1989 Harley Softail Bobber by Lou
Lou from Hamont, Belgium, sent us these pictures of the rebuilding of his "black and red" Harley Softail Bobber. Lou is a specialist in combining the old school hardtail look with Evo engine technology.
Softail - The Ideal Bobber Frame
Lou makes optimum use of the Harley Softail frame which was designed to replicate the lines of the pre 1960 hardtail frames. The HD Softail frame was designed to combine the comfort and ride of a sprung frame with the classic lines of a hardtail frame.
Lou's Evo Bobber Conversion is Steps
Lou started by purchasing a used Harley Softail motorbike. He insists on the 1340cc Evo engine for the proper sound...
The used Harley Davidson is stripped completely. If the Harley Evo engine runs OK, Lou's recommendation is to leave it alone.
On this picture various parts of the Evo engine have been replaced or powdercoated and mounted back on. To create the classic bobber lines, those two rear fender support risers sticking out at the back of the Softail frame will have to go.
The risers at the back of the Softail frame that supported the rear fender are cut off using an angle grinder. The frame is then locally ground flush. Note how the rest of the frame is protected by fire-blankets.
Straight Bobber or Custom Bobber?
To us, any Bobber is either a Straight Bobber or a Custom Bobber.
For more information, check out the Bobber Republic Info Pages!
Putting Everything Back Together
Lou mounted a Liberator type Springer Fork which he shortened by 70mm (around 2.75 inches). The handlebars are by L&L Choppers from the Netherlands. For this Bobber build Lou re-used the existing fuel tank from the used bike that he bought, but Lou emphasizes that you could in fact use any type or size of tank that suits the Bobber style you're after.
As you can see, the risers at the back of the Softail frame which supported the rear fender are gone. Scars have been filled and sanded smooth.
On this particular bobber build, Lou had a lot of parts powdercoated, like the belt cover, wheels, handlebars, springer fork, rear suspension, front and rear lights, etc.
How About a Nice Hardtail-Style Rear End?
Lou explains how he creates a nice hardtail-style rear end: The rear fender is a Liberator type, turned around, shortened, and is fixed onto the moveable softail swingarm. In this way, the rear fender sits about 1.5" above the rear tire, emphasizing a hardtail look while retaining soft tail suspension.
The front wheel is a 19" rim with a Kenda tire. The rear wheel is a 16" with an Avon 400 tire with the old style profile.
Trumpet exhaust pipes, wrapped in black heat resistant tape.
Bobbers by Lou
Building Bobbers is Lou's big hobby, especially during the winter months.
Check out these beauties:
Clymer Service and Repair Manuals
Even if you have no intent to get your hands dirty - these books are a joy for every Harley Davidson fan!