Looking for a new adventure? Time to hit the open road on a brand new bike!
But don’t immediately opt for a stock motorcycle; instead, consider one of the elegant, custom-made “bobber motorcycles” that give you the stripped-down, ultra-cool look you’ve been dreaming of.
Below, we’ve collected a list of the best bobber motorcycles you can buy in 2022, but before we get to that selection, it’s worth taking a few moments to talk about what the heck a bobber motorcycle is, what separates them from “stock” bikes, and how you can actually make your own.
By the end of this page, you’ll know everything you need to know to A) DIY a custom-job bobber motorcycle, or B) find the right bobber bike to suit your needs.
What is a Bobber Motorcycle?
The term “bobber” comes from “bob-job”, a slang word used to describe custom work done on a motorcycle by someone who is not a motorcycle engineer or mechanic.
The practice began in the 1920s, when people began cutting extraneous parts off the Harley Davidson J-series V-Twin motorcycle. This was done to give the aging motorcycle a fashion upgrade, as well as to improve its performance. Not only did removing all the extra parts make the bike lighter, but it created a lower, shorter machine that got a lot more oomph out of its existing motor.
However, the first “official” bob-jobs only appeared in the mid-1930s. Modders stripped down bigger, heavier bikes to create their own custom race bikes similar to Harley Davidson’s WR and WLDR or the Indian Daytona Scout.
By the 1940s, following World War II, soldiers returning from the war had learned a lot of mechanic skills, skills that allowed them to customize their own bikes. Modifications became a common practice over the next few decades, including striking paint jobs, raised handlebars, smaller gas tanks, and upturned exhaust pipes.
The term “bobber” only came into existence in the 1990s, when motorcycle manufacturers began producing their own road-going bob-jobs, including “retro-bobbers” and “bobber choppers”.
Features of a Bobber Motorcycle
There is no “one size fits all” approach to bob-jobs, so there is no single list of features that make up bobber motorcycles. However, a few of the more standard modifications include:
- Removing the front fender
- Removing excess accessories
- Shortening the rear
- Lowering the seat tube
- Shortening the wheelbase
- Adding wild paint jobs
- Modifying the seats
- Switching out the tail and headlights
The beauty of bobbers is that even the ones you can buy direct from manufacturers (as you’ll see by our list below) can all still be modded and customized further. As long as you’re cutting off/stripping down parts, you’ll be living the spirit of the bobber motorcycle right.
Can You Make Your Own Bobber Motorcycle?
What made bobber motorcycles so popular throughout most of the 1900s was the fact that they could be made. Hobbyists and mechanics (both amateur and expert) were able to take stock bikes and strip them down, removing anything they considered excess and customizing them to their own preferences.
That can still be done with a lot of the motorcycles on the market today. If you have the skills at welding and mechanics, you can totally customize a stock bike to your liking. Removing the excess parts and adding your own custom parts can be pricey, but a great passion project or weekend hobby.
Or, if you’re not skilled at the manual labor part of the customization process, you can hire a bike shop to do it for you. Many specialize in bob-jobs, producing stripped-down, custom-made motorcycles that will definitely fit into the category of “bobber motorcycle”. The price will often be higher, but if you’ve got the money to spend, it’s definitely a good way to ensure your investment (in the bike as well as the mods) is protected.
But if you don’t have the skills or time to build your own bobber motorcycle or the money to hire a bike shop for custom work, here are a few road-worthy bobber motorcycles you can buy ready-to-ride right now!
Best Bobber Motorcycles You Can Buy
- What is a Bobber Motorcycle?
- Best Bobber Motorcycles You Can Buy
- Harley Davidson Street Bob
- Yamaha Bolt R-Spec
- VEITIS EV-TWIN
- MAEVING RM1
- Indian Scout Bobber Sixty
- Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883
- CCM Bobber Stealth
- CLEVELAND CYCLEWERKS HEIST
- Triumph Bonneville Bobber
- HONDA REBEL 1100
- Indian Scout Bobber
- CCM SPITFIRE BOBBER
- Curtiss One
- Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber
- Kawasaki Vulcan S
You wouldn’t typically think of Harley Davidson when thinking about stripped-down bikes, because Harley loves to trick out their choppers with ALL the bells and whistles. But the Street Bob is actually a surprisingly good bobber motorcycle, with just the basic components (seat, engine, frame, and wheels) and not a whole lot more.
