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Justin Del Prado on Bobbers and Choppers

A Talk with the Experts...

BobberRepublic.com has invited a number of motorcycle experts and Bobber artists to give their opinions and personal views on Bobbers, Choppers and other custom bikes. Not with the intent to find alignment (nothing lost if we do or if we don't) but rather to deepen the subject.

Justin Del Prado On this page we got Mr. Justin Del Prado, owner/operator of DP Customs from Phoenix, Arizona, United States.

Justin has specialized in Hot Rods and Bobbers, and the Harley Davidson Ironhead is his favourite engine to work with. Recurring themes in his designs are bare metal surfaces and oldschool symbols like bomber nose art.

Examples of his work are the "Betty" Bobber, the "Bomber" Bobber and the Red Hot Rod that can be viewed on the Ironhead Bobbers site.

Photo of the Betty Bobber by Justin of DP Customs The Bettie Bobber

Justin on Bobbers

What makes a Bobber a Bobber?

Justin: "Take a loaded-up sloppy bike, strip the fat off of it and you have a Bobber. The rake is usually stock with a solo seat and maybe a rear fender. Lots of apes on bobbers but I prefer drag bars for their riding position and handling. Sometimes I'll see a front fender if it goes with the theme.

You generally wont see extras on the bike like mirrors, saddle bags, reflectors or leather tassels.

Bobbers are often home-built on a working man's budget, so you get to appreciate the unique creativity that goes into each design. They're about bare-bones function and really reflect the personality of their owners."

"Original Bobber"?

Justin: "I would define an original bobber as any production bike, trimmed down to be as light and fast as possible.

My favorites are the early Harley's and Triumphs but I try not to discriminate. There's just something about their profiles, engines and frames that I love."

"Straight Bobbers" versus "Custom Bobbers"?

Justin: "I've always thought of a straight bobber as a home-made, stripped down version of an otherwise stock platform, like a Harley with a VIN#.

I consider custom bobbers being based on aftermarket frames, high dollar motors and parts with no true origin to any cycle manufacturer. I've seen some bitchin' customs but I would prefer an old Ironhead any day."

"Oldschool Bobber"?

Justin: "Some people complain that the term is over-used. I like it and believe it serves a purpose.

To me, oldschool bobbers reflect a timeless style that would have been popular 50 years ago. Starting with an older bike helps; retaining some of the original parts and patina. Even newer bikes can get away with the oldschool term if they use the right stuff. Tuck-n-roll upholstery, scallops, flames, springers and vintage bias-ply tires."

"Hot Rod Bobber"?

Justin: "Think of the cars in American Graffiti. Check out Two Lane Blacktop and spend some time at the dragstrip. If you take that culture and put it into your bobber, you'll have a hot rod on two wheels.

Keep the lines low, minimize flashy chrome and make sure your exhaust is loud enough to make children cry!

If the budget allows, build your motor for max horsepower. I've got a turbo I plan to use on one of my next Ironhead builds and I can't wait."

Photo of the Red Hot Rod by Justin of DP Customs The Red Hot Rod is one of Justin's custom Harley ironhead Sportster motorcycles. She sure looks like one hell of a Pubracer!


"Vintage Bobbers" versus "Neo Bobbers"?

Justin: "Sure, I see the differences between the two and I prefer the Vintage Bobbers. I enjoy them both but really like the look of the old technology: drum brakes, old motors, lighting, etc.

The newer stuff is cool too, like billet brakes, banjo fittings and Evo's but the old stuff is my favorite. Plus, the Neo Bobbers probably don't break down enough for me. I need an excuse to wrench on my hogs while I enjoy a Pabst."

What does your favourite Bobber look like?

Justin: "I would lean toward a Harley Ironhead, welded hardtail, no chrome, machined raw metal, scallops or flames, classic tread tires, black laced wheels, springer front end, low profile stance, drag bars and some form of killer custom thermal wrapped exhaust."

Photo of the Fuel Tank of Justin's Bomber Bobber Bomber nose art goes along very well with Oldschool Bobbers: Justin's Bomber Bobber.

Justin on Choppers

What makes a Chopper a Chopper?

Justin: "Long and low with a stretched front end and a lot of rake. Although, I've heard some consider a bike a chopper as soon as something on it is chopped, regardless of the stance."

"Original Chopper"?

Justin: "Captain America's bike from Easy Rider."

"Short Chop"?

Do you ever use the expression "Short Chop"?

Justin: "I don't, but I've heard it's a Chopper with a little rake... or a Bobber with a lot of rake."


What does your favourite Chopper look like?

Justin: "I'm tired of the million dollar Custom Choppers on the the TV shows, loaded with chrome and billet.

So now, my favorite choppers are the old 70's style metal-flake bad boys with peanut tanks, girder front ends and huge sissy bars."




Justin on Cafe Racers

What makes a Cafe Racer a Cafe Racer?

Justin: "I don't know much about Cafe's except that I really like them. I dig their styling with the clubman bars and aggressive riding position. I've used some of their cues on my bobbers like low slung handle bars and checkered graphics. One day I will attempt building one!"




Photo of the Top Fuel Bobber by Justin of DP Customs

The Top Fuel Bobber. Justin likes to use Hot Rod and Dragster themes in his designs, like those Top-Fuel style upswept exhaust tips.


"Make sure your exhaust is loud enough to make children cry!" - Justin DP

DP Customs Contact Info

For more information, email Justin at DP Customs:

"justindelprado at gmail dot com"


Click to visit the DP Customs website


(February 2010)

The Experts' Views on Bobbers and Choppers

On these pages we give you the personal opinions and views of motorcycle experts and Bobber artists.

Discover what the other guys have to say: