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Old 01-05-2011, 06:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Cruiser bobtails - love em' or hate 'em?

What is it about the bobtail rear fender on my Softail (see sig) that draws so many comments? People either love or hate them. Of all the mods I've done to the look of my bike, the one untouched piece that other motorcyclists hone in on is the bobtail.

I look at my rear fender and see beautiful sculpted metal artwork.
Others see it and ask, "Are you going to change that fender?".
No. Why would I?

Rear fenders can be changed rather easily, and I've seen some cool chopped or bobbed rear fenders. With that said, even if I were to trade my sheetmetal for a limited paint set, I would still choose to remount the bobtail.

On a side note: Right now for me, the main concern is saving and pinching every cent for my eventual bigger build motor. I don't want to spend precious $$$ (or, $$$$) changing for the sake of change something external unless there is a reason to, like an unexpected makeover due to a mishap.

Is there some other reason to alter the rear that I'm not realizing? What do you have on your cruiser and what made you choose that look?

P.S.) I posted in the General H-D Talk because of the cruiser model crossover that have bobtails. Not to mention, I'm bored with the no-riding and getting the house ready for sale.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder,can't be any other way.Some of the most beautiful pieces of machinery to me do nothing for close friends of mine.No biggy.I love the looks of a bagger with or without the shield and bags.Like having a convertible bike to me the best of both worlds.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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As Dog155 said beauty is in the eye of the beholder.. Personally I dont like the bobtail on my bike however, it doesnt look bad on others...I guess just because its mine..When the bobtail was on my bike all I could see was a ducks ass! Seriously though, I dont even notice it on others.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I like the bobtails enough that I put one on my FXR. What I don't like about them is the stock tail light sticking out so far, so I made a bracket to mount the tag and light deeper.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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No question, Dog155 said it. That's why Harley makes different models; Heritage Softail & cruisers couldn't be more different, as with the touring bikes. There is a place for each. My bro loved his '94 Heritage and now his '05 RK, but I don't care for either.
'Different strokes for different folks..." I so believe this that I even think it's great Harley did the V-Rod - if I had unlimited $$$, I'd add a Night Rod to my stable.....

Do I love a bobtail????? Duh....why do I ride a Wide Glide (the real one - new one is an imposter)? But then, 'Lord willing...', my next addition to my stable will be a Road Glide, min. 103"......keeping the WG for my kids to argue over......

Problem only comes when we make different tastes a "right/wrong" or "good/bad" issue. Those belong only in the realm of religion and politics - not bike preferences.......

PS: Scrubs - I tell all my Softail cruiser friends that the Softail Custom, Standard (no more) are Wide Glide imitators.... just Wide Glides with the Softail frame..... as I'm "old school" through and through, the WG is still my fav ride. But if they quit making the Dyna, I'd have to find a Softail Custom....that too no longer made..... Interesting that my 28 yr. old son, who I got on an '02 Sporty for his first ride, got a new '10 Softail Custom......"imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...." Made his daddy proud.....
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Personally, I love the bobtail. I think the curvature of that fender really works with the lines of your Softail. I have a 1987 Honda Super Magna with that sort of tail as well, and I think it just fits - couldn't imagine another rear fender on that bike.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Test question....

Ok, experts. What was the first year Harley came out with the bobtail fender?

I've seen a '73 Ironhead Sporty with one, but don't remember anything earlier???
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I am new to the forum and by no means an expert on what Harley does and does not do.

Although, I do remember back in the late 50's, early 60's seeing riders take the old rear fenders (with the flair on the very back bottom) rotate them forward and cut off about 6-8"s off to get that Bob'd look. I remember when there were only a few models to choose from so most riders just started cutting off, removing all that extra weight (stuff) to get a streamlined look of the early choppers/bobber's.

There were no after market off the shelve stuff to add to the bike in order to customize it. You had to go to hardware stores, plumbing stores etc.(not the supermarket stores i.e., Home Depot, Lowes), and automotive junk yards in order to buy stuff to be able to work on your bike.

Yup torches, hacksaws, and files became one of your best friends in these types of modifications. Let us not forget the iron oxide paints in order for the metal not to rust (too much)after we sawed, filed and burned those parts into transformations of what we considered "The Art of a Chopper"

BUT!!!/??? What do I know
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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going to the wayback machine, I remember we used trailer fenders for bobtailing.
IMO it looks good on some bikes, not so much on others.
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think the bob tail that he's talking about is the one that looks like a ducks ass not a bobbed tail.

I actually bought the Fat Bob because I like the rear fender; I've since bobbed the bike with a 2010 wide glide fender.
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:49 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The Nighttrain bobbed fender is the most beautiful rear fender created by Harley,although I gotta agree with Nightrob--I always thought the exact same thing--duck's ass! When I had my Train, I always stared at that rear fender,& liked it especially after it was lowered. But that's OK--I look at my Fatboy & think "Roman Helmet". I like the Nighttrain-type fender ONLY with the stock taillight--can't stand those recessed lights or side mounts with nothing left there. Also, my favorite is the Superglide-Lowrider style fender. The Harley Rear Fenders that to me are disgusting are:

1. Deuce
2. Streetbob & Nightster
3. Boattail
4. V-Rod
5. Post '06 WideGlide & current WideGlide. What was the design team smoking when they came up with THAT?
6. 200 rear tire Softail fender--way too fat & bloated looking, especially on the new Fatboy.


I am thinking about swapping the rear fender on my Fatboy for the Ducktail bobber. Wonder if it's been done?

I also like the rear fenders on the newer framed RoadKings--almost looks like you could remove the bags & have a 60's-70's style bobjob.

Last edited by dickey; 01-07-2011 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:11 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Dickey - know a guy in our HOG chapter that put a bobtail on his Fatboy, and it looks great......really catches you by surprise if you know your Harley's.....you do a double-take and think, "That's a Fatboy, but something's really different about it??????"

Whassa ducktail?

STILL waiting for someone to tell me the first year the bobtail fender came out........?????
"Enquiring minds want to know....."
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The first "Ducktail" I can remember was 1984. First year softail and evo and had a kicker too. Keep in mind that I'm a few brain cells short of a picnic tho .....

I liked that fender enough that I mounted one on a sporty along with the luggage rack and a pair of lowrider shocks.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I hate 'em on any bike.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:39 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Scrubs is reading this now saying WTF is this?
Yeah, I'm talking about the "duck's azz"! wtf?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickey View Post
The Nighttrain bobbed fender is the most beautiful rear fender created by Harley.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Bligh View Post
I hate 'em on any bike.
See! What did I tell you? It's either love or hate for the duck's a$$. Why?
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