The custom bobber craze -- where the tail end of a motorcycle is bobbed off into a solo tractor saddle -- has finally escaped bike shows and reached showrooms with the brand new 2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber.
This striking minimalist machine, which has been dubbed Triumph's "brutal beauty," features the low-sling seat, flat handlebars, stripped bodywork, and spoked wheels that drive fans crazy.
A big part of the look is also the clean triangular frame stretching behind the rider to the rear wheel. In the old days, bobbers were built from "hard tail" motorcycles with no rear suspension that just bolted the rear wheel directly to the frame, as on most bicycles.
Motorcycles have universally included rear suspension for the past half century, but Triumph was able to capture the appearance of a hard tail design by springing the entire rear section of the frame with a hidden shock absorber and spring.
This gives the desired look of a clean frame, without the jarring ride. Harley-Davidson pioneered this solution with its Softtail line of motorcycles in the 1980s.
Riders need only strip off the heinous plastic chain guard and reflector to complete the Bobber's period style.
Though flat handlebars are the orthodox bobber style, the rebels-within-the-rebel-subset prefer towering "ape hanger" bars, and Triumph will accommodate that preference with optional handlebars.
The Bobber's solo seat is adjustable fore-and-aft to suit the rider's height. The rear suspension hides beneath the seat, where you can't see it unless you're looking.
The Bonneville Bobber uses Triumph's new water-cooled line of 1200 cc twin-cylinder engines, delivering the sound riders expect with newfound muscle. It is even practical, as maintenance intervals have increased to 10,000 miles.
Congratulations to Triumph for the Bobber's aesthetic success. It will be curious to see whether buyers notice the style's most significant shortcoming before discovering they have no ability to fulfill requests for a ride from attractive people they'd like to get to a little know better.