Sissy Bar

Introduction to the Sissy Bar

A Sissy Bar, also known as a “passenger backrest”, is a staple accessory in the world of custom and cruiser motorcycles. It’s a device attached to the rear of the motorcycle that serves a variety of purposes, from a comfort add-on for passengers to a luggage carrier and a style element.

Understanding the Sissy Bar

The Sissy Bar is traditionally a tall, metal bar affixed to the rear fender or frame of a motorcycle. It extends upward, behind the seat. The design and height of the Sissy Bar can vary widely, from short and utilitarian to tall and ornate, often custom designed to complement the overall aesthetic of the motorcycle.

The name “Sissy Bar” is believed to have originated from the idea that riders or passengers who needed the backrest were ‘sissies’, but this term is now used affectionately within the motorcycle community.

Importance and Uses of a Sissy Bar

The Sissy Bar serves several key functions:

  • Passenger Comfort: It provides a backrest for the passenger, enhancing comfort during the ride, especially for long distances.
  • Safety: It adds an extra layer of safety, giving passengers something to lean against and helping to prevent them from sliding off the back of the motorcycle.
  • Storage Space: With a luggage rack attachment, a Sissy Bar can act as a convenient place to secure bags or other items during travel.
  • Styling: It is a popular aesthetic element in custom and cruiser motorcycle design, often featuring unique designs or embellishments.

Understanding Sissy Bar Bags

Sissy bar bags come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials, catering to different needs and aesthetics. They can range from compact pouches for essential items to large bags capable of carrying gear for a multi-day trip.

These bags attach to the sissy bar using a variety of methods, including straps, quick-release buckles, and Velcro. Most designs aim for easy installation and removal, while also providing secure attachment to withstand the demands of motorcycle travel.

Benefits of Sissy Bar Bags

Motorcyclists choose sissy bar bags for several reasons:

  • Storage Space: These bags offer additional storage for riders, allowing them to carry personal items, tools, or travel essentials without cluttering the bike’s main space.
  • Convenience: Sissy bar bags can be easily accessed by riders, even while on the road. They provide a practical solution for storing items that might be needed quickly or frequently.
  • Versatility: Available in a variety of designs, materials, and sizes, there’s a sissy bar bag to suit every type of bike and rider preference. Some models also come with features like water resistance, lockable compartments, or detachable sections.
  • Rider Comfort: For bikes with a passenger seat, a well-placed sissy bar bag can also act as a backrest, providing additional comfort on long rides.

Considerations When Choosing a Sissy Bar Bag

When selecting a sissy bar bag, riders should consider:

  • Size: The bag needs to be large enough to accommodate the rider’s storage needs, but not so large as to impede bike handling or passenger comfort.
  • Material: Durability is critical for motorcycle luggage. Leather and synthetic materials like Cordura are commonly used due to their strength and resistance to weather.
  • Attachment System: The bag should attach securely to the sissy bar and stay in place even at high speeds or over bumpy terrain. It should also be easy to install and remove.
  • Design: The style and design of the bag should complement the bike and reflect the rider’s personal taste.

Installing a Sissy Bar

The process of installing a Sissy Bar can vary based on the specific design of the bar and the motorcycle. Here are general steps involved in installing a Sissy Bar:

  1. Select the Right Sissy Bar: Choose a Sissy Bar that fits your motorcycle make and model. Consider the height, style, and whether you want additional features like a luggage rack or a cushioned backrest.
  2. Prepare Your Motorcycle: Depending on your motorcycle, you may need to remove the seat or other components to access the mounting points for the Sissy Bar.
  3. Mount the Sissy Bar: Attach the Sissy Bar to the motorcycle at the designated mounting points. This usually involves bolting the Sissy Bar to the frame or rear fender. Make sure it’s secured tightly.
  4. Reinstall Other Components: Once the Sissy Bar is installed, you can reinstall the seat or any other components you removed.
  5. Check Stability: Give the Sissy Bar a firm shake to ensure it’s securely attached and stable.

Remember, if you’re unsure about installing a Sissy Bar yourself, it’s always best to consult a professional to ensure safe and proper installation.


In conclusion, a Sissy Bar is a multifunctional accessory that adds both functionality and style to a motorcycle. It provides enhanced comfort and safety for passengers and can also serve as a handy luggage carrier. Whether you’re customizing your bike or preparing for a long journey, a Sissy Bar can be a useful addition to your motorcycle. However, proper installation is crucial for safety and performance, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.