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PHeller
PHeller Reader
2/22/09 3:23 p.m.

I did a search for a motorcycles near me for under $1000, and really could only find dirt bikes, really beat up older cruisers from the 80's, scooters, and the occasional early 90's cruiser.

I found a 93 Vulcan that has lots of new parts, and the currently believe should pass inspection. Runs good, etc.

Anyway, the stock Vulcan 750 is hideous bike in my eyes, being a fan of Enduro's and SM's, but I am, or at least would be, a new rider, along with being broke, so spending $2000 on a bike doesn't interest me much.

However, the with some research, it appears that the Vulcans, with some minor suspension relocation and lowering, trimming of the seat and some other odds and ends makes a pretty nice looking chopper.

I'm not a fan of expensive pre-built choppers, nor of leathered and streamers on Harley. I just like cheap cool bikes.

I was curious how many of these types of bikes I can do those same simple swaps too and get away with a cool, sub $1000 bike that'll be comfortable, bad-ass looking (even though I'm a geek), and stand out from the crowd?

Anyone know of any websites that have build ups similar to what I'm talking about? Not full out custom fabricated rigs, but more of just moving suspension around, cutting springs, little $10 brackets, fenders cuts, seat cuts, etc. Stuff that's cheap but looks nice.

That was a confusing post, I know.

stroker
stroker New Reader
2/22/09 3:42 p.m.

You need to find some pics of a bob-job showbike that CobraUSA exhaust built a few years ago. I can't remember the name of the bike but it was a stripped-down Vulcan with a "bomber nose art" inspired paint job on the fuel tank. I would never have guessed at first glance that it was a metric cruiser. I'm pretty sure it was featured in an article by Cycle World magazine. Don't know if it actually made any power but the shop claimed that they'd made the bike with pretty low-tech stuff--grinders, hacksaws, hammers, etc.

CrackMonkey
CrackMonkey Reader
2/22/09 4:40 p.m.

For fab, design, etc, this is a good resource (not so noob friendly, but good for ideas): http://www.jockeyjournal.com/

Check out "The Horse" magazine for home-builds, small shop builds, and light tech.

Almost any standard or cruiser can be bobbed and chopped into something that looks good. Cut the fenders, strip the signals and other crap, lower the suspension, etc. Very much a personal choice on what looks good.

Honda CBs and the YamaSaki equivalents are good. Old Triumphs are a popular choice, though might be too much money.

CarKid1989
CarKid1989 Reader
2/22/09 7:56 p.m.
92dxman
92dxman Reader
2/22/09 8:02 p.m.

How about an older Honda Nighthawk? I think they fall under the cruiser category and look pretty badass and not the least bit dated..

Josh
Josh Reader
2/22/09 9:06 p.m.
92dxman wrote: How about an older Honda Nighthawk? I think they fall under the cruiser category and look pretty badass and not the least bit dated..

I'm gonna have to go ahead and agree with that :

PHeller
PHeller Reader
2/22/09 9:44 p.m.

The nighthawk is more of a sporty bike than it is a Harley wannabe, which the Vulcan was trying to be.

PHeller
PHeller Reader
2/22/09 9:47 p.m.
CarKid1989 wrote: I think this one is pretty rad. Cheap and sweet Its a Kawasaki. But what?

But who? What? Huh?

So a bobber can be a soft or hard tail? Some of the Vulcan's I was looking at had a tube that was fabbed up in place of the stock rear shocks to drop the rear. I liked that idea, seems simple enough.

Josh
Josh Reader
2/22/09 11:04 p.m.

From what I understand, Bobber basically means a cut (bobbed) rear tail, short low single seat, maybe a lowered or hardtail rear, maybe not, with the stock front geometry. As opposed to a Chopper, with longer, raked front forks.

Goldmember
Goldmember New Reader
2/22/09 11:25 p.m.
CrackMonkey wrote: Old Triumphs are a popular choice, though might be too much money.

Save the Triumphs!! Chopped brit bikes make me ill. If you want to modify them, strip them down, swap the bars for clamp ons and go vintage racing with them. My brother has a blast riding his "tractors" around NHMS(formerly NHIS).

DILYSI Dave
DILYSI Dave SuperDork
2/23/09 7:03 a.m.

I once saw a Rebel that had been converted to a hard tail bobber. It looked rad.

CrackMonkey
CrackMonkey Reader
2/23/09 9:32 a.m.

Bobber and chopper overlap. But, generally...

Bobbers have been "bobbed" - rear fender trimmed, anything not required for moving is removed, solo seat. Can be soft-tail or hard-tail, but tend to be stock-ish other than stuff removed.

Choppers tend to have more frame modification. Stretched, raked, etc. Not all choppers are long like the stuff Sugar Bear creates. Almost always hard-tail, or hidden soft-tail.

When you think about what the words bob and chop mean, it makes sense. Bob = remove stuff. Chop = hack stuff up.

psteav
psteav Reader
2/23/09 10:12 a.m.

