Old School Bobber Motorcycles Guide


What is a bobber motorcycle?

xvs650 bobberCustomized motorcycles that have had a front fender taken off and the rear fender shortened are known as a bobber motorcycle. To bob is to remove or shorten. Bobbing a chopper requires the fender to be removed or ‘shortened’.

Many bobber and chopper owners have a bobber style to their bikes without bobbing or removing the rear fender. It just has the ‘look’, like this one: Continue reading

What Is A Café Racer Motorcycle?

cafe-racer-2The Café Racer is a lightweight motorcycle that is designed for optimal speed and handling. They are designed for riding over short distances. What makes the Café Racer stand out from other types of bikes is the elongated fuel tank, low racing handlebars, and seat cowling. In some cases, these bikes are designed in a way that the rider’s knees are wrapped around the fuel tank.


Apart from its low-power engine and lightweight design, it also boasts unique ergonomic features. Some of them are as follows:

Narrow Handlebars.

Two separate bars that link directly to the forks are better known as Clip-ons. Another variety is the ace bar, which is a one-piece bar located on the normal mounting position. This helps the rider combat wind resistance and get better control by tucking in. It is a complete shift from a normal bike’s broad handles, which makes Café Racer different. Continue reading

Bobber Motorcycle Basics!

1999 sportster bobber.When the movie, Easy Rider appeared on screen in 1969, everyone became a fan of the Chopper and they seemed to get into the hype of the trend. After the long fork on the front gets chrome, the frame and the fame, now Harley Davidson’s modification by Steve Barber has created another famous motorcycle term, that is, Bobber.

When it comes to a Bobber, it seems that many websites have reviewed it and the fact that the big motorcycle manufacturers take it as a hint of inspiration, really tells us how popular bobbers are.

So what do you need to know about bobbers and what are the skills you need to create a nice seat bobber in your garage with your own tools? This insightful info will help you to do the best bobber crafting!

Building a bobber is something that a biker should be able to do. Building the bobber requires metal works and the crafting skills. The DIY shovelhead soft tail bobber has been done by many bikers and bike enthusiasts and most of them can complete it in varied levels of time.

Building a bobber is one of the most popular choices if you wish to have a dream bike. Learning how, is another story. There is an old school bobber and a modern type of bobber; each has its own characteristics of taking down the ballast.

What Does it Take?

Each individual will have a different goal and vision regarding what kind of bike to build. When it comes to factory bikes, they don’t have the kind of accent the bobbers do. Many opinions stressed how bobbers are exceptionally incredible when handling the road. Moreover, it is not an ugly piece of vehicle, rather, a masterpiece that a bike enthusiast could ever own.

A basic knowledge on how to build your own bobber:

What is a Bobber?

A bobber is a customized design of a motorcycle with the front fender being removed to make it small and to reduce the weigh. The bobber is one of the simplest ways to customize a motorcycle. It is a handmade part and often, it requires high end skills in mechanical and welding. The bobber community are custom motorcycle enthusiasts and often gather to discuss lots of things regarding customized motorcycle designs. The bobbers have been viral since 1940 and it is predicted to have its popularity due to ex-military motorcycle modification activities.

A bobber features a signature of its owner because it is hand made. Thus, a biker can have a different style of bobber from another one although the welding standard is the same. The bobber style has also influenced how motorcycle companies make their bikes. It is favourable because of the versatile use that you can frankly state that it is a hybrid. The terms range from retro bobber to chopper and these are based on personal preferences.

super glide bobberSo, what you learned about bobbers is that:

  • It is not a factory-created part. It is made in a person’s garage by an ordinary person who loves to modify bikes.
  • It does not have major modifications.
  • It is cheap and easy to create

A bobber is different from a chopper. A chopper makes a motorcycle look longer because the front fork has been modified up to a certain length, longer than the original one. 

If you are a newbie, literally new to automotive things, you need to know what a kit bike is in a bobber world. If you don’t have welding skills, this is the point you should learn. Continue reading

The Cafe Racer Versus The Bobber

cafe racerWhile the bobber scene, and later the chopper scene, were gathering momentum in the United States in the 1950’s there was another motorcycle scene brewing in Britain…

The cafe racer scene! This scene finally took off in the early sixties and maintains a loyal and passionate following today both in Britain and the United States.

