Bobber-style motorbikes serve as the foundation for all kinds of customized bikes around the globe. Riders who want a quick and unique motorcycle would ‘bob’ their bikes, removing unnecessary bodywork to make them lighter and faster for the best riding experience.
Motorcycle ‘bobbing’ is completely open-ended and can be tailored to the rider’s preferences. Motorcycles known as “bobbers” have been around for a very long time and don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Here is the evolution of the bobber motorbike into the well-known motorcycle style it is today.
What Is A Bobber Motorcycle?
A ‘Bobber’ motorcycle is simply a particular form of custom motorcycle and NOT a specific type of motorcycle. Any additional or unneeded parts of a motorbike are removed to make it lighter and faster, reduce its weight, and give it a more minimalist appearance. Back then, accessories like fenders, lights, mirrors, and everything else that did not help the bike move quicker were removed. Any components that do not impair the bike’s functionality are now removed. The precursors to the bobbers we know today were these plain bikes.
The “Bob-Job” Changes:
A Bobber motorbike was designed to be kept on the road for the least amount of money possible. Owners of motorcycles would eliminate components they deemed “unnecessary” to make their vehicles lighter and faster. The following are the most typical bob-job alterations:
- The front fender is being removed.
- The rear fender would be considerably shrunk.
- There would be no mirrors.
- The headlights would be taken off.
- The handlebars had been changed.
- As little weight and space as feasible would be put into the seats.
- All chrome-containing parts would be taken out.
The Origins Of The Bobber Motorcycle
- 1920s: The Birth Of The Bobber Motorcycle
Although motorcycles have always been very popular, it was in the 1920s that long, high-style motorcycles started to need to be updated because people now wanted smaller, shorter motorcycles. For their bikes to look and perform better, motorcycle owners modified their vehicles by adding smaller wheels, a slimmer frame, and a shorter rear portion. People started to alter their motorcycles since they did not like the extra extras that motorcycles came with.
- 1930s: The Bobber Becomes More Popular
On the East Coast, in the Midwest, and in California, the bob job craze started to spread. The focus was now on customizing the bike to be cool and unique rather than just making it lighter and quicker. But bobbing on a motorbike wasn’t a simple chore. Because they needed more knowledge or resources to alter their motorcycles, riders found it challenging to customize them. They only had acetylene torches, wrenches, and hacksaws as tools.
- 1940s: The Bobber’s Ascent
The bobber motorcycle truly took off and became popular in the 1940s. Before World War II, motorcycles were fairly common, but after the war, their appeal increased significantly. American service members became so accustomed to riding lighter, faster motorcycles abroad during the war that they desired an equivalent machine when they went home. They started to bob their bikes by tampering with and deleting pieces of their motorcycles to make them lighter and more adaptable. Many of these servicemen developed their mechanical talents working on military vehicles during the war.
- 1950s: Increased Popularity
The bobber motorcycle attained enormous popularity in the 1950s. People’s bob jobs were becoming more artistic. With the addition of chrome plating, upholstery, and other finishing, bobbers grew more and more intricate. To allow owners to customize their bobber motorbike, the Accessory market had its own motorcycle ‘custom’ catalog by the middle of the 1950s.
- 1960s: Bobbers Remain At The Top
The modifications to Bobber motorcycles changed throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The “chopper” craze grew around this time but lagged behind the Bobber trend. When it came to custom motorcycles, the Bobber was the finest of the best. Riders who desired something utterly distinctive and novel opted to bop their motorcycles. With numerous market manufacturers incorporating bobber influences into their new motorcycles, the Bobber has evolved into a fashion icon.
- 1970s – 1990s: The Bobber Loses Ground
The bobber trend fell out of favor with the chopper in the 1970s. The bobber prioritized speed and performance over style, whereas a chopper valued appearance overuse. Many motorcycle companies started accelerating the speed of their motorcycles. Most Japanese and European performance bikes would exceed all but the fastest bobbers by the middle of the 1970s. Riders who wanted custom bikes continued to have their motorcycles modified, even though bikes were beginning to be produced more quickly.
- 2000–2010: The Bobber Makes A Comeback
The Bobber made a comeback in the 2000s and had a significant surge in popularity. Bobber was the way to go as riders reverted to a more conventional style of customization. The Bobber trend was being embraced by motorcycle manufacturers as well. In 2001, Triumph unveiled the all-new Bobber Bonneville. Although many other companies have released their bobber motorcycles in India, they still need to be able to popularise the style, like the 2017 Triumph Bobber. Despite being well-liked, the brand’s motorcycles couldn’t compare to a true custom bobber.
‘DIY’ riders who wanted the lightest and fastest motorcycle on the market were made possible by the Bobber motorcycle. The Bobber gained enormous popularity since it was not only cool and distinctive but also reasonably priced. The Bobber motorcycle unquestionably played a role in determining the direction of custom motorcycles for years to come.