History of Bobbers
Before Choppers…there were Bobbers.
In the early 1920s, motorcycle enthusiasts who were way ahead of their time took Harley J models and created “California Cut-Downs,” which are considered by many to be the precursor to the bobber. Cut-Downs literally had cut down frames, which made them the first compact and customized motorcycles in American history.
During World War II, many soldiers became infatuated with the lightweight bikes seen in Europe. When they arrived back in the US after the war, they began to revolutionize motorcycle clubs with their newfound perspective. Stripping down bikes and bobbing the fenders to create that sleek, streamlined look was the first order of business.
There was a certain rebel element about breaking a bike down into its simplest parts and riding on its bare bones. These customized bikes became an icon in society, representing innovation, non-conformity, sexual revolution, speed, danger, individualism and uncensored self-expression. The combination of clean, easy lines, factory components and the builder’s own personal perspective was, and still is, an invigorating experience.
Marlon Brando, in the movie The Wild Ones, along with Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda in the movie Easy Rider certainly left their imprints on the bobber trail. Rebels with a cause, they couldn’t have been more influential in the progression of the bobber chopper movement in American society. Captain America, ride on.
By the early 60's and 70's, motorcycle enthusiasts were dismantling every bit of the bike that was not absolutely necessary. Literally, pieces of the bike were chopped off; hence the nickname “choppers.” Rake and trail went through the roof and non-essentials such as crash and sissy bars, headlights and windshields said their final farewells. Pinpointed high beams, ape bars, raised front tires and minimized gas tanks all became standard dress for the bobber chopper. This was the age of the slender front tire and beefy back tire of the Fat Bastard.
The recent chopper craze is swiftly being replaced with a massive fall back on traditional bobber style. Many would argue that when it comes to rideability, the bobber is full speed ahead of the chopper.
As history has trudged on its way, the bobber exploded into the scene with a power never seen before, then mellowed out to allow the chopper its 15 minutes of fame. Today, we are seeing the fire of the bobber scene only get hotter. It’s the perfect blend of old time tradition, state-of-the-art materials and a passionate fury to create the ultimate ride.
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Old School Bobbers