What is it with this 'Bobber' craze?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Aah5, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Aah5

    Aah5 russ

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    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'.
    #1
  2. Griffin44

    Griffin44 Been here awhile

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    I agree with you, FWIW.

    I love Cafe style. Bobbers are a style I just don't get. It seems the opposite of form following function. Why design a bike to be slow to turn and unridable if there's any moisture on the road?
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  3. Griffin44

    Griffin44 Been here awhile

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    Well crap. Why didn't I think of that? Problem solved. Only hold an opinion on things you own. Got it.
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  4. el queso

    el queso toda su base

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    Bobbers are like Rat Rods - they used to be cool but it's now been over done. The original concept (going to the 40s and 50s) was a cheap mod to reduce weight, with the work done by the owner in his garage. But now you can buy a $30K bobber complete with flat paint and rust. :huh
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  5. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    First, let me say that I forsee this thread going to the basement faster than an express
    elevator in the Empire State Building :rofl



    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.:deal


    .
    #5
  6. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    Define "Craze"

    Bobbers have been around, and have been popular since the late 1940s...

    :dunno
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  7. Aah5

    Aah5 russ

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    I have no intention of buying one, just can't understand why you would chop a good bike up into a piece of crap and then expect to sell it for such outrageous prices. Only worth scrap value.
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  8. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    A bike is always worth what someone is willing to pay for it. You don't like them so for YOU that value is "scrap". To another... Perhaps an inner city hipster, the bike is exactly what he likes and wants. He has no interest in riding it on a trip, he only wants to look hip as he navigates the city streets. To him the value is MUCH higher.

    The only thing I don't understand is why you started a thread about them if it is something you are not interested in? :1drink
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  9. zuma

    zuma Been here awhile

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    Bobbers to me are a little like the trend at present for innercity hipsters to ride fixed wheel pushbikes without brakes. Does a fixed wheeler pushie perform as well as a braked and geared bike? No. Is it as safe? No. But somehow it's become cool, no one knows how, but for now considered cool they are.
    #9
  10. eliotsajerkface

    eliotsajerkface Been here awhile

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    Get off my lawn ya damn kids!
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  11. grisezd

    grisezd Been here awhile

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    I'm a fat middle aged guy who prefers to ride his fixed gear bike because it's simple and fun. No gears clattering, no crap on the handlebars, only one cable (I run a front brake). The cows and occasional farmer I pass on the way to work would probably think I'm pretty hip if they ever looked up as I went by. Oh, and my 12.5 mile commute takes right around 40 minutes no matter what bike I pedal. And it's fun.

    I never got choppers until I spent some time on some (I work as a test engineer at a proving grounds) and had a blast trying to get them to turn. I didn't care for all the chrome, but I got a feel for the feet up, arms up, bombing riding position. It was fun. And going fast was scary and fun. The most scary and most fun pitched me to the ground at 110mph. The wrist hurt for months, but the long slide was fun once I got used to it.

    Last summer my son and I bobbed an old Kaw something or other. It cost me about $300. We started the project by taking off anything we thought looked dumb and wound up with a pretty clean looking bike. It has a skateboard deck covered in kayak foam for a seat. It still has shocks because they looked right. I think that many of you would hate it. It's fun to ride and fun to look at and we had fun building it.

    If you take yourself serious enough with all of this judging you might miss out on some fun. That would be a shame.
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  12. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

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    I just bought an expensive bike with no gears, but it has disc brakes. 29 inch wheels, sort of off road tires. My wife has one with the little skinny tires and it flat out hauls ass. It isn't an image thing, they actually work pretty well, and there is nothing to wear out, go out of adjustment, or cables to break.
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  13. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    Accepting other people's choices without judgement or comment is un-american:

    Do it my way, or you're doing it wrong.
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  14. Yikes!

    Yikes! Boris Badenov fan

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    I don't even have a bobber. No float fishing for me.
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  15. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Been here awhile

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    I built my wife a bobber out of a Suzuki savage because she wanted a bike to putt around town and go out to lunch on.

    Here was the appeal for me - it's cheap, I can work on it, and she really likes it.

    I'm certainly no mechanic, but I can take parts off, grind off other stuff and paint crap. It's fun for me to work on and you can't really mess it up. Its got a single exhaust from a sportster, I wrapped the header and painted the muffler part with flat white header paint - cliche, you bet, but who cares, and it still looks cool when a 40 y/o women pulls up on it, backfireing and all that. I have a pretty tricked out r100 cafe bike, professionally done, and really sweet with a lot of difficult to source parts, but when we pull up somewhere her bike gets all the attention, and she loves that. And that makes me smile :wink:
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  16. bwalsh

    bwalsh UUU, UUU!!!

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    It's called "patina". :deal That way they can charge more. :lol3
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  17. E.O.T.D.

    E.O.T.D. Adventurer

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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. :freaky
    #17
  18. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    :freaky
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  19. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    Basically Bobbers preceded Choppers-

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

    [​IMG]

    Bobber.


    [​IMG]

    Chopper(s)
    Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson in the 1969 film Easy Rider.

    Easy Rider Facts:

    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.

    "HARLEY-DAVIDSON"
    MOTORCYCLES
    1905 and Now up to 2008


    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.
    #19
  20. eliotsajerkface

    eliotsajerkface Been here awhile

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