The engine is the Milwaukee-Eight 114, which packs a punch in its own right, and the minimalist build takes full advantage of its power. It’s beautifully nimble and zippy, and not to mention just plain beautiful, too, complete with tight fenders, solo seat, and heightened handlebars. Best of all, you can customize it just the way you want it, and it’s got a wonderfully relaxed look that complements the bobber style.
- Engine: Milwaukee-Eight 114
- Power: 119 ft-lb of torque
- Weight: 655 lb.
Yamaha brings an urban-ready bobber to the market with the Bolt R-Spec, which honestly serves as a worthy rival to the Sportster, thanks to its air-cooled motor, short fenders, compact chassis, and solo seat. The price tag is wonderfully affordable and you’ve got plenty of customization options right off the factory floor. Granted, it could use a bit more modding to really complete the bobber look and feel, but it’s an excellent addition to our list given its power and design.
With a 942cc air cooled V-twin engine, it can race down city streets and up highways with equal ease, though the torque is generated chiefly in the low to mid-ranges. It’s definitely priced and built well enough to be a solid starter bike for anyone just looking to get on two wheels and hit the open road. It’s an authentic Japanese bike that will handle and run well for years to come.
- Engine: 942cc air-cooled SOHC V-twin
- Power: 65 HP and 59 lb-ft of torque
- Weight: 542 lbs.
If you want max minimalism right out of the gate, you’ll want to take a closer look at Veitis’ EV-Twin bike. Unlike so many of the others on our list, this is an electric bike, meaning it’s economical to despite the higher price tag. However, it still packs a nice wallop when it comes to roaring down the open road at full throttle.
The bike is hand-built, modeled after the framework of the 1948 BSA Bantam, and pairs sturdy Ceriani forks with Reynolds high-tensile 631 tubing in the construction of the swing-arm and frame. The result is a bike that weighs less and packs more power, capable of reaching 70 MPH easily. You’ll love the 100-mile range on the electric motor, and the quick recharge time (less than four hours). And, just by looking at it, you could never tell it was electric-powered, because it resembles every classic bobber bike you know and love. If you want to “go green” and avoid the rising prices of fuel, it’s a good option to consider.
- Engine: 11kw electric engine (comparable to 125 cc)
- Power: 66 ft-lbs. of torque
- Weight: 165 kg
Why have just one electric motorcycle on our list when you can have two? This lovely little bike is built by hand in the UK, made to be incredibly lightweight and zippy. Sure, the motor doesn’t exactly pack a huge punch, the range may only be 40 miles on a single battery (though you can double it by installing a second in the provided space), and your top speed will only be 45 MPH, but it’s a great eco-friendly buy for anyone who loves the look of a bobber motorcycle and wants to keep their purchase costs low.
Fortunately, the removable battery pack can be charged in any outlet, no special hardware or electrical wiring needed. The look is also exactly what you want in a minimalist-style bobber motorcycle; just the frame, seat, engine, wheels, and handles, no fluff or frills. You’ll love both the stripped-down look and easy handling of this newbie-friendly bike for sure.
- Engine: PMAC Motor
- Power: 160 Nm maximum
- Weight: 216 lbs.
The Indian Scout Bobber is one of the classic bobber motorcycles, with the Sixty model being the most affordable of their options. With a 1,000 cc engine, five-speed transmission, and around 77 hp, you’ve got just enough bike to get you anywhere you need to go in style even if you’re testing out your first bike. It’s also a great bike to lend to your lady friends/partners, because the smooth power delivery makes for a sleek ride and the low seat is beautifully comfortable.
The look is classic bobber, complete with a naked headlight, simple black paint job, and tidy rear-end. However, the pipes may be a bit on the overdone side, so consider getting them cut back to really complete the minimalist look. For the price and power, you won’t find many more reliable options than Indian Scout.
