Bobber builds!! - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
 
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-12-2019, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Bobber builds!!

Hello everybody I have been thinking about bobbing my 04 ex500 out but really need ideas on what to do I have already switched to a honda shadow headlight and got rid of most of the plastics is there any other handle bars available?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 9:08 AM
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hi, sorry for the late reply but as seeing that no one has already here is my 2 cents worth. changing these bikes into something they were not designed to be, can be and is very expensive, time consuming. and a times a nightmare. for every modification you do another 2 or 3 will be required. a bobber is probably the hardest. not only will you have to lower it and reduce seat height, requiring extensive frame/suspension modifications. but everything else on the bike. there are some old threads on the forum to give you some ideas but most are for streetfighter builds and it's not exactly the same thing.

there are no ready bolt on bits to use so it's all out of your head stuff. you can get round the handlebar issue by drilling the top tee to take stock risers or make custom made brackets that use the old bar mounts. but then all the cables and pipes will be too short. rear suspension will have to be altered for the bobber style no mean feat with the uni-track set up. not to mention relocating all the electrics to somewhere dry when you have no dual seat to hide them under. look forwards to probably years of toil before you can call it done.

selling the parts you take off can offset some of the cost but your budget will probably be blown in the first six months.

good luck with it. this may not be the easy answer you seek but it is the truth. I have been there. in my garage [on the site] is picture of the nearest I could get to that style yet keeping the sense of the original bike. but it's a cruiser not a bobber.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-19-2019, 6:08 PM
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In truth, you'd be better off starting with a Vulcan 500, as they are already halfway there, having an easier modded frame and fat rear tires. As to fat front tires, this is art over design, as they ruin handling. Even the 180hp BMW R1000RR only uses a 120 section front tire. Studies were done back in the 80s regarding front tire size. Since there were so many cases of racers losing the front end, a few tried fat tires. Made it worse. Messing with wheel diameter and most of all, stickier tires was the solution.



If you are a slow-sped rider and just cruising the beach, bobbers are a reasonable style. Most guys do street fighter/rat bikes or café racers.



If you want ideas, check Google Images for 'EX500 Bobber' and see what turns up.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-9-2019, 5:16 PM
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Some folks just use the terms incorrectly. A bobber begins life as a cruiser, a cafe/brat begins life as a standard, a street fighter begins life as a sport bike. A Ninja 500 is a candidate for an easy street fighter build, or a neo-cafe' conversion if you're decent with a bit of fab work. The frame geometry makes for a near impossible proper bobber build...

YRMV...
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-9-2019, 7:14 PM
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Originally Posted by z00t3ch View Post
Some folks just use the terms incorrectly. A bobber begins life as a cruiser, a cafe/brat begins life as a standard, a street fighter begins life as a sport bike. A Ninja 500 is a candidate for an easy street fighter build, or a neo-cafe' conversion if you're decent with a bit of fab work. The frame geometry makes for a near impossible proper bobber build...

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sorry I wouldn't agree with that. a motorcycle is made of many parts. change enough of them you can build anything out of everything. anyone up for a challenge.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-9-2019, 10:16 PM
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sorry I wouldn't agree with that. a motorcycle is made of many parts. change enough of them you can build anything out of everything. anyone up for a challenge.

Have at it. Thing is, terminology gets even more confusing when you Brits get involved as what we call cafe racers you often refer to as bobbers. Over here a bobber has a "bobbed" rear fender...kind of difficult with a Ninja 500 since...ummm...it has no rear fender, just a plastic tail section. If you have mad tube welding skills and want to reinvent the wheel, then yeah...you can build a Ninja 500 powered bike of some sort with a bobber rear fender, springer seat, and heck, even a sissy bar...but may I second the earlier suggestion of just using a Vulcan 500 as your starting platform, it'll save loads of time and welding...
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-9-2019, 11:09 PM
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I think you are missing the point. and no we don't call café racers bobbers. café racers were famously done by the ACE motorcycle club based at the ACE café bar in LONDON. in the 50's a bobber is what you make it. as for the EX yeah a EN would be easier but what the hell if your doing a custom jobbie why not the EX. being a semi/tourer sports bike it sit nose down with it's Arse [pardon my English if it means something different to you guys] so longer forks and bigger [larger diameter] front wheel has sitting level. then lower the Arse with twin shocks [any length you want or can get away with] by removing the uni-track and swingarm. cut the back section off fit a tractor seat and you have a bobber.

Last edited by yorkie; 12-9-2019 at 11:14 PM.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 12:11 AM
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I'm a powder coater and custom bike builder by trade. I know the history of the cafe racer, the Ace Cafe, et al... And I watch a crap load of bike building shows and whenever Brits are involved they talk of converting some sport bike into a "bobber" and end up building what we Yanks would call a cafe or brat, with a long skinny "banana" seat (some with the tail hump, some without), clipons, rearsets, the whole shebang. Maybe not all Brits share consensus, I'm not saying the Brit builders I've seen speak for the whole island, but from what I've seen and heard quite a few Brits call our cafe racers "bobbers"...dunno why, but I know it is so. My apologies if we were already on the same page.

