Less is more: 5 of the best bobber motorcycles for 2023

5 of the best bobber motorcycles for 2023
Bobbers are pure motorcycling. They’re what happens when you take everything you can off a bike and strip it to its basics. These five 2023 factory-fresh bobber motorcycles prove that less can be more, by reducing motorcycling to just you, your bike, and the wind.

The bobber movement traces its origins back to the 1930s, when riders and racers would ‘bob’ their bikes by removing all superfluous parts from them. These days, major manufacturers have zeroed in on the trend, producing bobbed bikes that you buy right off the showroom floor.

2023 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
Triumph Bobber When most of us think of bobbers, we think of something that looks like the Triumph Bonneville Bobber. It’s basic, it’s stripped down, it sits low and there’s no rear seat. It’s a gorgeous machine too—from its cantilevered solo saddle to its low profile rear fender.

The real selling point is the Triumph Bobber’s silhouette. It cuts the same line as a vintage hardtail, with its rear mono-shock only just visible below the seat. Chunky 16″ wheels help perfect its compact stance, while chromed silencers pop against the mostly black layout.

2023 Triumph Bonneville Bobber
The Bobber gets its grunt from Triumph’s 1,200 cc, 270-degree parallel twin. It’s good for 77 hp and 106 Nm, and sounds suitably gruff (even with the stock pipes). It hustles along nicely—but you’ll need to watch that lean angle!

It really does capture the pure essence of a bobbed bike, combined with all the ridability of a modern machine. [Triumph Bobber customs]

2023 Indian Scout Bobber
Indian Scout Bobber The Indian Scout Bobber, like its bigger brother the Chief, strips the Scout of all of the stuff you don’t need. Instead, you get chopped fenders, a lower bar, a custom looking side-mount license plate holder, and that’s about it. The Scout Bobber comes with Indian’s 1133 water-cooled V-twin that makes 93 horsepower (73 kW), with two giant Gatling gun exhausts exiting on the right.

The Scout is smaller and nimbler than the Chief, and for many, that handling is a huge bonus. We wouldn’t recommend the Scout Bobber for a long-distance tour, but then none of these bikes are really designed for long-haul rides. [Indian Scout customs]

2023 Harley-Davidson Street Bob The Street Bob is the classic Harley bobber. It has all you need on a bike, and not much more. With its bobbed fenders, high mini-ape bars, and bobbed fenders, it looks like a mild custom right off the showroom floor. The new 114ci (1,868 cc) Milwaukee-Eight engine stays true to Harley tradition with pushrod-operated overhead-valves, but it also makes it the most powerful Street that Harley has ever made.

Harley also makes the Fat Bob and the Sportster S, which many will also say are Bobbers. The Fat Bob has the new Softail frame and a Milwaukee-Eight 114 mill as well. To our eyes, however, the Street Bob with its solo seat option, traditional shocks up front (the Fat Bob and Sportster have inverted forks) and classic lines makes us want to hop on and head off into the distance.

2023 Indian Chief Bobber
Indian Chief Bobber Some will say the big Chief Bobber is not a bobber because, well, it has a fender. But, this is a solo machine, one that strips all of the touring gear off and reduces the Chief to its basics. The blacked-out Dark Horse version has mini-ape bars, forward controls, and black fork and shock covers. The Chief gets a big motor, too, a 1818 cc (111 ci) air-cooled mill that makes a whopping 108 lb.-ft (146 Nm) of torque. Speaking of that big motor, it’s air cooled, one of a dying breed of V-twin bikes that don’t need an oil cooler.

New for 2023, the Chief gets a new slipper clutch with a larger friction zone. You also get the Ride Command system that lets you connect your phone to your bike and a Bluetooth helmet system.

Maeving electric bobber
2023 Maeving RM1 The Maeving RM1 is a different take on a bobber. This British, hipster-styled, all-electric bike is designed for city dwellers looking to have some fun on their daily commute. Its top speed is just 45 miles per hour, and it has a limited range. But, it has a steel frame and brushed-aluminum body work that give it a real sense of quality.

The Maeving is clever, though. It comes with one or two batteries that slip into a storage spot under the “tank.” You can pull a battery and slip it into a charger that plugs into the wall. For those of us who don’t have access to a street charger this is genius, and it lets apartment dwellers charge overnight.