5 Of The Best Bobber Style Motorcycles You Can Buy Today

The bobber motorcycle is a cultural icon in the American motoring community. Launched in the 1920s, the concept of bobbing a motorcycle began as a means to strip away unnecessary features of the vehicle that didn't add to performance. Removing forward fairings, stripping away heavy chrome components, and even removing lights and mirrors became commonplace for motorcycle owners seeking to create the ultimate ride. However, many individual customizers lacked the technical know-how to enact a truly high quality "bob-job."

This would change in the 1940s. Bobber style rides became more popular alongside a surge of returning servicemen who had ridden stripped down vehicles purpose-built for military service, and had the requisite skill to perform these alterations with precision. 

Bobbers are typically a stripped down affair: They make use of minimal aesthetic design, and prioritize speed and handling modifications over all else. Today, bobber motorcycles can be purchased directly from manufacturers, including Moto Guzzi and Harley-Davidson, among many others.

Harley-Davidson Street Bob

Kicking things off with a modern classic, the Harley-Davidson Street Bob was the first bobber style motorcycle offered by a mainstream motorcycle outlet. It set the tone for what a motorcycle with vintage style and contemporary fixtures could and should be in the U.S.

Harley-Davidson's 2023 Street Bob offers the combination of an upright riding position, mixed with a low seat height for ultimate comfort and a classic Harley riding experience. The bike incorporates an adequate passenger seat so that a friend or loved one can join you on the road, too.

The Street Bob includes mirrors and a headlight, of course, but these features are both minimalistic in their sizing and aesthetic, giving riders the toned down experience they're seeking in a bobber bike. There's no forward fairings on the motorcycle either, allowing for the sleek lines of the engine components and silhouette of the seating configuration to do most of the visual work.

Performance-wise, the Street Bob is built off the brand's iconic Softail frame, and is run on a Milwaukee-Eight 114 cubic inch V-Twin engine. The engine produces 119 pound-feet of torque, and gets 47 miles per gallon city/highway combined.

Triumph Bonneville Bobber

Triumph is a force in the modern motorcycle marketplace. The Bonneville lineup has remained an iconic classic in both vintage examples and more contemporary releases, running all the way up to the present. 

The Bonneville Bobber brings all the fantastic visual and performance elements of the Bonneville motorcycle, while offering the essentials that make for a classic bobber styling. The bike has no fairings, and the seat is built off a floating, minimized design that allows for the powerplant beneath the seating and fuel tank sections to stand out in all its glory.

Powered by a liquid cooled, the Bonneville Bobber 8-valve parallel twin engine measuring 1,200cc. It produces 76.9 horsepower and 78.2 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed transmission. As a complete package, the Bobber model achieves an EPA estimated 60.9 miles per gallon, giving drivers a consummate fuel sipper.

Triumph's Bonneville Bobber doesn't lack modern technology by any means, either. In addition to its serious MPG rating, the bike offers Road and Rain driving modes, as well as 47mm Showa cartridge forks and twin Brembo front caliper brakes and Nissin caliper brakes in the rear — all with standard ABS brakes.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

Moto Guzzi is another manufacturer known for classic motorcycle style. The V9 Bobber is somewhat more substantial in its framework than the previous two models listed. The Moto Guzzi offering makes use of a single seat (like the Bonneville model) rather than the two seat configuration of the Harley. Some bob-job purists will prefer a single seat design because it eliminates the added-on weight behind the driver's position. 

Aesthetically, the motorcycle makes use of many of the same stylistic features of classic bobber models. Once again, there's no forward fairings to speak of, and beyond the engine and transmission components, there's little in the way of overt stylization. The gas tank cover utilizes a more edged layout that features athletically squared-up lines rather than rounded sides, as well.

The V9 Bobber is powered by an 853cc Transversal 90 degree V-twin. It's an air-cooled design that produces 64 horsepower and 53 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed transmission, and the V9 Bobber achieves a gas mileage estimate of 48 miles per gallon.

Honda Rebel 500 (CMX500)

The Honda Rebel 500 is a muscular classic and makes an excellent addition to any discussion revolving around bobber style motorcycles. Like others in this category, the Rebel 500 does away with bulky additional elements across the entire chassis of the bike. The single seat is perched precisely between the two wheels and engine, and the rest of the motorcycle is minimalistic and angular.

The Honda bike brings blacked-out metal fittings to the fore, providing riders with an aggressive finished look to complement the blue or black highlights at the high points on the vehicle. The handlebars are placed in a wide, flat configuration, and the mirrors and headlight are both toned down in their appearance.

The Rebel 500 is powered by a 471cc liquid cooled parallel twin engine that's paired with a six-speed transmission. The bike achieves a power output of 45.9 horsepower and 29.9 pound-feet of torque. The minimized visual design inherent to the bobber style, combined with the Rebel's low seat position, makes this a great starter bike for someone seeking a bobber style bike.

Indian Scout Bobber

The Indian Scout Bobber is a classic bob-job motorcycle that appears far more like the vintage military motorcycles that popularized the style than any other on this list. The Indian Scout Bobber is squat in stature, but really packs a punch when it comes to both power and performance. 

This Indian model utilizes a liquid cooled 69 cubic inch V-Twin engine that produces 100 horsepower and 72 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed transmission. The powerhouse bobber motorcycle offers a single seat, in vintage bobber style, and brings classic muscular attitude to the road. The chassis is dominated by the domineering V-Twin engine and the vehicle's mirrors are attached in a low configuration, rather than a typical rising layout. 

Similar to other bobbers, the vehicle's forward lighting comes from a minimized headlamp unit that doesn't make room for any additional bulkiness beyond the illumination gear, and there's no additional fairing here either. The Indian Scout Bobber is simply a classic example of toned down power and raw style.