There are a lot of motorcycles on the market today. If you want to ride a cruiser, sport bike, dirt bike or another type of machine, chances are good you can find the perfect bike for your riding style. If you love the look and feel of a vintage-inspired motorcycle, though, opting for a bobber may be the right approach. Before you do, though, you need to know what is a bobber motorcycle. You also need to know which of the bobbers on the road today are the best.
A Working Definition
Motorcycle purists may argue that bobber motorcycles only apply to custom bikes and not production models. That seems a bit overly restrictive, though. While there is nothing wrong with having a custom requirement for a bobber motorcycle, this article is geared toward production bikes. As such, as far as the following information goes, bobber motorcycles are stripped-down cruisers that have a solo seat and mid-set pegs. Still, because bobber bikes tend to look live vintage machines, you have to consider a motorcycle’s overall appearance when categorizing it as a bobber.
Harley-Davidson Street Bob
The Harley-Davidson Street Bob retails for $14,499. This motorcycle features a 1,753cc V-twin engine that delivers an estimated 74 horsepower and 110 feet-pounds of torque.
The earlier version of the modern Street Bob, the Harley Dyna, hit the market in 2006. Since 2017, though, riders looking for a Harley bobber have had the Street Bob to consider. This bike has a redesigned engine, suspension and chassis. Far from being just a fashionable Softail to ride, the Street Bob is a blast to ride.
Indian Scout Bobber
Selling for just under $11,500, the Indian Scout Bobber has a 1,133cc V-twin engine. The bike’s output is a 100 horsepower with 72 feet-pounds of torque.
A new entry into the Softail game, the Scout Bobber features a liquid-cooled engine and standard chassis. This bike is decidedly a bobber, though, with its size-appropriate wheels and upright riding position. Nevertheless, the Scout Bobber really shines with its overall design. This motorcycle features classic elements that are sure to turn the heads of even motorcycle purists.
Triumph Bonneville Bobber
One of the sportier Softails in the increasingly crowded field of bobber motorcycles is the Triumph Bonneville Bobber. This machine retails for $11,900. Its 1,200cc parallel-twin motor gives you 75 horsepower and 78 feet-pounds of torque.
The Bonneville Bobber features many of the standard flourishes that make Triumph motorcycles stand out from the crowd. Sleek lines and an iconic tank give this machine the look of a larger cruiser, while the bobbed back-end lets you know you are looking at a Softail motorcycle.
A Head-to-Head-to-Head Comparison
As you can see, the Harley-Davidson Street Bob, Indian Scout Bobber and Triumph Bonneville Bobber are all formidable bobber motorcycles. Which bobber motorcycle is best? The answer likely depends on your riding style and objectives. Still, there is a clear winner in a few different categories.
As far as pricing goes, there is little difference between the Triumph and Indian. The Harley, though, is considerably more expensive. If you are looking for a bargain, you are probably better off choosing between the Bonneville Bobber and the Scout Bobber. The same is not true for engine output, though. While there are some differences in engine size, each of the three bobber bikes delivers a powerful and compelling performance. Nevertheless, it is impossible to beat the powerful engine that drives the Indian.
A clear standout also appears when considering ride comfort and integrated technology, although it isn’t the Indian Scout Bobber.
The Bonneville Bobber comes with different riding configurations, traction control, ABS and a slipper clutch. These are missing from both the Indian Scout Bobber and the Harley-Davidson Street Bob. If you want, you can purchase an ABS package for either bike, but you must pay extra.
The adjustable seat on the Triumph Bonneville Bobber also makes it a better motorcycle for taller riders. You can outfit either the Harley-Davidson Street Bob or Indian Scout Bobber with aftermarket handlebars that help with the height problem, but for a stock bike, the Bonneville Bobber is a better option for tall motorcyclists.
As far as styling goes, all three bobbers stay true to their manufacturer’s aesthetic. For that reason, if you are a devoted fan of Harley, Triumph or Indian, you are apt to think that maker’s bike looks the best. For purposes of finding the best bobber, though, it is only fair to call appearance a tie. Put simply, there is nothing wrong with the way any of these Softail bikes looks. In fact, there are a lot of right things about the overall aesthetic of each bobber.
Because bobber motorcycle prices are not exactly cheap, you want to be sure you find the best machine for you. Unfortunately, comparing the Harley-Davidson Street Bob, The Indian Scout Bobber and the Trumph Bonneville Bobber reveals no clear winner. Each machine has some things to love and a few to question. Still, the purpose of comparing motorcycles is to determine which one stands out. In a very close race, the marginal winner is the Triumph Bonneville Bobber.
While you can argue that the Harley-Davidson’s name carries significant weight and the Indian Scout Bobber has the best engine, neither bike can overcome the comfort and versatility of the Triumph Bonneville Bobber. If you have no brand loyalty, opting for the Bonneville Bobber probably makes the most sense. That said, none of the three Softail motorcycles is a bad investment. Because all bikes feature excellent styling and a memorable ride, you are virtually certain to fall in love with any bobber you choose.
Now that you know what is a bobber motorcycle, you are ready to shop for your new favorite bike. After you find it, though, you need to keep it in tip-top shape to preserve its condition, value and performance. By ordering top-quality Harley Indian aftermarket and OEM parts from a supplier you already know and trust gets the job done. Find what you need and invest in your bike’s future by completing your purchase today.