- Engine: 1000cc liquid cooled V-twin
- Power: 77 hp
- Weight: 549 lbs
The Sportster has been one of Harley Davidson’s most popular sellers for decades, thanks to its minimal look and compact design. The 883 comes off the factory floor ready to ride, but a few modifications will turn it into a true bobber bike, with the aesthetic and flair to match—including a compact tank, chopped fenders, and tall wheels. Not only is it affordable, but it serves as a great “blank canvas” to start stripping down parts to go for true minimalism.
But the bike doesn’t offer just great looks; the air cooled Evolution engine packs a serious punch and will have you ripping along at top speeds of just over 105 MPH. Compared to a lot of the other bikes on our list, it’s a well-priced entrant into the world of bobber motorcycles.
- Engine: 883cc Air cooled Evolution engine
- Power: 54 ft-lb of torque
- Weight: 564 lbs.
CCM has made its bones as one of the best-known and best-loved motorcycle brands in the world, so it’s no surprise that this model makes it onto our list. The CCM Bobber Stealth brings the style for sure: bronze chrome powder-coated frame, black fuel tank with bronze detail stripes, carbon fiber headlight cowl, black-walled Avon Cobra tires, bronze anodized forks, and a gloss black rear mudguard, complete with bronze stripe.
But the bike isn’t just about looks; it also packs a 600c 1.8-liter engine and a 6-speed gearbox that brings some serious zip. With a fuel economy of around roughly 56 MPG, it’s a fairly economical bobber that doesn’t skimp on power. Just be prepared to pay a slightly higher price for the stylish finish.
- Engine: 600cc
- Power: 58 Nm @ 5,500 RPM
- Weight: 135kg
If there’s one thing all bobber motorcycle enthusiasts can agree on, it’s that the Heist by CCW is a true masterpiece of craftsmanship. Though on the smaller side, it uses a Chinese made air cooled 229cc single piston engine that can push the bike all the way up to 70 MPH—a surprisingly good top speed given its compact size and light weight. Just don’t expect the bike to pack too many ponies.
The fact that the bike is assembled in the U.S. means you’ve got plenty of options for customization using easily available parts, including unique accessories available nowhere else in the world. It’s nimble, handles like a dream, has a seat low enough for any rider, gets great fuel economy, and, best of all, doesn’t break the bank. Now that’s a bike you can love!
- Engine: Air cooled 229cc single piston
- Power: 15 hp
- Weight: 291 lbs.
Harley may have been the first mainstream manufacturer to mass-produce bobbers, but Triumph was the brand that really made them popular. Since its release in 2017, the Bonneville Bobber has become a well-known and easily identifiable staple around the UK and US both, thanks to its low-slung style, powerful 1200cc engine, 77 HP, and 78 ft-lbs of torque. Though its got all the hallmarks of the bobber style, it handles like a much larger bike, with all the zoom you want for those week-long road trips and weekend getaways.
One major selling point of the Bobber is the floating single seat, which lets you choose from three positions to adapt to your ride preferences. Between the multiple handlebar options and wide variety of Triumph accessories, it’s a bike popular among modders who want the best-looking stock bike to customize to perfection.
- Engine: 1200cc water cooled parallel twin engine
- Power: 77 HP and 78 ft-lbs of torque
- Weight: 553.4 lbs
The Rebel may have been around for more than 40 years, but that doesn’t mean it’s outdated. On the contrary, Honda has kept its models as modern and tech-forward as you’d hope for from the leading Japanese bike-maker, which puts the Rebel 1100 as one of the best bobber motorcycles on the market by a longshot.
The Rebel 1100 comes with a workhorse of a 1084cc engine, similar to the one used on the Africa Twin model, packing sufficient power for both long-range travel and cruising around town in style. The bobber aesthetic is instantly visible thanks to the all-black paint job and stripped-down look, and it’s got plenty of attitude even right off the factory floor, pre-mods. Given its price tag, it’s one of the best options for a rider who wants the perfect sweet spot between affordability and real power.
