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Should You Buy New or Used Motorcycle Sissy Bars? - Beginner Buyer’s Guide

Should You Buy New or Used Motorcycle Sissy Bars? - Beginner Buyer’s Guide

A motorcycle sissy bar is a popular accessory that can help improve storage, comfort, and security. Sissy bars are also a way for motorcyclists to customize their motorbikes.

Many riders make custom sissy bars as a hobby, while others earn money for building and selling quality sissy bars to other motorcycle enthusiasts.

Newer riders who recently got their motorcycle licenses and their first motorcycles are also inclined to install a sissy bar and backrest. Installing  aftermarket motorcycle parts like sissy bars onto entry-level motorcycles help novice riders ride more safely when carrying luggage or practicing riding with a passenger.

But riders often struggle to decide whether to purchase a new sissy bar from a top-tier brand like Viking Bags or to buy used ones from the second hand market. This article discusses the pros and cons of buying new and used motorcycle sissy bars.

1. Things to Consider Before Buying New or Used Sissy Bars

Here are a few things to consider before buying a new or used sissy bar for your motorcycle:

1.1 Fitment

Most novice riders only keep their entry-level motorcycles for a couple of years. To improve your riding skills, you will have to upgrade to a more powerful and heavier motorcycle. Motorcycle sissy bars that could fit on your entry-level bike might not fit the more advanced two-wheeler you plan to get in the future. This is because bigger motorcycles usually have thicker rear tires and a wide rear fender, which makes it necessary to install the bike-specific sissy bar.

If you purchase a new sissy bar from a premium brand, it may become a wasted investment if it only fits your entry-level motorcycle. If you plan to transition to a better motorcycle, a used sissy bar would be the more budget-friendly option.

1.2 Price

High-quality branded sissy bars can be expensive, costing around $250-$400 with the inclusion of fender mounts, sissy bar pads, and luggage racks. Although sissy bars are durable and worthwhile investments, there is usually no point purchasing an expensive one if it will only be used for a couple of years. 

Motorcycle sissy bar brands typically sell their products at fixed prices. Unless discounts are provided, motorcyclists have to purchase sissy bars. Secondhand markets tend to be more negotiable as sissy bar prices can be lowered if you provide compelling reasons. You can also ask the seller to lower the price based on minor flaws of the sissy bar. For example, the bar may have chipped off paint or rust spots. You can easily fix these flaws at home to give your sissy bar a new look after buying it at an affordable rate.

1.3 Modification & Ease of Installation

Though a new sissy bar may fit perfectly on your motorcycle, a second hand sissy bar may not. You may have to cut, grind, and modify the sissy bars to adjust their spread distance, height, and mounting style before installation. To ensure the sissy bars fit on your motorcycle, you may have to take your ride to a mechanic for modifications. Keep in mind that doing so may result in the overall cost of purchasing used sissy bars may end up being almost as expensive as getting new ones.

Meanwhile, new sissy bars can be bolted on and require little to no modifications to install. Whether you choose a rigid-mount sissy bar or a detachable sissy bar, it can be installed quickly without needing to visit a mechanic.

1.4 Availability, Compatibility, & Variety

Searching for used sissy bars requires spending a lot of time searching second hand markets to find the right sissy bar for your motorcycle. Meanwhile, new sissy bars are easier to browse for on websites, come with variety, and can be purchased online.

Most motorcycle companies that sell sissy bars provide a list of motorcycles compatible with specific products. Moreover, riders can choose rigid, quick-release, non-padded, or padded sissy bars available in the following finishes/coatings:

  • Glossy Black Finish
  • Chrome Plated
  • Matte Stainless Steel Finish
  • Black Powder Coated

1.5 Sissy Bar Hardware Kit 

Most new motorcycle sissy bars include a hardware kit, especially if you purchase from a renowned brand. On the other hand, if you buy sissy bars from the secondhand market, you may not be provided a hardware kit to go with it.

1.6 Visible Flaws

Secondhand sissy bars may have visible flaws such as scratches, chipped paint, dull chrome plating, rust, and deformed side plates. New sissy bars are smooth, shiny, and come without visible flaws. Moreover, companies are now making rust-proof finishes that protect sissy bars from bad weather and other factors that could cause damage.

1.7 Quality & Durability

New motorcycle sissy bars are made of high-quality, rustproof, durable, and round stainless steel bars. The welded points can withstand vibrations, stress, drag, and other causes that could weaken the steel bars and loctite threadlockers. Though sissy bars already have considerable longevity, you can increase their lifespans further by taking proper care of them. Before placing your order, you should check out customer reviews to see what other people had to say about the sissy bars.

For used motorcycle sissy bars, durability and quality aren’t always guaranteed. If a rider mounts the sissy bars onto the swingarm or adopts an aggressive riding style, either can weaken the welded joints.

1.8 Warranty

New motorcycle sissy bars come with at least a one-year warranty, allowing you to have your bars fixed or replaced without charge.

Secondhand sissy bars do not come with a warranty and any defects will have to be repaired out of your pocket.

1.9 Peace of Mind

A quality sissy bar can help give you peace of mind, especially when carrying luggage. You won’t have to worry about a reliable sissy bar being shaken loose by vibrations or your luggage falling off and getting caught in the rear tire. Although a used sissy bar can be just as useful as a newer one, its reduced durability makes it difficult to fully rely on.

1.10 Maintenance

Compared to brand new sissy bars, second hand ones are easier to maintain. With a new sissy bar, motorcyclists have to be extra careful to protect the barsa fro scratches and to maintain the lustre of the finish.

On the other hand, second hand sissy bars can be used roughly, allowing young riders to focus on improving their riding skills instead of spending all of their energies taking care of the expensive sissy bars.

2. New vs Used Sissy Bars

Used and new sissy bars have their advantages and disadvantages. Here is a quick overview of all the pros and cons of buying new or used motorcycle sissy bars:

New vs Used Sissy Bars
New Sissy Bars
Pros Cons
Readily Available Expensive
Wide Selection Fixed Prices
Easy to Install  
Compatible with Many Motorcycles  
Flawless Look  
High Quality  
Hardware Kit Included  
Peace of Mind  
Warranty Included  
Used Sissy Bars
Pros Cons
Budget-Friendly May Require Modification; Not as Easy to Install as New Sissy Bars 
Negotiable Prices Harder to Search Specific Version
Easy to Maintain Limited Compatibility
  Can Rust

Visible Defects - Chipped Paint, Scratches, Torn Backrest 

Hardware Kit Often Not Included

No Warranty

3. Takeaway

Choosing between a used or a new sissy bar can be a hard decision, especially if you are working with a tight budget. However, based on the pros and cons listed above, it is clear that new sissy bars are better than used sissy bars for all riders.

Reading next

Quick & Easy Rigid-Mount Motorcycle Sissy Bar Installation Guide
How to Choose the Right Sissy Bars for Your Motorcycle?

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