Ever wondered if that seat-back shaped bar on the back of a motorcycle has a name? It does. It’s called a sissy bar. Despite it’s derogatory sounding name, a sissy bar can be a critical addition to your motorcycle gear that provides you with great versatility, carrying capacity, and safety improvements.
Most people assume that the sissy bar exists to provide a backstop for passengers riding behind the motorcycle driver. That is indeed one use for the sissy bar. However, even those who rarely carry passengers can benefit from having a sissy bar on their bikes. Read further to learn a few reasons why you should install a sissy bar if you own a motorcycle.
Riding on the back of a motorcycle can leave a passenger feeling somewhat vulnerable. Not only are you exposed and at the mercy of the driver, but you also have nothing to cling to but the motorcyclist in front of you. Having a sissy bar behind a passenger can provide both comfort and enhanced safety. It gives the rider a back rest and a handhold that is affixed to the bike. Some sissy bars feature padding for additional comfort, but the primary purpose of the sissy bar is safety. In fact, in some areas, a sissy bar of a defined height must be present for a motorcyclist to carry a passenger at all.
While the origin of the sissy bar is cloudy by most accounts, many believe the first sissy bars were merely elongated fender struts. These struts served to connect the rear fender to the motorcycle frame and hold it above the wheel. However, over time, those struts became convenient handholds for passengers, and bikers began to attach extended sissy bars to the fender struts to maximize their convenience.
Let’s face it. When you’re riding a motorcycle, your options for carrying cargo are slim. Aside from saddlebags that can hold a limited about of gear, there is nowhere else on the bike where cargo can be safely stowed without substantial modifications. Sissy bars offer another option for carrying gear. They are rigid since they’re attached to the frame. That means that backpacks and bags can be attached to the bar with safety and security. As long as the load doesn’t throw off the bike’s balance, anything is fair game for attachment to the sissy bar.
Motorcycles with sissy bars conjure thoughts and images of choppers and the free-wheeling, cross-country nomadic cyclists from decades past. Those designs were glamorized by Hollywood, and they have left a lasting impression on the American psyche. Sissy bars complete the look of any bike and impart an old school credibility on the appearance of modern motorcycles.
If you own a motorcycle, there are plenty of reasons to add a sissy bar to your bike. While they do provide a safety advantage, they also offer a host of other practical benefits that make them a worthwhile investment in your ride.
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