Sportster.
However, for those who preferred the 74 to the 45, cutting a lot of weight from the Panhead seemed an obvious solution in the hunt for llivelier acceleration and more responsive handling.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by vortexau View Post
I feel 13% more american after going to that site.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:50 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Aah5 View Post
Educate me, what is it about a Bobber that makes it so attractive?...
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.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:29 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Aah5 View Post
Educate me, what is it about a Super Sport that makes it so attractive?

I can understand Sport Tourers & Dual Sports, the adding of unnecessary items and modifying to improve performance and handling is Ok by me, I see lots of good looking ones on the road.

The act of farkling up of a bike and adding top boxes, panniers, replacing the seat with a comfortable all day seat, fitting dual purpose tires and generally working up the ergonomics and handling just leaves me shaking my head.

Nothing in the slightest attractive with these, dare I call, 'bikes'.

Fixed for further emphasis on the silliness of your post.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:45 AM   #23
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:58 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Aah5 View Post
Educate me, what is it about a Bobber that makes it so attractive?

I can understand Cafe Racers & Street Trackers, the stripping unnecessary items and modifying to improve performance and handling is Ok by me, I see lots of good looking ones on the road.

The act of cutting up of a bike and removing rear suspension, chopping fenders off, replacing the seat with a board, fitting fat oversize tires and generally stuffing up the ergonomics and handling just leaves me shaking my head.

Nothing in the slightest attractive with these, dare I call, 'bikes'.
Why is it that you find the need to shit on someone's else plate? If they aren't attractive to you so be it. Why do you care that others DO like them ? Lighten up man...

I don't get the idea of a motorcycle with ABS , traction control and all the other techno trinkets but you don't see me bagging on the pussies that need all that superfluous crap on their bikes..

By the way if this bike is ugly or worthless to you then the problem isn't the bike.

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Old 01-30-2013, 12:59 PM   #25
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Cheap, simple, easy to make, did I mention cheap?

Cruisers (flashy, chromey ones) are pretty low on my list of favorite styles of bikes, but this post actually got me really excited about them. To me, they're like the anti-cruisers of the cruiser world.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:57 PM   #26
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After a whole lifetime of not liking the old 1970's chopper style bikes all of a sudden I'm looking at them with a new interest. I guess tastes change. Part of life is who you are and part of it is how you want others to perceive you. So much of riding motorcycles is a part of that equation for some people.

I do like looking at bobbers though. Don't really want to ride one that much.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:50 PM   #27
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I am thinkin abt building me one..

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Old 02-03-2013, 07:01 PM   #28
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I think all bike styles and brands are cool§ion=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=37210

But I really like ape hangers.
To the OP, I am not sure what its like "down under" but I think the idea of alot of surplus 70's and 80's bikes for free or next to nothing and people getting creative have kick-started this "style of bike"again here in the USA. It is also the opposite end of the spectrum from the OCC type of bike, something people now want to distance themselves from.
I have a CM450 Hondamatic that will eventually (hopefully) be turned into a bar hopping hardtailed little wannabe of those honda fours and yammie xs's that are all over, certainly it wouldn't be ideal for a restoration or is very appealing for anything past an evening running around town, but could be a blast for a quick jaunt to the next pit stop.

It's really comes down to "different strokes for different folks"...
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:34 PM   #29
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Funny...I was just thinking about bobbing my magna if I can't sell it. Its a great bike but has a large number of cosmetic blemishes. I bought it with many and dropped it a couple times to add to the number of visual flaws. She was my 1st bike and I learned a lot over the 20,000 or so miles I put on her.

Bobbers in my opinion are supposed to be a cruiser with the junk removed/cut off so as to make it lighter and make it look better. The looks are VERY objective. I am extremely picky with how a bobber should look and for some reason I have this idea that they should be more on the powerful side (not 250s and smaller).

It really comes down to what one is into. I think ape hangers are stupid (no offense meant) but some people love them. I think thats one of the great things about motorcycles, they can be customized to practically whatever one likes. There is something for everyone and we get to indulge our own ideas of a two wheeled machine.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:41 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by It'sNotTheBike View Post
First, let me say that I forsee this thread going to the basement faster than an express
elevator in the Empire State Building

Now, to your question :

A lack of taste and no sense of design would be the first things that come
to mind as reasons why people think bobbers are attractive.

That's really all there is to it. It's not a profound mystery. You may as well ask
why people get a nose ring, or why people think it is cool to get a tattoo. Some
people have an innate understanding of what makes something beautiful. Other
people just screw something up because it is all they know how to do. So they
get nose rings or tattoos or "build" bobbers or drive around blasting rap music
out the windows of their cars.

Yeah, I could be wrong.

But I'm not.


A simple lack of good taste. In my experience, most bobber owners/lovers live in trailer parks and also covet 2nd generation Camaros.

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