What Is A Bobber Motorcycle – Bobber vs Chopper

Max torque, power delivery, and top-notch performance. Any motorbike enthusiast would look for these traits in a bike. But most, if not all, street beasts now sacrifice their weight for speed. 

And here’s where bikes like bobbers enter the scene, shedding off all “unnecessary” bells and whistles for faster paces. The question is: what makes a motorcycle a bobber? How does it differ from standard bikes, and is it possible to custom it at home?

As usual, keep scrolling through our guides for the answer you need. 

What Is A Bobber Motorcycle? How It Differs From Chopper 

1. What Makes A Motorcycle A Bobber?

Bobbers (whose original names were “bob-jobs” till the 1990s) are a special type of customized motorcycle. The basic concept is to take a standard bike and strip it off excess bodywork, rear fenders, front fenders, and other extra parts

Headlights, mirrors, and other chrome components will be removed; handlebars and seats are also adjusted to cut down some pounds. What is left is a bobbed bike at minimum weight – lighter, faster, and even more personalized. 

You can expect to travel at 60-80 MPH.

2. Are Bobbers Legal?

Yes, even with such modifications. But some US states will ask you to leave some parts on, such as brake lights and turn signals.

3. Are They Comfortable To Ride? Their Pros & Cons

Yes, in short rides. The upright sitting position, coupled with the low handlebars, will form a rather comfortable riding posture at first. But you will soon get fatigued in that position, and riding through windy roads will tire you out due to greater air resistance.


  • Lighter o handle
  • Higher ratio of power to weight and faster
  • Easy to handle, suitable for beginners
  • Customizable for personal touches


  • Not popular, hard to find models
  • No pillion
  • Not the best fit for long, windy rides
  • Not for tall riders due to the low seat height
  • More pricey

Are Bobbers The Same As Choppers?


The word “chopper” appeared about 31 years after the invention of bob-jobs. Street bob jobs and choppers are clearly different, then – but to what extent? 

bobber vs chopper

In simple terms, choppers are more technically and stylistically extreme evolutions of bob-jobs – inspired by heavily chromed bobbers around the 1950s. While the idea behind their construction is similar (upgrades of standard bikes), note down some notable differences between them:


  • Original bobbers are built around fixed/unmodified/stock frames.
  • Choppers use custom-made and highly modified frames, welded and cut into shapes.


  • Factory bobbers, as previously explained, undergo “bob jobs.” Their extraneous parts are removed to support weight reduction and overall simplicity. Creating them from stock motorcycle options is a piece of cake. 
  • Meanwhile, some chopper features actually DECREASE the device’s braking, handling, and safety levels (instead of improving them). We can say choppers are more involved with styles than performances. 


  • The bike’s original form is the biggest driving force for a traditional bob job. You may swap certain parts, sure (ex: turning the front fender for a Harley FL and running the bike on rears), but in most cases, bobbers are just standard bikes with general stock features removed or adjusted. 
  • On the other hand, riders install and set up more add-ons for choppers, to the point that they turn out completely different from the original design. 

Stock Wheels, Saddles, and Springer Forks:

  • Instead of front wheels with large diameters like choppers, traditional bobbers prefer wheels of similar sizes to the rims.
  • Riders like to install spring saddles for scout bobber – which is not a compulsory feature for choppers due to their extended sissy pipes. 
  • Both custom bikes use covered forks, but choppers have them mounted at higher rakes in the triple trees to push the wheels forward more easily. 
  • While choppers prefer chrome features and glossy paintings, bobbers enjoy flat paint with several rusty parts (they are intentional, by the way, to give the bike a more vintage look). 

Keys to Purchasing Good Bobbers

bobber bike

1. Talk to Experienced Bobber Experts/Enthusiasts

Have you never bought bobbers before? It would be best to turn to professional/expert help for these investments; that way, you will not need to question your purchase decision later. Find an enthusiast/expert that has made or ridden these bikes for long periods.

These people can tell you how bobbers differ from other bikes and factors you should keep an eye on. And do not hesitate to reveal your current riding experience and affordable price ranges; they might also help you navigate specific base models to satisfy those preferences.