The one common trait among bobbers and cafe racers is the fact that the goal of each rider was to create a bike that was faster by stripping the bike down of all parts that were not absolutely necessary.

Secondly, bobber and cafe racer owners did not want to own a mass produced motorcycle. They wanted their own creation… Continue reading

Honda Bobber Kits

cb750 bobber project

If you are looking for Honda bobber kits the good news is there are several nice little kits you can build or bolt on to your Honda one by one. But a complete bobber kit for Honda’s are almost non existent.

Side Bar: The CB750 Bobber Project above is by Paul Hysell.

If you are a veteran builder or bike owner and have built or customized your bike this is no surprise. But you might be surprised how many people out there are looking for complete Honda bobber kits. We get requests every now and again for a complete kit bike or questions on where to buy all the parts.

Jail Chaplains Honda 750 Bobber

Side Bar: The completed Honda 750 bobber above was built by a Chaplain for a county jail.

About Honda Bobber Kits and Building a Bobber:

The fastest way to convert a stock Honda motorcycle is to strip off as many parts you don’t need, making it lighter (because making them fast and light was the idea behind these types of bikes in the 1940’s) while keeping it road worthy and street legal. Continue reading

DOT or Novelty Motorcycle Helmets?

riding with novelty motorcycle helmetNovelty motorcycle helmets are marketed to bikers who don’t want to wear a helmet but want to avoid getting a ticket in states or countries that require helmets, and they are also marketed to bikers who want more style versus more safety…

But novelty motorcycle helmets have less protection and are lighter weight. They are simply smaller than DOT approved motorcycle helmets. As a result they may look a little more pleasing to the eye, but not by much in my opinion.

DOT approved chopper or bobber helmets can look just as good as novelty helmets!

I remember back in college an older student did a speech on why the helmet law is bad for bikers. His main argument is that you can’t be as defensive in an offensive driving environment. You can’t see as well, and you can’t turn you head as well. Continue reading

Sportster Bobber

sportster bobberThe Harley Sportster Bobber is one of the most popular bobber motorcycles that are sought after. The fact is, Harley’s still have the biggest name in the cruiser and chopper industry, even though there are many other quality factory built bikes.

[Picture above is a completed bobber from a rolling chassis kit which is sold by  americanclassicmotors on eBay].

The Sportster has a long history, and because they are a smaller Harley they fit well for many different riders. There’s lots of current and newbie bikers that don’t want a big ol Fat Boy or even some of the mid range bikes that Harley makes. Continue reading

Solidworks Chopper Tutorial

I have been reviewing the material on the Learn Solidworks Chopper Tutorial and I am really impressed with the quality of material and professionalism.

Solidworks can be a challenge to work well, especially if you want to model a motorcycle. However, the Chopper Tutorial makes it much easier.

…check out this rendering…

solidworks bobber

So I asked the founder of the Learn Solidworks Chopper Tutorial, Jan-Willem Zuyderduyn, to give you a special bonus that is not available to the general public.

And he agreed!

Here’s what he said: “If they decide to order the SolidWorks Chopper tutorial and send the code of the Voucher in the image below to info@learnsolidworks.com they receive a 3d model of a WOII Spitfire Airplane for free” a $62 value (and this is in addition to the other bonuses)…

Spitfire Airplane

Here’s The Voucher:

LearnSolidworks Bonus Discount

I hope you take advantage of this because this tutorial on rending a chopper and all the bonus material is awesome. Click here and take a look for yourself.

Budgeting Your Motorcycle Build

Budgeting is a key consideration when you decide to build your own custom chopper or motorcycle. It doesn’t matter if you are budgeting for a stock motorcycle or building a custom dream machine, you must be prepared with an idea of the budget you expect to spend or you could end up spending too much on some parts of your custom build and scrimping on other very important areas.

