The Right Price For A New Bobber

Regarding new Bobbers built from the ground up, it seems that a price just under 20 K is the benchmark to attract new buyers. Why? Not only because of our economic recession impacting our wallets, but also because it’s the psychological and financial reference many bikers use when hesitating between a new or used stock Harley to customize versus a Bobber looking exactly like you want and that you can get in a relatively short ime without the hassle (pleasure) of doing it yourself. So, my mailbox is full of emails of custom shops producing a new Bobber just under $20,000. Each of them has his own recipe of parts and looks to convince you that you will not get “better” by shopping at a Harley place. Here another example built by Santiago choppers.


15 Responses to “The Right Price For A New Bobber”

  1. 1 Matt Dec 21st, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Everybody has a “bobber” for just under 20K. They all have the same components, look exactly alike, and are still not worth the money. In a 500lb. chassis, don’t use a 113″ engine, 6 speed trans, or $2500 paint job. Keep everything simple, keep costs down, and have a bike that the working class guy can afford. I know that you can’t build a new bike for less than this, but 20K is still a huge junk of cash to fork over in these “economic” times for a relatively stock looking custom.

  2. 2 Yann Dec 21st, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Am I wrong when I do the math? Can’t be, I’ve seen it done. For $20k you can start with a basic, real Harley platform that is intensively tested and proven to work, then go back and customize it any which way you want to deviate from the stock look to really show creativity and true ownership of your bike. That goes for going rigid, slamming it, one-off fab, etc… That’s where the character comes from – not pulling a fresh bike out of the box and riding away. It’s got me inspired.

    You get arguably an accountable warranty, a vast support system, easy financing and dependability proven tens-of-thousands of units wide. At least you know if works before you go back and molest it. I wonder who has a better R&D program, ones who sell 20 bikes a year or ones who sell 10,000 times that? As a layperson, I’d lean toward a proven machine then blame myself for any failures that I’ve applied to it. I’ll man up and show true ownership. I’ve got my aftermarket bike complete with its problems, now I’m gonna try working the other way. People have made a cool bike in this way for decades…my turn. Thoughts?

  3. 3 Doc Robinson Dec 21st, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Hey Matt, regarding, “Everybody has a “bobber” for just under 20K. They all have the same components, look exactly alike, and are still not worth the money” – I think you’ve overlooked a few things here buddy. There is a world of difference between the shoddy end of the bobber market – and believe me, there is one – and the top end. Alan from Santiago is a hugely experienced bike and trike builder and a lifelong rider and former racer at top level. He builds very well engineered and good handling machines. Try riding some of the lower quality ones and then hop on one of Alan’s and you will see what I mean. And yes, I ride a lot of different makes and models in my work as a motorcycle journalist so I do feel qualified to comment. In my opinion, Alan is right up there with the top builders in the world but somehow has been overlooked by the media for the most part. Why? I don’t know. Yes, he came from France but then, so did another world class builder we all know!

  4. 4 Dustin Dec 22nd, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I would like to mention Saxon Motorcycles new Henchman for 2009. Our bobber starts at just $18,800 MSRP. What does “base” include at that price? The following:

    – S&S 96ci engine
    – Rivera Primo 6-speed transmission
    – Brembo brakes
    – 41mm telescopic, billet front end

    For just $19,500, (still under 20K) you can have a springer front end and our Black Package, which includes several blacked-out components.

  5. 5 Biker Bob Dec 22nd, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    My hat’s off to anyone who can produce a motorcycle in the U.S.A., market it and get it financed, insured and still be in the black in todays economic times. We are all familiar with shoddy parts and shoddy builders and pretty much so is the public. Let the buyer beware is still my moto.

  6. 6 alan Dec 22nd, 2008 at 3:08 pm


    our bobber is built with american parts is time to save america and say fuck off to all this chinese
    also the bobber is everytime different and thata softail one

    now buy chinese if you like

    alan from santiago chopper

  7. 7 Joe Dec 22nd, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Doc Robinson. Evidently the other famous builder coming from france and that we all know is Cyril. I think that at one time Alan worked for Cyril. An excellent custom building formation.

  8. 8 Sheridan Dec 22nd, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Dustin, will you be sending the Henchman to Australia?

  9. 9 Steve, Dec 23rd, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    It appears to me that there are a whole lot of people, I’m sorry, “Experts” that seem to know what a bike should be and for what amount. Let me ask one question, if you think you can build a bike of Alan’s quality for that amount, Do it. I promise you, you will not have half the bike he makes. On top of that he is a really good guy, and a pleasure to talk to, every time I have seen him, local or at a National event. Some of you out there need to really just not be a part of this movement of custom built bikes. Please go to your local H-D store and pick out some cute chrome parts, pay them to “install” those parts and ride away in your new shiney leather jacket to the local burger stand and pose a little more.

