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Chrome vs Glossy Black Sissy Bars - Which is the Better Option?

Chrome vs Glossy Black Sissy Bars - Which is the Better Option?

With the growing demand for blacked-out motorcycle parts and continuing appreciation for classic chrome motorcycle parts, many motorcyclists still debate which is the better finish.


Aftermarket motorcycle parts, like headlight cowlings, handlebars, and exhaust muffler heads, are available in chrome and glossy black finishes. Motorcycle sissy bars are no different.


Despite having similar sizes, shapes, installation steps, and purpose, chrome, and glossy black sissy bars have their differences. Many motorcyclists have a hard time whether to make their custom sissy bars glossy black or chrome.

Motorcycle brands like Viking Bags offer glossy black and chrome sissy bars, but tend to favor black as the standard finish due to being the dominant stylish trend.


This article will compare glossy black and chrome sissy bars to help you determine the right finish for your sissy bars.

1. Choose the Finish That Complements Your Bike’s Styling

Unlike retro motorcycles with heavily-chrome parts, modern motorcycles feature a blacked-out look or a blend of chrome and glossy black for a more subdued styling. When choosing a specific sissy bar finish, consider the following:

  • Dominant Styling Cues on Your Bike 

Most riders choose a sissy bar based on the dominant styling of their bikes. Does your bike have more chrome or blacked-out parts? Choosing a finish that matches your motorcycle’s styling will complement your bike’s overall look. Meanwhile, introducing a contrasting finish will add a different dimension to your bike’s overall look. Though uniform styling is more prudent, sissy bars with contrasting finishes will help them stand out better.

  • Absence of Preferred Finish on Your Bike

Riders often have to choose between buying a motorcycle for its performance or styling. If you prefer the all-black styling, but the motorcycle you want has a chrome finish, you can install glossy black sissy bars to customize its look. Similarly, you can mount a chrome sissy bar if your motorcycle has mainly blacked-out parts.

2. More Conspicuous Finish - Chrome vs Glossy Black

Motorcyclists often complain about the distracting shine of the chrome finish. While a glossy black finish can also be shiny, it is not as flashy as chrome and draws less attention.


Both chrome and glossy black finishes have reflective surfaces. However, a glossy black sissy bar has a less harsh glare as a chrome sissy bar on a bright sunny day.

3. Ease of Maintenance - Chrome vs Glossy Black

A chrome finish tends to fade quickly and requires more maintenance than a glossy black finish. To maintain the shiny chrome look, riders must polish the sissy bars every two weeks.


On the other hand, a glossy black finish is low-maintenance and can be cleaned with water and soap. To maintain the shiny glossy black look, riders only have to wax the sissy bars every two to three months.


Though a chrome finish is highly resistant to corrosion, it can be easily damaged even due to a minor impact. Damage to the chrome finish could make the sissy bars vulnerable to rusting and other damaging factors. While stainless steel sissy bars are sturdy and corrosion-resistant, they can rust if regularly exposed to rain, heat, grease, and chemicals.


To fully repair a damaged chrome finish, use a metallic chrome spray or paint the exterior with  a chrome finish to restore its luster.


Glossy black paint is more durable and can handle minor collisions without getting scratched better than chrome paint. Plus, it is easier to restore glossy black paint as you only need to apply a few coats to restore a sissy bar’s original look.

4. Lighter Finish - Chrome vs Glossy Black

Although the difference is barely noticeable, chrome paint is slightly heavier than glossy black paint. However, the weight of chrome and glossy black sissy bars tends to be the same and has little effect on handling.

5. Ease of Customization - Chrome vs Glossy Black

If you decide to build your own sissy bar, you may want to know which finish is easier to apply.


For a glossy black finish, apply the paint on the sissy bars with a spray can. After the paint has dried, you can install the sissy bars on your bike. For a thick and durable glossy black finish, apply at least two coats of paint.


For a chrome finish, you may have to use electroplating. Electroplating involves using an electric current to deposit a chromium coating on the stainless steel. To ensure the chrome finish is durable and aesthetically pleasing, it should be about 0.005 to 0.01 mm thick. When applying a chrome finish, you may want to ask for professional help.

6. Quick Overview

Chrome Sissy Bars vs Glossy Black Sissy Bars
Complements Heavy Chrome Accents Complements Blacked-Out Look
Traditional & Classic Styling Modern & Bold Styling
Conspicuous  Subdued
Reflects Light Reflects Light
Shine Fades Quickly Long-Lasting Shine
High-Maintenance Low-Maintenance
Delicate Scratch-Resistant
Heavyweight Lightweight
Professional Help Required to Apply &  Restore Finish Application & Restoration Can Be Done At Home

7. Takeaway

Chrome and glossy black sissy bars are equally functional and stylish. But it is important to get a sissy bar with the right finish as it can change your bike’s overall look. Chrome and gloss black sissy bars add a unique touch to your bike with neither option having any real disadvantages.


If you are having trouble choosing a finish, it is best to choose glossy black sissy bars as they are easier to maintain. Compared to glossy black sissy bars, chrome sissy bars require more work in terms of maintenance and repair.


However, it is ultimately up to your preferences whether you want to use a chrome or glossy black sissy bar.

Reading next

Harley Davidson Sportster Sissy Bar Installation Guide
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