2. Find A Minimalist Style That Suits You

Once all fundamental aspects of your dream bobber (ex: fuel efficiency, horsepower, etc.) have been settled, it’s time to concentrate on its overall aesthetics. 

Who doesn’t want to show off their beloved vehicle, right? It doesn’t hurt to find a visually gorgeous bike that makes everyone fall in love at first sight. 

Thankfully, many styles of custom motorcycle scenes are available; they vary based on their manufacturer’s style and what era they were produced. We suggest visiting motorbike dealers in person (rather than through online websites) and viewing the lineup thoroughly. Trust us; you can spot one that you like in a blink!

3. Ensure It Has Comfortable Seats and Every Feature You Need

For those intending to use bobbers every day (ex: going to work or school), guarantee that the seats offer maximum comfort. Two factors are at play: the materials and the overall shapes. 

Still, theories and empty words are no use; it’s something you must actually test and try out by yourself. Sit on varied models and products to figure out what can work best. 

On another note, even bobbers of the same categories can be further broken down into smaller groups due to differences in design and weight. 

Do your research to identify all the features you want most in a motorcycle; only then can you turn out victorious after the shopping experience.

How to Build A Bobber If You Do Not Want to Buy It 

Rather build the bobber yourself instead of spending days scouring through motorbike shops? Your bike, your choice; here is a detailed guide on how to do just that! 

Step 1. Find a Stock Bike

Start looking for a motorcycle you wish to customize. While many bike options can fit this project, we suggest choosing retro bikes. Their vintage design is charming, and most bike parts are easily removed, too. 

Step 2. Apply Some Touches

Start the transformation by removing unnecessary components. To each their own, but here are a few recommendations:

  • Change the stock seats

You can replace or modify them into shorter, lighter versions that resemble board-tracking race motorbikes in the 90s. Sounds cool, right? 

Many experienced riders make the adjustments themselves, but if you do not feel confident in your skills (the reason you are reading this article in the first place), play on the safer side by purchasing bobber seats at physical or online stores.

  • Change the front/rear shocks

Shorten them – or remove them if you want. This task is important for efficient weight reduction of the bike. Not to mention, some street laws do require bobbers or vintage bikes to satisfy certain weight criteria. 

  • Change the stock handlebar.

Remove and replace them with more compact/smaller ones. The bike visual will enjoy tremendous improvements!

  • Remove the mufflers and change the bike’s exhaust system.

Here comes the critical step to set bobbers from other bikes. Modifying these compartments will enhance the engine’s sound output, producing ear-catching noises that boost the bike’s classy feel. 

One thing to worry about, though: Some countries (especially the U.S.) forbade riders from modifying their bike’s sounds. Not to mention, the engine performance might also suffer from technical issues once the mufflers are removed. 

So weigh the pros and cons: ask yourself whether these changes are worth all the repair hassles that might follow. 


1. What Is The Difference Between A Bobber And A Cruiser?

While cruisers are geared towards long, winding rides with larger engines and heavier profiles, bobbers aim at lightweight and high speed for short trips.

2. Why Bobber Is Called A Bobber

The moniker comes from its “bob-jobs.”

3. Is A Sportster A Bobber?

No, but you can easily transform a Sportster into a bobber.


Though seeming a little weird at first hearing, the definition of bobber motorcycles is actually pretty straightforward. No complex compartments or features are involved; remove everything unnecessary or overweighted off your standard bike, and you have a compact, simplistic yet stylish bobber to ride on weekends.

Since these bikes are customized vehicles, there’s no need to buy them at motorcycle stores. Tips to build one at home by yourself are provided – easy for even beginners. Trace along our guides carefully and ensure all proper tools are at hand!

See more: What Is A Liter Bike?

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Daniel Barker


Daniel Barker was introduced to racing in 2006 when he experienced his first track day on his Suzuki sv650. With more than 15 years of experience on his track. Daniel is known as for his high-energy riding, drifting, precision stoppies and technical riding ability on virtually any motorcycle.

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