A Harley Sportster Bobber is a Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle that has been modified to enhance speed and acceleration capability. Some owners customize their bikes to pair engine capability with other features.
Motorcycle racers in the 1930s to 1950s removed components that did not contribute to speed and acceleration. They left safety features, such as lights, but pared down their bikes as much as possible. The stripped-down bikes are called bobbers.
Harley-Davidson debuted the Sportster in 1957. It featured a 900 cc engine. Harley’s current Sportsters are smaller and lighter than Harley’s Touring or other bikes, with 2011 models ranging from 880 to 1200 cc and weighing around 550 pounds. By comparison, Harley’s biggest bikes are nearly 1700 cc and weigh 850 pounds.
Harley-Davidson’s 2011 line includes Bobbers. These bikes are made to look like classic stripped-down bikes from the 1950s but actually are heavier than current Sportster models. Some feature ape handlebars, chopped fenders and other styling details reminiscent of the 1950s.