Customised bikes come in many forms, and usually are based on a combination of enhanced performance and stylised modified appearance.
For those who have not come across the term, refers to the extreme customisation of sports bikes which have their fairings removed and are very stylised to produce a much more aggressive look than traditional custom bikes. Based in some part on the appearance of Japanese bikes from the 1980’s, modern streetfighters utilise custom created frames and all manner of sleek, aggressive styling to create a stripped down, high performance street bike. Since the 1990’s, some manufacturers have begun to tap into this new class of bike, starting with the iconic Triumph Speed Triple, the concept of which has appeared in many incarnations since it’s original appearance in 1994. Triumph have maintained their market position, having recently launched a new, sportier version for modern riders.
A bike which has had the front fender and the rear fender reduced or even removed becomes a bobber. What this essentially does is strip away unnecessary weight and protuberances, creating a stripped back bike which is lighter and easier to handle. Again, this is in some ways similar to the streetfighter ideal, harking back even earlier to the 1940’s and defining bikers who were mechanically minded, getting better performance out of their clunker bikes. Also now factory built as well as custom created, bobbers are typified by styles such as the Harley Davidson bobbers of the 1970’s.
The chopper, really an evolution of the bobber, entered into common view with films like Easy Rider and the Wild One. Typically a bike pulled back to it’s original frame and free of any unnecessary encumbrance; but unlike the bobber, the chopper does have a modified frame – usually ‘chopped’ of all extraneous material. The look began to include a heavily raked front end and raised handlebars., and has developed into more and more extreme design. Another Harley Davidson specialty, choppers have a huge following and can be custom modified or factory built.