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Sissy bars and luggage racks: this week's Tip of the Week.

Kyle Bradshaw here with this week's CruiserCustomizing tip of the week.

We're going to talk about passenger backrests, commonly known as sissy bars, and their counterpart, the luggage rack.

So let's start with the sissy bar. Sissy bars, for the most part, are two separate pieces.

You've got the make and model specific mounting bracket, and the universal backrest.

Cobra and MC Enterprises aside, most sissy bars are universal. It's the mounting bracket that's make and model specific.

So what's the easiest way to find the correct sissy bar for your particular application?

When looking for a sissy bar for your bike, find a bar/pad setup that you like,

take note of the manufacturer of that particular combination, and then search mounting brackets by that manufacturer.

That's going to be the easiest way to ensure proper fit of the sissy bar, mounting bracket combination for your particular set-up.

So what are the common things that people look for when purchasing a sissy bar?

There's really three different angles.

You've got the height of the bar, the size of the pad, and whether you want the permanent mount or quick release option.

Cobra sissy bars are a great example of bar height.

You've got a mini, a short, and a standard; basically, short, medium, and tall.

So what are the differences?

The mini's going to sit right down against the seat and it's going to keep the passenger from sliding off the back of the bike.

It's not going to provide a whole lot of back support.

The short or standard sissy bar is going to give you support right at the lower back,

and the tall sissy bar is going to sit right in between your passenger's shoulder blades,

giving them the most secure feeling while sitting on the back of your bike.

The second thing people usually ask about is pad size.

As you can see, here we've got two different size pads on those sissy bars.

Now larger pads are available from most manufacturers.

So what about mounting?

Most every sissy bar out there is a specific, direct mount that bolts to the frame of your motorcycle.

So what if you want to provide the comfort of a backrest for your passenger when they're on the bike,

but when you're riding solo, you want that puppy off?

National Cycle has an awesome system that allows you to snap the backrest on and off your bike within seconds.

If I were going to recommend somebody a quick-release backrest, the National Cycle quick release is definitely what I would recommend.

If you're on a budget, keep in mind that all of these sissy bars are bound to the bike using four bolts.

Four bolts in, four bolts out, sissy bar on, sissy bar off. It's that simple.

If you're looking to add a luggage rack to a sissy bar you've already got, the most important thing you could do

is to know what manufacturer of sissy bar you've got on the bike,

because that's the manufacturer of the luggage rack you need to purchase.

Now what I want to stress here is that sissy bars and luggage racks really need to be manufacturer specific.

If you've got a Cobra backrest, you need a Cobra luggage rack.

If you've got a Jardine backrest, you need a Jardine luggage rack. It's that simple.

Common sources of confusion. Saddlebag brackets generally use the same mounting holes as a sissy bar.

So what does that mean? Most of the manufacturers produce their products for a stock motorcycle,

so sissy bars are made for a stock bike without saddlebags.

Saddlebag brackets are made for a stock bike without a backrest.

In some cases you're going to need to purchase longer bolts from the hardware store in order to get both of these pieces to work together.

It may sound silly, but another common source of confusion is the manufacturer photo.

Most all manufacturers give us a stock photo of this complete unit right here.

It's got the mounting bracket, it's got the sissy bar, and it's got the luggage rack.

Keep in mind that these three pieces are usually sold individually.

In the metric market there's about six really good manufacturers of sissy bars and luggage racks. Which manufacturer is right for you?

If you're looking for the simplest, most easy sissy bar to bolt onto your bike, I would probably recommend the Cobra.

If you're looking for quick release, National Cycle would be the manufacturer for you.

If you're looking for nothing but quality, Jardine or Custom World are probably your two best options.

And if you're looking for just plain badass, Kuryakyn has just released what they call their Raptor bar. Awesome unit.

In closing, there's just a couple things I'd really like to drive home.

Number one, keep it manufacturer specific. Mounting brackets, sissy bar, and luggage rack all need to be from the same manufacturer.

Number two, most sissy bar/luggage rack combinations are sold separately.

Thank you for joining me for CruiserCustomizing's Tip of the Week.

Until next week, take care, and ride safe.

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