Bobber Motorcycle For Sale

There are certain vintage esthetics that never truly go out of style. This fact could be what is driving a new focus on the so-called "bobber" motorcycles. Bobber motorcycles are stock bikes with most of their excess parts or decor stripped away or hand modified by the owner or rider. The resulting aesthetic is a leather-jacket-appropriate, old-school look favored by many street-riding purists.

The name supposedly came from the pre-WWII motorcycle fans who were part of the cut-down and bob-job movements, which required that riders remove fenders and other necessary components to look cool. Their bobbed motorcycles typically had a shortened rear and a lower than average weight. 

Bobber Motorcycle Buyer’s Guide

These days, bobber motorcycles are manufactured straight off the line to provoke the prewar aesthetic described above. Minimalism and a “rough around the edges” vibe is ideal, but these subjective attributes can mean different things to different people. As a result, manufacturers often have differing ideas about what constitutes a bobber motorcycle beyond the basics, such as stripping off unnecessary parts and maintaining a relatively short frame.

A big part of bobber motorcycling is modifying your machine. If you are a newcomer to riding, you might want to look elsewhere. If you have plenty of experience and want to buy a bobber motorcycle that you can work on as a side hobby, look for one that fits your initial aesthetic rather than trying to find the “perfect” bobber. You will be able to construct the perfect bike over time with your own sweat and elbow grease.

Things To Look For When Buying A Used Motorcycle

Many motorcyclists looking for a great bobber will opt for used bikes they can tinker with - a homage to the spirit of the original prewar movement. While this could be a great idea and an excellent way to engage with your hobby even more deeply, you might want to keep your eye out for a few trouble spots to ensure you don’t walk away disappointed.

  • Check the wheels. If the wheels are standard, make sure they still run free of chains, mudguards, and other similar components. If there are existing frame alterations, ensure that they are minor, like lower seat rails, so that you can make additional adjustments later.
  • Speaking of which, take a hard look at the welds and fabrication of the bike to make sure that it will be comfortable and run smoothly. Some modifications are performed by nonspecialists who shouldn’t be allowed near a shop.
  • Examine the wiring harness to make sure it isn’t hacked or cut. After all, you presumably want a bike with working lights.
  • If your bobber motorcycle is an older model, unscrew the gas cap and check for rust. Naturally, check the other metal parts as well for possible signs of corrosive damage or structural instability.
  • Turn the bike on before you buy. Most used bobbers are loud, partially because they integrate short air cleaners that look great but aren’t as efficient as longer cleaners. Listen to the bike after turning it on and consider taking it for a ride around the neighborhood. If it picks up cleanly and sounds appropriate, you are good to go.

Where Can You Buy A Bobber Motorcycle?

As a result of their old-school appeal, bobber motorcycles can be found at classic dealerships, especially several Harley-Davidson dealers, and at used bike shops. In fact, bobber motorcycles are often more popular used than new ones. There are tons of online marketplaces and listings where you can find bobber motorcycles at various price points. 

Websites like CycleTrader are ideal places to find a used bobber that fits your aesthetic preferences and budget limits. But keep in mind that, like all motorcycle purchases, you have to transport your bike to your home one way or another.

So, consider focusing on bobber motorcycles relatively close to your geographic area. CycleTrader and alternative online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace usually include filters for these purposes. With luck, your bobber inspection will go well, and maybe you will be able to ride your bobber home.

Before you go, let us take a look at the prices you can expect when you plan to buy a new, top-of-the-line bobber modeled after this evocative style or purchase a used bike from someone else.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobbers

This Italian manufacturer offers a new V9 bobber model featuring fat tires, stubby pipes, and thin, narrow seating to evoke the bobber style that bikers are always looking for. The V9 Bobber is darker and chunkier than its classic V9 counterpart, with black accents and chopped fenders. New versions of this bobber bike will run you close to $10,500, but you can find used motorcycles for just $7,000 in certain areas.

Yamaha Bolt Bobbers

Yamaha’s Bolt Bobber motorcycles are designed as urban performance bobbers, mixing the classic bobber aesthetic with reliability and great mileage for city riding. In our opinion, the new versions of these bikes need a little tinkering to truly evoke the bobber style. You can pick up a Yamaha Bolt for $8,000 by default, or you can spend another $400 for a better-equipped R-spec variant. Or save even more money and get a Bolt Bobber for $5,000 in used condition.

Harley-Davidson Street Bobbers

Harley-Davidson and bobbers seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. Their Street Bob motorcycle is one of the most basic and minimalist platforms you can get, featuring little more than a frame, a seat, wheels, and an engine. It is small, nimble, and evokes the bobber silhouette you are looking for. New models can be purchased for $14,549, or you can get a used Street Bob for close to $6,000

Indian Scout Bobbers

Indian motorcycles have only recently begun to be manufactured again. Indian motorcycles are as old-fashioned as they come, so they combine well with the bobber style. The Scout Bobber Sixty is an excellent choice for bobber motorcyclists who want it all in a small package: a compact 1000cc engine, 70 hp, a simple black paint job, and a basic headlight.

New Scout Bobbers can be picked up for $9,000. Unfortunately, and possibly because of this bike’s rarity, used platforms are only available around the same price or more due to modifications.

Triumph Bobbers

Triumph’s line of bobbers, which include the Bonneville and Black, are comfortable and classic from start to finish, featuring a floating solo seat, tire hugging fenders, and short pipes. Regardless of the exact motorcycle you choose, you will benefit from high torque and a liquid-cooled 1200cc motor. 

New Triumph bobbers start around $12,000, but you can find used motorcycles for about $10,000.