Harley Davidson Motorcycles

Tall vs. Short Sissy Bars - The Best Sissy Bar Size for Harley Davidson Motorcycles

Tall vs. Short Sissy Bars - The Best Sissy Bar Size for Harley Davidson Motorcycles

Sissy bars are useful motorcycle attachments for various purposes. A sissy bar can function as a backrest for a more laidback riding experience or let you mount a luggage rack and bags for a better touring experience. Originally, sissy bars were used for safety purposes during the early 1960s and were considered mandatory in various states. Most motorcycle riders disliked sissy bars being mandatory and started installing sissy bars with unusual designs and shapes to protest against this rule. However, sissy bars have since become popular and useful motorcycle attachments, especially for those who love motorcycle touring.

Harley Davidson is an American motorcycle brand known for its vintage-style modern cruisers and touring bike lineup. Harley Davidson motorcycles also come with several modification options so that riders can customize their Harley motorbikes to suit their preferences. Most Harley Davidson motorbikes have comfortable ergonomics and offer a better touring performance; sissy bars can offer further improvement by increasing storage capacity. Sissy bars look cool on a Harley Davidson motorcycle because they help improve the classic look.

Custom sissy bars are also popular among motorcycle enthusiasts due to being a form of self-expression. They can be divided into three size categories: short, medium, and tall sissy bars. This article discusses what is the best sissy bar size for Harley Davidson motorcycles between tall and short sissy bars.


1. Short Sissy Bars

Short Sissy Bars

Photo Credit: @harley-davidson

Short sissy bars are more common than tall sissy bars due to their uniform look and compatibility with standard motorcycles. They are usually 6-16 inches tall with a backrest installed to help riders relax on long motorcycle trips. Short sissy bars can also be used as passenger grab rails for better support and safety. However, you cannot mount standard-sized sissy bar bags on short sissy bars.

2. Tall Sissy Bars

Tall Sissy Bars

Tall sissy bars can be used for various purposes, including mounting sissy bar bags and installing luggage racks and backrests. You can even mount a full-sized luggage bag on a tall sissy bar. Tall sissy bars usually have a height between 25-30 inches. However, a tall custom sissy bar can be between 30-36 inches tall. Riders can install backrests and multiple luggage bags, including sissy bar bags, backpacks, and dry bags.

3. Pros and Cons of Short Sissy Bars

3.1 Pros of Short Sissy Bars

  • Have a decent, factory-made look.
  • Offer lower back support.
  • Can be used as passenger grab rails for support and safety.
  • Firmly mounted and built with a sturdy structure.
  • Look good on almost every motorcycle.
  • Offers an upright back position.

3.2 Cons of Short Sissy Bars

  • Cannot mount multiple attachments.
  • Good for only mounting a backrest.
  • Cannot mount luggage bags for extra storage.
  • Not ideal for customization.
  • Not suited for taller riders.

4. Pros and Cons of Tall Sissy Bars

4.1 Pros of Tall Sissy Bars

  • Can mount multiple attachments, including a backrest, luggage bags, and luggage racks.
  • Can mount multiple luggage bags, including backpacks and sissy bar bags, to improve storage capacity.
  • Can also securely mount the luggage bags with tall sissy bars using locks.
  • Provide better back support for riders.
  • Offer a laid-back riding style.
  • Suited for long-distance rides and touring.
  • Have better customization options.
  • Can use to tie and prop up a tent while camping.
  • Can be used to mount the license plate, tail lights, and turn signals.
  • Can be used to hang riding gear and helmets.
  • Can give your motorcycle a classic look
  • Have enough space to mount luggage racks.


4.2 Cons of Tall Sissy Bars

  • Do not look good on motorcycles with low-mounted, flat, wide, or drag handlebars.
  • Only look good on heavyweight/bulky motorcycles with high-mounted, mini-ape handlebars.
  • Can lose their shape or bend if carrying too much weight.
  • Uncomfortable without a backrest.
  • Heavier than short sissy bars.
  • Difficult to maintain due to their large surface area.
  • More expensive than short sissy bars.


5. What is the Best Sissy Bar Size for Harley Davidson Motorcycles?

The best sissy bar size usually depends on personal preferences and the purpose of installing a sissy bar. However, most Harley Davidson motorcycles are bulky tourers with classic cruiser looks which makes taller sissy bars more suitable.

Taller sissy bars look best on motorcycles with high-mounted or mini-ape handlebars such as:

If you do not like to go on long tours or carry extra luggage, short and medium sissy bars can fulfill this purpose. For comfortable two-up riding and highway cruising, a short sissy bar with a backrest is adequate.

Short sissy bars are best suited on Harley Davidson models with flat, wide, and drag-style handlebars such as:


6. Aftermarket Parts and Modification Options

If you love customizing your Harley Davidson motorcycle to make it look better, offer more comfort, and perform better, Viking Bags has several aftermarket parts available at their online store. You can find good-quality saddlebags, sissy bar bags, tail bags, and backpacks to improve your motorcycle’s carrying capacity. Viking Bags also has comfortable aftermarket handlebars, crash bars, seats, fairings, backrests, and sissy bar pads specially designed for Harley Davidson motorcycles.

7. Takeaway

Sissy bars are useful motorcycle attachments that can improve safety, comfort, and aesthetic appeal. They can be in various shapes and sizes depending on their purposes. Harley Davidson motorcycles are popular among custom motorcycle builders as they are easy to modify and compatible with many aftermarket parts available on the market. They can have their classic and bulky looks improved by installing sissy bars. However, the preferences of the riders and the type of motorcycles they own will determine whether it is best to install a tall or short sissy bar. If you love motorcycle touring and need to transport extra luggage, tall sissy bars are the best option. If you love going on weekend rides with friends or family, a short sissy bar with a backrest will improve your Harley motorcycle. A rider’s decisions may also depend on how the bulkiness of the Harley bike and the type of handlebars. A tall sissy bar will look good on a bulkier motorbike with high-mounted, mini-ape handlebars. Meanwhile, a short sissy bar will look better on a motorcycle with flat, drag handlebars.

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