VN 1500 Bobber

Back to the good old times.

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Technical Details

The VN 1500 takes us back to an era when wide tire sizes began with a 1, handlebars were higher than your arms could stretch and black was the only color a bike came in. Bikers were real men on rugged, hard machines, handmade music blared out of the jukebox and girls wouldn't have dreamed of belly button piercings or tattoos. Huge V8 sleds cruised the streets of the USA. Hang on, USA? It was also a time when no one expected that V8 pick-ups or bikes from Japan such as the Kawasaki VN 1500 would arrive on their shores, let alone that you could conjure up a good old retro bobber out of one. But as we've shown here, it is possible.


Soltau, the home of Delta Custom Bikes®, lies in the middle of the Luneburg Heath. You don't know where that is? Herbert the proud owner of a VN 1500 knew exactly where Soltau was and he had his bike shipped to our shop to get a decent exhaust fitted. Then he said "see what else you can do for me", which got us thinking of more radical measures. Why not transform the VN into a stylish Bobber. Not gaudy, just cool.


So we loaded an old Marlon Brando film into the VCR, listened to some 60's biker music & soon the VN 1500 was stripped down. The only other dilemma was to choose between sushi or burgers for supper at Delta. Of course a 96 model VN 1500 wasn't that old but there was some wear & tear combined with previous efforts at customization over the years. This made the decision to change the color of most metallic parts to a friendly black really easy.


The forks were completely stripped, cleaned and fitted with covers. They then joined the rear shock absorbers, brake calipers and ape hangers on a journey to get powder coated black. The wheel rims also took the same trip to get a 1956 Corvette red powder coating. The spokes weren't painted or coated as is the norm but given a black chrome finish before they were re-assembled on the modified standard hub.

When choosing the tires it was clear that fat ones would be out of place so old style white wall were selected. A 3x16 standard wheel with a 130 tire easily fits the forks and at the rear only light modification to the swing arm was required to fit the 4.5x15 wheel complete with a 170 tire. We chose our Stiletto rear fender and heavily modified it. For that old look we fitted slim mountings and also made it a floating fender which ensured a nice tight gap between it and the tire.

The sprung seat is just as unique a piece as the fender on the VN 1500. The Ape, in extra high format at 450mm, is mounted on modified standard risers and has all cables internally routed to maintain the Bobber's real clean look. External cables with these ape hangers would look like washing lines so it was a no brainer. To finish them off OMP mirrors, Nostalgic grips and bull's eye bar end indicators were chosen.

The drive-train only needed a bit of cosmetic attention with new covers and a new air filter, however with the original commission, a new exhaust, we at Delta made no compromises. A fat Delta Plus system with adjustable end caps ensures that the air taken in by the 1500cc engine exits producing a great sound.


When deciding on the paintwork it was clear that for the old style look only black would do. To give a bit of color we thought that the popular 50's method of hand painted pin striping would be perfect.
With so much Old School Made in Germany we really needed to find a suitable backdrop for some photos and what could be better than some cool cars from the good old days and a girl who lives and breathes Rock 'n’ Roll.                                                          For further details see here: Rock 'n’ Roll Location