    Steve from LRM Tampa, Florida

  10. 10 Lewis (St. Pete) Dec 23rd, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    The guys down at Diablo have a $15K Bobber / Chopper which isn’t like the others at all. I think the base model has the HD powertrain for those who wanted the “tried & true” and an upgrade for the cubic inch crowd. Brad Ruel used to be up here in the Tampa area so I can speak from first hand experience knowing his frames are top notch. Just my 2cents…

  11. 11 Cooldaddy51 Dec 24th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    A bike for 20,000? Ok lets compare apples . A rigid frame bobber ,or even a softail, basic 100 inch or less S&S maybe a roadmax 6 speed and a friggin uncomfortable seat.Move up $3900 bucks and compare this to the Big Dog Coyote. Softail frame 250 rear 117 c.i. motor ,baker six speed RSD 2 year unlimited mileage warranty billet and chrome fantastic paint with a company thats been around since 94′ ! Financing is only about $30 more. OK its not a bobber but who gives a #*! I built bobbers when they were real ,back in 1970 and they were good for short runs around town . Your ass could not take any more than that! I’m sure I’m going to hear from a lot of Joe “hard Cores” . But lets talk reality.

  12. 12 Duane Santee Dec 24th, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Thats not compairing apples, those bikes are not for you “Cooldaddy”, keep on the Soft side and stop trying to make a point with your Dig Dog POS RUB Machine, Get real dude!

  13. 13 cooldaddy51 Dec 27th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Hey Duane,
    I’m talkin about bang for the buck. Bikes within a certain price point and what you get for it.For your info rubs don’t buy 23000 bikes they go north of that number. I’d go on the “soft side” but my main ride is a 51 pan with 66 heads,69pump,stock springer mounted on a wishbone.Oh and by the way that translates to a Harley Davidson in case you didn’t know.Built it from ground up myself back in 73 . probably while you were still suckin on your mommas titty.Now thats reality dude!

  14. 14 Bobfather Dec 29th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    This is a lively subject apparently. Now for the guy that thinks buying a stock Harley and re-doing it into a Bobber is the way to go, you need to go back to math class. No way can you get the same quality parts for under $20k and have a decent bike. First thing is you’re buying the parts twice so the numbers don’t match. Second is the fact you’re stuck with things like frame specs. Going custom from the gate gets you the right frame specs and parts the FIRST time around, not some warmed over cookie cutter the factory spit out. R&D? Really? Harley thinks the softail frame is a great design, I’l admit the idea is cool and looks good but for true real world functionality it sucks for ride quality. Third is most of us custom builders are striving to use high quality US made parts, something Harley quit doing a long time ago.
    For the Big Dog lover, come talk to me after about 30 or 40k miles with that RSD tranny. Those transmissions are nothing but trouble over the long haul. Anyone manage to get that many miles on their RSD BD? Sorry but your BD and true Bobber aren’t comparing apples to apples. I also get a kick out of the supposed start year of BD. Every time I read something from them it gets earlier and earlier, soon they’ll be celebrating their 100th anniversary. They started in 1996 and really didn’t have any bikes on the road until late 1997 to be more accurate. Not 1994.
    Now I could pimp my own bikes on this but I think that’s low class. This is Santiago Choppers’ deal and I think they did a nice job on their Bobber.

  15. 15 Cooldaddy51 Dec 31st, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Ah jealousy is a strange thing it overpowers peoples ability to think with reason. 94 was the start up year. The year they acquired their manufacturers license. But seeing it was a powerful multibazillionaire that started Big Dog out of his garage (probably quite a large garage at that} Sheldon Coleman will never get the acceptance and admiration that he deserves. The fact is that Big Dog takes up 90% of Colemans time for 10% of His money.That you can take to the Bank my friend. You have got to give the man the credit that he deserves . He has taken the industry to a level larger than any other manufacturer. As far as RSD
    Are you speaking from experience with a Baker? I have customers out there riding their scorned by you Big Dogs for 35000 Plus miles RSD and all . Yes I’m a BDM dealer and think their great .But I do so from first hand experience ,sales service warranty etc. We also build our own Customs for customers wanting one off. But I will tell you right now you cannot afford to put together the same caliber of bike as BDM for the same amount of money. We have tallied up materials with the deepest volume pricing and you can’t do it and be profitable.Enjoy what you are doing praise the manufacturer and builder you like but give credit where its do . Even If they have more money than you. Better yet next time your in Wichita stop by the factory. Pretty impressive.

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