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Thread: Building a Bobber

  1. #1
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    5th May 2006 - 23:44
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    Smile Building a Bobber

    Hi

    Has anyone had any experience in building a bobber style bike at all?
    I'm keen to kick off a project and build one myself.

    Firstly need a frame to start with so wanting to get some ideas or opinions.

  2. #2
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    14th June 2007 - 15:14
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    You could do a lot worse than starting with a Custom Chrome kit and going from there - see on their website eg Pimp Daddy. They sell frames and full rolling chassis, too.

    Note that if you arte starting from scratch, you will need to specify NZ compliant lights, instruments, brakes etc.

    Cheers

  3. #3
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    7th August 2005 - 08:47
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    What style do you call a bobber, The term is being beat to death and some people don't know what a bobber should look like.

  4. #4
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    24th June 2004 - 16:27
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    Well - I guess it's like 'chopper', 'Street fighter' or Cafe' racer... all emotive terms for a style of bike whos origins are pretty well forgotten. The reality is we had these discussions in the 70's when we were tacking long forks onto rigid triumphs or mutilating army indians etc.... The difference was (I suppose) you had to make or adapt nearly everything yourself... There was no internet or any way you could import a part from overseas so you scrounged... bloody good fun!

  5. #5
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    1st November 2006 - 14:38
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    Quote Originally Posted by dili View Post
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    Hi

    Has anyone had any experience in building a bobber style bike at all?
    I'm keen to kick off a project and build one myself.

    Firstly need a frame to start with so wanting to get some ideas or opinions.
    My opinion is go for it. And how ever long you think it will take multipy that by at least four. Start with ideas and then get costings so you know what you are getting into.

    I got a good frame made by Orb at Hogg Farm, Bombay Hills. More old school style though, not really a bobber. Take along some ideas and pictures and get a quote. Transferred most of the donor bike into the new frame.

    There is a lot to look at for inspiration on the intertweeb. Also I'm pretty sure there is a dude who builds frames and is a member of KB. Plus there are more than a few chop riders on this site as well who have modified/built their bikes. Just a case of getting them to come out and share their experiences I guess.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dili View Post
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    Hi

    Has anyone had any experience in building a bobber style bike at all?
    I'm keen to kick off a project and build one myself.

    Firstly need a frame to start with so wanting to get some ideas or opinions.
    Get a basket case evo 5 speed sporty. Bound to be some out there.

  7. #7
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    Deleted post,

  8. #8
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    Best of luck. From what I can gather, you're probably best off buying the whole donor bike as there will always be parts you've overlooked and can scavenge off the donor. Time and money-wise, double your worst-case scenarios. Then double them again. Now you've got an estimate that's half what you'll actually spend.

    Quote Originally Posted by surfer View Post
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    I got a good frame made by Orb at Hogg Farm, Bombay Hills. More old school style though, not really a bobber. Take along some ideas and pictures and get a quote. Transferred most of the donor bike into the new frame.
    Just out of interest, how much? Ballpark figure. Hardtail or soft?

    I'm interested in doing something similar one day, and I'm trying to work out a rough figure ([donor bike + frame + misc] x 10 - should be about right).

  9. #9
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    20th May 2007 - 11:04
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    There is as many ways as builders to do it.

    Look at pics, magazines and try to get an idea what you want it to be like. You can go the "bolt on" bits way. But whats the fun in that? Build the bits your self or have a mate to do them to your spec to get an really individual look.

    Only two bits of advise I would give (from own experience):
    - Don't use your current bike, as you go crazy waiting for a ride. Needs to be a project bike that can take the time she needs.
    - If she is your first one, don't go too technical or tricky. Go for simple solutions. You can always change bits later.

    All The Best!

    May the bridges I burn light the way.

    Follow Vinny's MX racing on www.mxvinny.com


  10. #10
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    5th May 2006 - 23:44
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    thanks, yeah im pretty new to it all so wanting to build something relatively simple.

    As for the frame i was looking at a 1980 Honda CB900F frame, would this be a good starting point as far as frames go or should i look at a custom built (a lot more expensive) frame?

    I am only looking for a 650cc motor at this stage as i want to look at riding everyday and want something light and easy to ride in traffic.