A budget area seldom considered by motorcycle enthusiasts budgeting for their custom build is the area of tools. It is impossible to build a custom motorcycle without proper tools and if you do not already have a good collection of quality tools, this would be the very first point on your budget. While a collection of tools can cost a small fortune, you really only need a good mechanic’s tool set which can be purchased for much less. This investment will pay off again and again. But, for our purposes here, we will consider that you already have a complete set of tools available, including specialty tools you might need.

2004 “Old School” Sportster

old school sportster

by Bobby C. (Rancho Cucamonga, California, U.S.)

This report is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of budget items, nor a budget worksheet. It is, however, intended to get you thinking about creating a realistic budget for your motorcycle build.

Now, let’s look at areas for which you must budget in order to build a custom motorcycle, whether stock or chopper.

  • Engine: You have to power your motorcycle with an engine. One of the most popular engines you can purchase for your build is an S&S show polished V-Twin engine. These range from about $7,000 to upwards of $11,000. If this is too rich for your build, you can purchase a used engine, either an S&S, Harley Davidson, or other model, depending on what you want your finished ride to incorporate. If you are going for the ever-popular V-Twin look, you are not limited to Harleys or S&S engines today. Some of the engine makers previously considered to produce only “rice burners” now market V-Twin engines that look great and perform well. Your engine will probably be the single most expensive item on your motorcycle build shopping budget.
  • Transmission: You’ll need a transmission and this will be another of the big ticket items on your budget list. You can expect to pay around $1,000 for a good 5-speed tranny, brand new from an after market supplier. Again, you can save a lot of money buying a used transmission, but be sure you know the quality and functionality of the tranny you consider. Be sure the tranny matches with the engine you are purchasing to avoid major problems in the build.
  • Forks: You’ll need a triple tree and down tubes. These are not as costly as some parts, but you need to plan to spend between $300 to $3000 or more in this area.
  • Frame and Fenders: Choose a motorcycle frame that suits your needs by selecting a stock frame or one that has been constructed for a chopper. Unless you know what you are doing, you do not want to take on bending pipe and welding your own frame. You will probably spend somewhere between $500 and $1,500 for a quality motorcycle frame. It is wise to avoid used frames unless you know the frame has not been involved in an accident because balance is everything when purchasing a motorcycle frame. Purchase fenders at the same time that are paint-ready.
  • Wheels/Tires/Brakes: You’ll need wheels and tires to roll on and brakes so you can stop rolling when you desire. Depending on your choices, you could spend as little as $500 or as much as $3,000 or more in this area.
  • Electrical: You’ll need a wire harness, battery and battery box, head lamp, tail lamp, turn signals, alternator/generator, and power for any other electric accessories you want on your motorcycle. These will total somewhere around $1,000 or more of your budget.
  • Gas Tank and Paint: You will want a great paint job on your frame, fenders, and gas tank. Because the gas tank is usually the canvas for creative art on custom motorcycles, the cost has been combined in this area. The fuel tank itself will not cost a great deal — probably less than $300 — but custom paint for your frame, fenders, and tank can be a really big ticket item, especially if you want custom art work, color-shift paint, or a great deal of detailing on your motorcycle. Budget about $750 in this area for basic paint with some art work but allow more if you want specialized treatments and extensive artwork.

Everything Else:

This area covers a lot of ground and your costs will end up being based on exactly what you want. You’ll need a saddle which can run from $100 up to hundreds of dollars. Nuts and bolts can be quite cheap or rather expensive if you choose custom designs with decorations. Rear view mirrors can be as little as $40 or much more for custom shapes — and you might not even want this option. Handle bars, foot controls, two to six foot pegs (depending on if you want street and highway pegs for the rider plus pegs for a passenger), switches, lamp housings, and little details such as decorative oil tank covers, decorative crank covers, and other options can add several thousand dollars more to your motorcycle build.

Bobber and Chopper Building DVD Reviews!

front end assemblyI have been searching all over the internet for a DVD that would give me detailed instructions on how to build my own motorcycle. Most of the DVDs I found were of bikers just showing off.

These bikers love displaying their custom made motorcycles without giving any details as to how they made them.

Below is a list of the best bike building videos on the market, in my humble opinion. They are not numbered in ranking order…

Continue reading