Build A Bike

So You Want To Build A Bike

So you want to build a custom bike, where do you begin, what style do you want, how much do you want to spend?

All of these things come to mind and unless you are some “A-List” celebrity it’s unlikely that you will have the budget for those bike you see on the TV?

So let’s come back a bit towards reality.

There are essentially three styles in vogue at the moment, Bobbers, Frisco Style Chops and Low Riders, they can be soft tails or hardtails although most bobbers and Frisco style chops these days are hardtails.

They aren’t built for long distance rides, they are more the bar hopper style bikes that you ride short distances at a time, say 30 miles of so, have a break and then ride some more. Bloody good fun if you are weaving around country roads, bloody painfully boring if you are trying to do motorways.

A soft tail low rider on the other hand can be ridden long distances quite comfortably, the choice is yours.


Most Bobbers are styled out of the Sportster stable, entry level 883’s or the 1200, or as is often the case when getting a bike built upgrading an 883 to a 1200 at the same time (you can read more about that in our 883 to 1200 conversion page).

The best engine to build from is the solid mount engine, anything up until 2002 after that they went rubber mount which makes life a little more complicated. Nothing stopping you building a bobber from a rubber mount engine but the frame has to be radically different and you have to solid mount the engine otherwise the belt or chain slaps about like a barber’s strop.


So that’s the explanation of the styles out of the way, now on to the costs, what do you want to pay?

Well, expect to pay a minimum price of £10,000 that’s if you donate the engine, if you want a complete build expect to pay around £14,000 for a basic build. You can always enhance the build but all of that counts as extras.


Four speeds are good but five speeds are better, there is a cost difference, expect to pay about £1000 for a 4 speed 883 engine or £1200 for a 5 speed. If you find a 1200 Custom engine these usually come in around the £1500 mark.

Expect to pay another £500 to have the engine stripped and rebuilt (I would always recommend doing that)

Bear in mind that Bobbers by their design are usually pretty small and compact, if you are a 6 foot plus bloke weighing it at 15 stones plus there you are going to look like a circus bear on a bike.

You Might Want to Consider a Softail

You might want to think about upgrading to the 1340 Evo version, due to the size of the engine lump everything scales up accordingly and can accommodate a much larger bloke. Or you can even go to the 1450 Twin Cam engine, same principle applies.

We have also seen a trend to build Bobbers out of Buell engines which are essentially the same at the Sportster engine with a few differences and much higher performance. They do make a good base engine though provided you can find one that hasn’t been thrashed. But we do recondition and rebuild the engines here in house so no need to worry about that with our engines