  11. #11
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    Here, a little magazine with bobbers

    Non-jap, but you might get an idea what looks good. I got No1 and have just got No2 ordered. A5 format, but worth the $$'s IMHO.

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Trade-Me-Mo...-106290877.htm

    May the bridges I burn light the way.

    Follow Vinny's MX racing on www.mxvinny.com


  12. #12
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    14th June 2007 - 15:14
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    Picking up on some of the comments here, I would have thought that a "bobber" has to be something in the style of the bobbed US bikes of the 1950s, but maybe I am waaaay wrong. If I am right, it's a 4-stroke twin, probably girder forks (and not extended), bobbed mudguards, small gas tank, special paint job, minimal instruments and controls, no forward foot controls...

    Bobbers were the 50s US version of the UK cafe racer ie everything stripped down - and not at all like the elaborate longbikes that evolved later.

    If you're going to use a CB-F frame, are you aiming to use the Comstar wheels? And a 4-cyl Japper motor? And extended forks? If so, not a bobber.

    If I were you, budget being an issue, I would start with an XS650.

  13. #13
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    1st November 2006 - 14:38
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Dopa View Post
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    Just out of interest, how much? Ballpark figure. Hardtail or soft?

    I'm interested in doing something similar one day, and I'm trying to work out a rough figure ([donor bike + frame + misc] x 10 - should be about right).
    This is my experience. I am sure others will have had a different one.

    XS650 was the donor bike, picked it up for $1700. It was running rough and needed a few minor things to get it registered and a WOF. Add $400 here. Rode it around for a while and it was hard to let it go and be in a state of building.

    New hardtail frame and engine mounts, $2500. Then there was the electrics box, battery box, and rear mud gaurd (not sure of costs here). Tank was $400 and then this was modified to sit on top frame tube, can't remember cost of modification. Front fork tubes from the States $700 (I think), these slotted straight into the donor bike bottom forks. Extended cables for clutch ($50 I think), throttle ($50 I think), and front brakes ($250ish as needed two cables for either side). Made a wiring loom and used electrics off donor bike (lots of wire, $200 probably more with fuses, connectors, solder wire and solder iron). New speedo clock and rev clock ($100 roughly). Seat made up and covered ($200). Exhaust pipes $500. Headlight $60, indicators $60, rear light $40. Probably other stuff I've forgotten about.

    Plus the Lvvta process, this depends on where you go and how qualified the person is doing this work. There are two parts to it and some certifiers are only qualified for one part of the job so they hire in someone else and pass this cost on. If they do not really understand what they are doing they will go the whole hog and start xraying the frame and shit like this. I learnt from this one, expensive for me. Add $400, should have been much less.

    I did sell the tank, frame, seat, lights, and other assorted bits off the donor bike to claw back some of the costs.

    In total this project took me a couple of years. I learnt a lot. I did extra work to pay for it all so it wouldn't hit my pocket too hard. I still have to paint the frame and metal work, and get chrome for the exhaust and battery box.

    Would I do this again? Hell yes, and it would be cheaper as I learnt stuff.

    So I reckon a budget of $4000 to $5000 on top of your donor bike, unless you can weld and make/modify some of the stuff yourself in which case it will be less. The amount of money sunk into the bike will never come back as essentially it is still a twenty year old XS650.

    Then when it is made you will want to change it...ha ha...because you can.

    Another way to consider is to buy someone elses half or nearly finished project and sort that out to your specs.

  14. #14
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    1st November 2006 - 14:38
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    What about a donor bike and an axle grinder? And then carve off the surplus metal work; like half the mud gaurds and get the bobber look that way.

    Alternatively get a factory custom bike and hardtail this, or get the frame modified. My first hardtail was a factory custom that I took along to Desperate Dan's in Luton back in the 80's and had a hardtail welded onto the back end. It looked good because the front end already had the custom look; the front end was also goose necked as well to make it a longer lower ride.

    Good luck with it all

  15. #15
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    5th May 2006 - 23:44
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    thanks for the replies. the way i see it is that i can go for the 900F frame which is going really cheap and then modify it to hell to get the hardtail look and structually sorted and then look for a donor bike OR

    Buy an already made hardtail frame and look for a donor bike for all parts (or alternatively use my VN250 as the donor minus enginer)

    Decisions Decisions........

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