Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bobber Kits - A Bobber in Every Box

Bobber kits contain all the parts you need to build a bobber.  But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the question begs to be asked - what is a bobber?  It sounds like some sort of thingamabob you use when fishing.  Well, admittedly, there is something called a bobber in the world of fishing, but the bobber in question here is the type of motorcycle called a bobber.  Why the name bobber?  Because of the way that the rear fender is "bobbed" or cut short, like the tail on a bobcat. 

The bobber has been a figure in the motorcycle scene for about 5 decades now, since right after World War II.  The Second World War was a terrible event, but it showed just how connected everyone is to one another.  One interesting result is that American men in the military service, who spent time in Europe, grew to favor the style of motorcycles there.  At that time, bikes in the USA were rather heavyset and a little bulky, while European models were light, simple and minimalist.  On coming back from the war, these men congregated in motorcycle clubs.  In order to simulate that "light" appearance, war veterans cut off sections of the rear fender and some removed the front fenders completely.  What came out was what eventually became known as the bobber.  This movement was also what gave rise to the chopper subculture, as popularized on television.


Bobber Motorcycle Kit vs Chopper Motorcycle Kit

Motorcycle kits are now available in the market, and so are bobber kits.  Many of these motorcycle kits are actually designed in the chopper style, with an aesthetic that matches the customization culture of bikes today.  Because choppers are more popular in the collective conscience today, it is a common mistake to think that bobbers are derived from choppers, when the truth is actually the other way around.  Bobbers were stock motorcycles with their rear fenders bobbed and front fenders possibly removed or shortened likewise.  Choppers came from the idea of removing unnecessary parts, ergo "chopping" them off, to give a sleeker, lighter appearance.  Thus, windshields, fenders, engine cowlings, sissy bars and other features outside the minimal requirements for a single rider were removed.  Some other parts were replaced, like headlights and exhaust pipes.  The exposed look, with the engine in full view and tubes running every which way, plus the "raked" front fork, and lowered central chassis became what we now know as choppers.  Strangely enough, this applied "backwards" to bobbers, which led to the current confusion of terms.  A new term came up for these "bobbed" choppers, and they are called bopper choppers.  Some say that if the front end is not changed, it is a bobber, while it becomes a chopper if the front is lengthened.  Regardless, the bobbed nature of these rides can justify them as bobbers in essence.

Fat Bastards - No Copyright Infringement Intended

One of the most popular variants of bobbers, and thus bobber motorcycle kits, is generally called a Fat Bastard.  It is unknown whether the term came before or after a certain comedy movie featuring a swinging British secret agent, but regardless there is no copyright infringement here.  So how does a motorcycle become a Fat Bastard?  The "Bastard" part comes from the fact that it is a mixture of bobber and chopper, ergo a bastard of the two.  The other part of the name, "Fat", comes from these having very chunky rear tires.  The fender-less nature of bobbers led to experimentation with wheel sizes, and that is how the Fat Bastard was born.  These have normal-wide front tires but a very wide rear tire.  The result is a very iconic look and eye-catching appeal.  Fat Bastards, as previously mentioned, are also available in kit form.  The term "bastard" is not very favorable though, so some vendors use terms like "wide tire" or "wide rear tire".  Building a bobber by cutting off parts of the fenders may not appeal to some people, and that is why these kits are available.  It does make a certain sense, since consumers probably won't want to buy their own oxyacetylene torches for just one job.  In the end, buying a kit like this can save you money, rather than buying stock and then putting it to the torch.

Bobber Motorcycle - Why the Kits Then?

So ithese motorcycles can be made by custom fabricators, why bother with bobber kits and motorcycle kits in general?  Offering these personal vehicles in kits gives some very distinct advantages.  For one, they consume less space than fully-built units, so sellers can save on storage.  The savings extend to the user, who can then use what they save on the unit cost for shipping.  Speaking of shipping, it is easier to transport kits rather than the entire pre-built vehicles, and so it is also cheaper.  Finally there is the satisfaction from doing it yourself.  There is something about having the opportunity to build something that you like and that you will use often on your own that appeals to many people.  A positive side effect is that those who build their own bikes will tend to take better care of their bikes, as compared to those who buy it stock.  Perhaps what also appeals is taking it to the next step. After buying a kit and building it up, the next part would be to attach custom parts or detailing.  Paint jobs, decals, even custom fabricated parts, these are all part of the customization culture that is all the rage with motorcycles today.  With a little more time and money, one could turn a kit ride into something unique and totally their own.  Then again, maybe you want a motorcycle for the fun of riding it. 

Taking to the blacktop on something you made with your own hands is more satisfying than using stock machines.  With a motorcycle kit like this, there is a bobber in every box for every weekend rider or hardcore chopper.  Just make sure to follow the construction instructions!

Bobber Kits - A Bobber in Every Box

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