Bobbers can be created out of anything. I'm building one out of a '76 KZ400 (little Kawasaki twin). I bought the bike for $400, should have less than $1000 in it when I'm done. 1970s UJMC's can be found just about anywhere for under $1000, and motorcycle cosmetics are generally easier and cheaper to deal with than car stuff, simply because there's a lot less of it there.

Ebay is your friend. Harley parts can be adopted (lights, tanks, etc), and the shock replacement bars are about $35. There's a guy who will custom make you a set for that much money to fit whatever you like, but I believe he advertises that fact in an ad for a set that fits a Sportster.

TC Brothers Choppers sells a universal hardtail kit that is pretty nice if you're handy with a welder.

Probably the quintessential chop/bob choice in the Japanese bikes is the Yamaha 650 twin. It's great-they copied a Triumph, got most of the soul and good looks, and made it more reliable. Unfortunately, they're getting kind of scarce as well, which means finding one for $1000 usually means its a non-runner.

psteav
psteav Reader
2/23/09 10:15 a.m.

Oh, and if you're a new rider...you probably don't want a hardtail. There's a reason bikes have suspension in the back now. Ditto extended front forks. They can give you some pretty wonky handling, which is exactly what you don't need. But nothing says you couldn't do it to an ongoing project once you get some miles under your belt.

CrackMonkey
CrackMonkey Reader
2/23/09 10:51 a.m.

Not a fan of rigid struts to replace the rear shocks. Why bother? Still looks like a soft-tail, but less comfortable.

If you want the looks of a hard-tail, built a proper hard-tail frame.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 HalfDork
2/23/09 11:29 a.m.
psteav wrote: Probably the quintessential chop/bob choice in the Japanese bikes is the Yamaha 650 twin. It's great-they copied a Triumph, got most of the soul and good looks, and made it more reliable. Unfortunately, they're getting kind of scarce as well, which means finding one for $1000 usually means its a non-runner.

I didn't realize that the XS650 Special I have tucked in a corner of my garage is worth that much. I'm saving it to restore when I finish my current projects, which mean a long time from now. Might have to rethink that.

psteav
psteav Reader
2/23/09 12:12 p.m.
wlkelley3 wrote:
psteav wrote: Probably the quintessential chop/bob choice in the Japanese bikes is the Yamaha 650 twin. It's great-they copied a Triumph, got most of the soul and good looks, and made it more reliable. Unfortunately, they're getting kind of scarce as well, which means finding one for $1000 usually means its a non-runner.

I didn't realize that the XS650 Special I have tucked in a corner of my garage is worth that much. I'm saving it to restore when I finish my current projects, which mean a long time from now. Might have to rethink that.

The Specials tend to be worth a little less than the standards, probably because they're more common, but they still bring good money for a 30 year old Japanese bike. My uncle sold a '79 650 Special last month with 18k on the clock, in good mechanical condition, but cosmetically average. He put it on Craigslist for $1000 and it sold in 12 hours.

Josh
Josh Reader
2/23/09 12:49 p.m.

I can't believe I forgot to post this:

Old Japanese Chopper Gold Mine!

914Driver
914Driver Dork
2/23/09 12:50 p.m.

Bobbers are just bikes stripped of all nonessentials.

Yamaha 250. http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/1003/914Dan/Baby%20Bobber/

1959 Truimph Thunderbird, but has a Honda 450 engine.

Need a 650 project?

$1000.

xci_ed6
xci_ed6 New Reader
2/23/09 4:33 p.m.

dotheton.com is cafe oriented but has some information on choppers/bobbers

PHeller
PHeller Reader
2/24/09 1:42 p.m.

I'm really thinkin an older bike with simple bobber or Cafe' treatment may be a cheap way to save gas, ride with friends and family, and still have something unique.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks SuperDork
2/24/09 2:56 p.m.

So, a little off topic, but how is it riding without a front fender? I like the look, but I'm guessing that puddles and stones and such are going to be unavoidable. As in, wearing them on your chest and inner thighs.

Who's ridden a bike with no front fender and how does it work out?

Thanks, Clem

914Driver
914Driver Dork
2/24/09 6:21 p.m.

Fine until you turn in the rain. Once you're wet it doesn't matter anyway. Pebbles get kicked up into the engine, not you.

My tombstone will say "Yeah but he looked good doing it"

ManofFewWords
ManofFewWords Reader
2/25/09 8:10 a.m.

On the highway water will fly up into your face, but there is an old trick an old timer showed me in Sturgis. If you take a shoelace and tie it around your fork tubes about 1/4 away from your tire, most water will hit the string and drop down instead of flying up.

xci_ed6
xci_ed6 New Reader
2/25/09 6:15 p.m.
ManofFewWords wrote: On the highway water will fly up into your face, but there is an old trick an old timer showed me in Sturgis. If you take a shoelace and tie it around your fork tubes about 1/4 away from your tire, most water will hit the string and drop down instead of flying up.

...and I will be stealing that trick...

Photobucket

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