What exactly defines a bobber? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-01-2012, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
Vegas Vulcan's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 40
What exactly defines a bobber?

I was out riding through the park today where I stopped and talked to a guy who was riding a an old Yamaha. He said his bike was a bobber now because he had cut off about 6 inches of the rear fender and mounted a side tail light and license plate. I didn't comment other than the normal pleasantries.

My query is, what makes a motorcycle a bobber? I was always under the impression a key factor was that the rear fender was modified and hugged the tire closely, and it was mounted to the swing arm so it "bobbed" up and down with the wheel. I've seen on the web where some are just painting their bikes flat black and calling them bobbers. Plus you would need to remount the seat or change it all together so it is mounted to the frame since the fender support is gone.

I've consider the bobber factor for my 1600 but I don't think I could get up the nerve to cut away the fender mounts from the frame. It just seems so final. I don't think the style of the 1500 or 1600 lends itself to a cool looking bobber. I think the best bobbers are the softail style with no shocks interrupting the flow of the bikes lines. To me, these styles of bikes are the nicest looking, the way the frame curves down and flows right into the swing arm, like the VN900 or VN800.

Any comments?

Incidently I came across this pic on the web of a 900 bobber. I like! I think the 900 has great lines and is a very balanced looking bike.


2006 Vulcan 1600 Classic
2003 Vulcan 1500 Classic

Last edited by Vegas Vulcan; 12-01-2012 at 12:56 AM.
Vegas Vulcan is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-01-2012, 01:37 AM
Top Contributor
Romans5.8's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Missouri
Year/Make/Model: 2014 Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero ABS SE
Displacement/CC's: 1700
Color: Orange SE
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,593
I think it's all relative. To me? A bobber is like a chopper, in that it has had all of the stuff 'removed' (chopped/bobbed) to lean it up a bit. But what seperates, in my mind, a bobber and a chopper in the sense of what you see today, is that a bobber pretty much only takes stuff off, it doesn't really put anything new on. A chopper, in my mind, is full of new stuff. Remove the fender and put a new one on, instead of cutting the old one. Ape hangars, big chrome rims, etc.

Of course, to others, that same bike is a 'bobber' that I called a 'chopper' and vice versa.

6 in one hand. Half a dozen in the other!

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

2014 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ABS SE
iPod Connector Kit, Kuryakyn Highway Pegs, Mustang Touring Seat, Marvella's Hitch, Kuryakyn Trailer Wiring Kit, Haul-Master Tag-a-Long Cargo Trailer

2011 Honda Shadow Aero 750 (Wife's)

Memphis shades quick-release windshield, OEM Solo Seat, Mustang Fender Bib, Chrome Solo Luggage Rack

Past: 2006 Vulcan 900 Classic LT
Romans5.8 is offline  
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 01:24 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 33
I don't know about choppers... But for me bobber is following a certain philosophy when modifying your bike: remove anything that does not serve a purpose in moving the bike faster.

As such, when bobbing, it is typical to see removal or one or more fender, chain guard, etc. less weight--> faster.

Sent from my iPhone using Motorcycle.com App

2010 vn900c se
Riding in foggy/rainy San Fransciso
Tiefighter is offline  
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 01:26 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 33
One more thing, historically the term Bobber came from act of bobbing (cutting)the rear fender... I read somewhere.

Sent from my iPhone using Motorcycle.com App

2010 vn900c se
Riding in foggy/rainy San Fransciso
Tiefighter is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 04:10 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 133

I like some bobbers, but not all. I found this one some silly person destroyed a gixxer to make. I would have to ride with a paper bag over my head so people couldn't see me riding it, and thought you all might get a good laugh too.

Sent from my M865 using Motorcycle.com Free App
knightrider is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome