Bobber Motorcycles: What Are They?

Modified On Nov 3, 2019 By Zaran Mody for Triumph Bonneville Bobber

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All the information about this chopped and dropped genre of motorcycles

Ever came across a motorcycle that seemed half-finished? Chances are you were probably looking at a bobber. This little niche of the motorcycling world seems to have garnered quite a significant cult following, so what is it that draws people to these seemingly incomplete motorcycles? To understand that, we must first take a look at what exactly a bobber is. 

What Are They? 

A bobber is a style of vintage custom motorcycle where almost every non-essential component has been stripped away. Of course, today we have bobbers coming straight from the factory but there was a time when the only way to have one was to buy a conventional motorcycle and then convert it. A bobber is a retro-styled motorcycle that will often feature shortened fenders, very basic instrumentation and lighting, minimal body panels and only a low rider's seat. A chunky front tyre is often thrown into the mix as well.

The most authentic bobbers out there are hardtails with no rear suspension, and even the ones that do have a functional rear suspension try and conceal it as much as possible. The Triumph Bonneville Bobber is one example that does an excellent job of looking like a hardtail while still offering rear suspension, with its shock absorber neatly tucked away under the rider's seat. Forward-set footpegs and low, flat handlebars arch your back and make you form a 'C'. 

You can probably tell by now that bobbers aren't ideal bikes for long distance touring. They're more about making a style statement and expressing yourself. There is one other area where they shine, though, and that is speed. As a result of this minimalist approach towards design, bobbers tend to be quite light, at least compared to the motorcycles that they are based on. This means quite a high power-to-weight ratio which makes them quite sprightly. 

Do We Get Them In India? 

Yes we do, quite a few of them, actually. We are fortunate to live in a time where one can walk into a dealership and ride off on a bobber, without the hassle of having to make any modifications or do any metalwork. In addition to the Triumph Bonneville Bobber mentioned above, we also have the Indian Scout Bobber on sale here. Harley-Davidson had its lineup of the Forty Eight, Fat Bob and Street Bob, and even Moto Guzzi offers the V9 Bobber, though we must mention that it isn't very authentic. 

Who Buys Them? 

Well, for starters, those without a significant other. The absence of a rear seat greatly limits the usability of bobbers, but those who buy them aren't the sort of people concerned about ferrying pillion. Buying a bobber is a decision you make with your heart rather than your head, because in terms of function and practicality, they don't score very highly. Bobber buyers are the sort of people who want to stand out and make a strong statement rather than fit in. 

How Much Will It Cost Me?

If you are a fan of the bobber design, you better hope you have deep pockets. That’s because the cheapest bobber in the country is Triumph’s offering, which will set you back by Rs 10.28 lakh. Prices go all the way up to Rs 14.69 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob with its massive 1745cc V-twin engine.

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