And, yes, as I stated before, a cutoff wheel, a pile of tubing, and a welder will build you whatever the heck you want...but when you step back from it, what you will have accomplished is the recreation and subsequent bobbing of a Vulcan 500 frame...and, again, HAVE AT IT! In my opinion, the EX makes an excellent Neo-Cafe'. I am not afraid or ashamed to admit I wholly lack the motivation to make the mods you speak of...all of my bobber builds began life as a cruiser...

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 1:17 AM
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You guys are both on same page. You're both right in that what lots of people chasing trends and fashion don't realize is how much work it takes to do these conversions. Having to chop, cut and weld frame is very time consuming and expensive if you don't do it yourself. Pounding sheet-metal into rounded shapes takes skill from decades of practice. For most of these folks, it would be much faster and much, much cheaper to buy converted bike, whatever you want to call it.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 12:15 PM
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you may well be right. although you have to accept the difference in motorcycle culture. the one off custom bikes you guys seem to build would be of no use over here unless you wanted an ornament to stick on show in the front room of your apartment as you would never get it certified for the road. we have something called the E.U. you may have heard of it. they pass legislation we all have to adhere to. one of these rules is called type approval a system where only production kit that has been rigorously tested to comply with the legislation can be registered.

coincidentally Kawasaki fell foul of these rules back in 2002 with the EX which is why we only got them up to that point although they were continued to be produced until 2009. also licence laws are different you can get the 500 as a learner bike but here you have to be over a certain age and passed a full riders test beforehand on a much smaller bike. [125cc or under] then you can ride any machine of any size so why would you buy a 500 twin. that's the reason the EX wasn't a popular bike to start with.

modifying an old bike is ok as it has already got type approval. and registered.. you are just changing it a bit the current trend over here is for the shed built bike. it could be classed as any of the above types, where you typically start with an old bike preferably one that's been stood for a couple of decades then strip it, throw away all the rusty seized parts and build something else using various other type approved parts off something else. complying with the legislation sort of. go outside these parameters and your stuck with something you cannot get tested for the road.

a lot of hassle yeah. so why bother?. well when you turn up at some bike meet, café, or whatever on your brand new Goldwing, Harley, or sports super bike, no one takes any notice just walks by as there seen everyday. but turn up on a shed build you have done yourself, and it gathers the crowds to look at it. trying to wonder what it is or was once. vanity yeah of course but makes it all worthwhile.

Last edited by yorkie; Yesterday at 12:18 PM.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old Today, 12:47 AM
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...why bother?. well when you turn up at some bike meet, café, or whatever on your brand new Goldwing, Harley, or sports super bike, no one takes any notice just walks by as there seen everyday. but turn up on a shed build you have done yourself, and it gathers the crowds to look at it. trying to wonder what it is or was once. vanity yeah of course but makes it all worthwhile.
Couldn't agree more!!! Around 2002-2006, here in the States, local bike nights were brimming with one-off, hand built customs people had built themselves and it was a great time to swap stories and steal ideas. Nowadays they mostly look like a used Harley lot, with some boring stock Jap bikes on the side. Last Summer there were a handful of $50,000 custom baggers at one of the meets, these unridable posers with 33" front wheels, and a guy rolled up on a $400 barn find he'd bobbed for couch change and people swarmed him as he rolled up to get a glimpse of this pure, basic, primal machine...really made me miss the early 2000's...

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old Today, 4:07 PM
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I'm a powder coater and custom bike builder by trade.
pics or it.....you know

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old Today, 4:27 PM
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pics or it.....you know
Here are a few:
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File Type: jpg classic-honda.jpg (357.3 KB, 2 views)

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old Today, 4:30 PM
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Couple BEFORE pics:
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old Today, 4:34 PM
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nice work, love that little old Honda year? model?

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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old Today, 4:40 PM
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A 1983 Yamaha XS650 with 1200 original miles I bought for $300, had been sitting since 1984. Updated all the electronics and got going for $2000 all-in, sold to a very happy new owner for $3500.

A 1994 Honda VLX with 4000 miles, sat for 12 years, bought for $400 and decided to bob and frame-off powder coat to use as an advertising bike. This pic is after mockup and a year riding it around before tear down. It's currently in a million pieces but hope to have running by Spring.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old Today, 4:45 PM
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nice work, love that little old Honda year? model?
First of three 1964-1965 Honda 'Benly' "Baby Dream" 150cc bikes I've done for one of my customers. Second was a Repsol tribute bike for his 2006 CBR he won Mid-Ohio on. Third is in my shop currently, a touring model with extremely rare saddlebags made by Rubbermade.

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