If being simple brings with it functionality, Bobbers are one of the most striking examples. Bobbers, which are created with the removal of all excess materials on a motorcycle, are both incredibly light and pretty minimalistic in its design. The result: A purified passion for motorcycles!..
Even though most of us are not familiar with the word “bobber”, it is accepted as the father of the nowadays popular “choppers”. When considering popular culture, choppers attract the most attention, however authentic motorcycle enthusiasts, especially in the last couple of years, have been giving bobbers the value they deserve.
Whatever is unnecessary can go…
The most important quality of bobbers, which stand out as completely aim driven motorcycles, is the removal of every feature on the motorcycle that seems unnecessary. On a regular bobber, you will not be able to find any material that is not essential for the motorcycle to move. This helps the motorcycle become very light and it gives a minimalist appearance.
Bobber gets its name from the English word for ‘cut-short’ which is “bobbed”. It has an interesting and long history. It has been known that this style was adapted by American’s returning home after WWII who were impressed by what they saw in Europe and wanted to make their bikes look more European. The motorcycle clubs built by soldiers returning from war, quickly evolved its style. Thus, bobber motorcycles were born.
Goes on stage with “The Wild One”
When talking about Bobber motorcycles, one should not forget the 1953 Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin film “The Wild One”. The film, produced by Stanley Kramer, successfully reflects the subculture and motorcycle passion of the 1950s. The motorcycles in the race scenes of the movie stand out with their wide handlebars, ‘hard tails’, elastic saddles and flat seating positions.
Bobber enthusiasts are just as much passionate as the chopper users, however it is apparent that bobbers are more ‘pure’ motorcycles.
In the 1969 movie “Easy Rider” which made bobbers evolve into choppers, there were motorcycles used by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. The production of choppers was based on the same principle as bobbers, which was to get rid of any unnecessary features such as front window, headlights, sissy bar and front and back bumpers.
While Marlon Brando used his own “Triumph Thunderbird 650” motorcycle during the movie, Lee Marvin used a Harley Davidson Panhead motorcycle which was turned into an authentic bobber.
It is important to note that “The Wild One” which had a great impact in spreading motorcycle passion and the bobber style, attracted a lot of attention from Triumph’s American distributer Johnson Motors and was banned in England until 1968 because it contained the motorcycle gang “Black Rebels”.
Bobbers continuously evolved its form while bringing simplicity to perfection and it was able to find its way into the 70s. During those times, motorcycle owners were not satisfied with only removing the excess materials so they started to remove some of the essential elements as well. Therefore the English word for cutting “chop” gave its name to a new style the “choppers”.
“Captain America” with its long and bent front fork, high handlebars, small gas tank, front headlight and exaggerated muffler pipe, shaped the style of the choppers. The movie’s producers wanted to sign in Harley Davidson for “Easy Rider” however the company declined saying that the image of their brand might be jeopardized.,
Making A Difference with “Ape Hanger”
Whether it is bobbers or choppers, the lack of the front bumper enables the front wheel to be any size. Nowadays, bobber motorcycles are usually used with big and slim front wheels and thick back wheels. High handlebars called “Ape Hangers” which attract most of our attention, are also quite popular. Even though Bobber style has been through many changes over the years, the unnecessary parts are still being removed. This quality, enables bobber motorcycles to be manufactured easier at a lesser cost and helps motorcycle owners reflect their personalities onto their bikes.
As a way of its drivers to express themselves, in the first years of its birth, bobbers were usually assembled by their owners in small workshops or garages. The level of creativity of its makers directly reflected the outcome of the motorcycles.
Nowadays the passion for bobbers, which had started at the end of WWII in the U.S. , has turned into a huge industry. These amazing motorcycles, which are now created by professional designers and engineers, are being sold at jaw-dropping prices.