Which bike makes the best bobber? The 7 best motorcycles to build a bobber

February 09, 2021

Which bike makes the best bobber? The 7 best motorcycles to build a bobber


Realistically, you can turn any motorcycle into a bobber. It depends entirely on your budget and what you want to get out of it. For this article, I will focus on the type of motorcycle and the model you will find in the classified ads. But what exactly makes a good donor?

The base you will choose will impact the modifications to be made and the parts to be changed.

The closer the motorcycle is in the mind of a bobber, the less important the modifications can be.

The further the philosophy of the basic motorcycle is from the bobber, the more important the work will be.


What type of motorcycle to turn to? 

Concerning the type of motorcycle used, the "custom" models are the models predestined for bobber preparations


Photo: KAWASAKI VN 1500 CLASSIC  source: moto-station




 Indeed, the shape of the customs is close to that of the bobber and many parts can be used in the preparation.

The second type of donor motorcycle that can be used are the roadsters of the 70's, 80's because the manufacturing is simple and they can be modified quite simply. 


Photo: Yamaha XS650  source: classic-motorbikes.net

We forget about sport bikes for this kind of realization because they are of the same essence or will produce very original bobbers.

It is the same with enduro motorcycles, the work and modifications are important before reaching a correct result.

The 7 best motorcycles to build a bobber

Which brand and models to turn to?  Here is a selection of ideal models to build a bobber. 


1. BSA 650

British motorcycles from the 60s and 70s make excellent donors. They have the right lines as standard, but unfortunately they have been completely restored. Or they are offered as they were found, straight out of the barn and going for ridiculous money. The Triumph Twins and BSA 500 and 650 are always a good bet, but the Norton Commandos have insulated engine mounts that could potentially make frame modifications more complicated.

Here is a 1970 BSA650: 


source: https://british-classic-motorcycles.co.uk/


And here is a bobber on a BSA650:

bsa 650 bobber

Source:  http://www.britbike.com


On this preparation, many original parts have been preserved and this base breathes the bobber identity, a motorcycle reduced to simplicity and terribly attractive. 




2. Harley-Davidson Softail 

Harley are an obvious answer here as well. It is the essence of bobbers and choppers.

Harley FXSTBI Night Train

Source: motorcyclespecs.co.za

A Harley is the basis for a bobber and this is largely due to its famous V-Twin and its inimitable sound. 

And here it is modified: 

harley bobber



To stay with Harley but on a more affordable budget, there is the Sportster that has proven itself over the years.

Which, in reality, only leaves us with Japanese motorcycles. And there are many of them and good bills in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

As for which brand and model to choose, it's purely a matter of personal taste. Remember that single-cylinder and twin-cylinder motorcycles like the Yamaha XS650, Honda CB450, Suzuki 650 Savage and Yamaha SR500 are classics in their own right. You'll need a lot of luck to find one that's a little expensive.


3. Yamaha XS650

Source: mikesxs


We saw previously the original version, here is now a superb creation of Motoshop Tonouchi:

xs650 bobber

Source: bikeexif

Honda and Suzuki's mid-range four-cylinder models are always reliable horses and you'll find cheap models on classified ad sites. You'll also find Yamaha Viragos, Suzuki 250s, Twin 400s and Kawasaki LTD 550s and 750s, all of which are good budget builders.


4. Suzuki Savage

LS650 Suzuki Savage - Boulevard S40

Source: panzerriders

The Suzuki Savage (aka LS 650 or Suzuki Boulevard S40), produced from 1986 to 2004, is equipped with a large single-cylinder engine and has an attractive price. It is a model appreciated by tuners. 

savage bobber
Source: Ryca Motors

The result here of a kit that was proposed by Ryca for this model. It's a success!


5. Honda Shadow / Steed

The famous Honda cruiser initially developed for the US market has been a remarkable success. It is therefore quite natural to find it in amateur or professional tuners in the form of bobbers. 

honda shadow

Source: wikimedia


This model is popular with Remmotorcycle customers because we offer different products for this model. 

  shadow bobber

Here is a prepared version from one of the customers of remmotorcycle.co who used the Peanut tank with 8 cm tunnel and the pipe and carburettor kit to change the position of this one in a Harley way. 



6. Yamaha Virago

While Honda offered the Shadow in different versions, Yamaha did the same with the no less famous Virago from 125 to 1100 cc.

Here it is presented below in a 125cc version which is still very popular.

virago 125

Source: moto-station

This one is found in abundance on the classifieds site and at all prices.

It is a base often used in the project of realization of a bobber.

virago bobber

And here is a very accomplished preparation where the basic model becomes hardly recognizable. 



7. Royal Enfield Bullet 500

After having seen rather common and abundant motorcycles, let's come back to a rarer and more exclusive motorcycle: The Royal Enfield Bullet 500.

Source: gaadiwaadi.com

Preparing this type of motorcycle is a sacrilege for some, an honor for others, but the result attests to it. Preparing a rare motorcycle, making it unique allows to transform this type of motorcycle into an artwork

Source: Youtube

This bike has a soul. A bobber preparation suits it so well... 



By selecting a cruiser or an old roadster you are on the right way to make a bobber. As for what makes a good donor. Take a step back from the bike and stare at it. If you focus on the fuel tank and admire its vanishing lines, chances are you've found it. We've provided you with different models to inspire you. But remember, there are no rules in customization, only your rules.





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