- Engine: 1084cc engine
- Power: 98 Nm @ 4750 rpm
- Weight: Up to 509.3 lbs
The Indian Scout Bobber model retails at less than the Bobber Twenty and more than the Bobber Sixty, making it the perfect “mid-range” bobber motorcycle. Features include a liquid-cooled 1,133cc V-twin engine, six-speed transmission, a maximum of 100 hp, electronic fuel injection, and the same construction (wheelbase, basic lines, wheels, and brakes) as the Indian Scout.
ABS brakes are optional (an affordable upgrade), and you can opt for other tech-centric bells and whistles (like concealed USB charging port) that will make it more cutting-edge without compromising the minimalist aesthetic. If you’ve been wanting a Scout for years but prefer the bobber style, this is your dream bike for sure.
- Engine: Liquid-cooled 1,133cc V-twin
- Power: 97 Nm @ 5600 rpm
- Weight: 553.4 lbs.
The Spitfire Bobber, like all CCM bikes, is handmade, a “boutique” luxury product that’s got a price tag and lifespan to match. The tubular frames are artisan hand-TIG-welded, which gives it strength enough to house the 600c fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine that BMW originally made for rival manufacturer Husqvarna’s TE630 model.
What makes the Spitfire Bobber such a worthy addition to our list is that only 500 were ever made. Yes, that’s right, this is a “limited edition” bike that only grows more valuable with each passing year. Not only does it embody the spirit and flair of the bobber motorcycle, but it’s a masterpiece of craftsmanship, complete with hand-welded swing-arm, USD Marzocchi fork, YSS mono-shock, a low-slung dual-can exhaust system, and a tractor-style seat that will keep you nestled in comfort for hours of riding.
- Engine: 600c fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine
- Power: 55HP & 42.7 ft-lbs.
- Weight: 297 lbs.
The Curtiss One is quite unlike any of the other bikes on our list. While it handles like your favorite bobber bike, it’s built more in the vein of aircraft (or spacecraft) than from the modern bikes sharing the road today. It combines aerospace-style engineering with a sleek, stylish look that pairs perfectly with the tech-forward electric engine.
The bike is only produced in limited quantities—just 300 units produced—and is ready to be customized right off the assembly line. It also packs some pretty impressive features: state-of-the-art powertrain, horizontally mounted rear shock system, Kineo tubeless spoked wheels, fang-style front fork, bottom-mounted cantilevered bullet-style battery, and a silver-and-black look that enhances the many carbon fiber elements. The end result: a true masterpiece of craftsmanship, and a bike you’ll love riding anywhere and everywhere.
- Engine: Axial Flux YASA P400
- Power: 110HP & 147.5 ft-lbs.
- Weight: 425 lbs.
2020 was a good year for the Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber, a year of upgrades to both the design and components. The single seat makes it more comfortable for a solo rider, and switches from “bar hopper” aesthetic to the true bobber look. It doesn’t quite complete the minimalist look—there are still a few too much fluff and flair—but at the end of the day, it deserves its place on our list because it’s at least trying to be a bobber bike.
The bike packs some power in the air cooled 853cc transversal V-twin engine, rolling along on 130/90 and 150/80 16-inch tires that make it feel larger and more solid than the Roamer model. For those who prefer the Italian-style bike to the classic US or Japanese-made bobbers, this is a solid investment that you won’t regret.
- Engine: Air cooled 853cc transversal V-twin
- Power: 73 Nm at 5000 RPM
- Weight: 462.9 lbs
Last on our list, but far from the least, is the Kawasaki Vulcan S, a Japanese-built bike designed specifically to encourage bobber enthusiasts to give the legendary Vulcan a try. The blacked-out, minimalist style is definitely what you’re looking for, but it’s got all the power you want, too, including a ER6n parallel twin engine that generates 61 horsepower. Shorter riders will be thrilled by the 705mm seat height, and newbies will find that the Vulcan S handles like a dream—just the right amount of zip without being too powerful to keep under control.
It may not offer as many customization options as Triumph or Harley, but it’s likely more affordable, and you know Kawazaki is a brand that prides itself on reliability and durability.
- Engine: 649cc Ninja®-derived engine
- Power: 62.4Nm @ 6600 rpm
- Weight: 496.1 lbs.