Harley Davidson Motorcycles

Viking Bags Sportster Sissy Bars 101 Guide

Viking Bags Sportster Sissy Bars 101 Guide

1. What is a Sportster Sissy Bar?


A Sportster sissy bar is a narrow inverted V- or U-shaped metallic bar typically fixed behind the passenger seat towards the rear of your motorcycle. Its primary function is to extend the length of your motorcycle, providing additional places to carry your motorcycle luggage, and increasing your vehicle’s storage capacity. It is useful for carrying sissy bar bags sissy bar bags, roll bags, and other baggage too large to be secured anywhere else on your vehicle. However, it can also serve as a backrest for a motorcycle passenger thanks to built-in padding or the attached motorcycle luggage providing a cushion. Aside from its practical functions, a Sportster sissy bar can complement your motorcycle’s appearance by providing both a stylish and clean look.

While a Sportster sissy bar is not required for your motorcycle to function at optimal capacity, its utility makes it a useful piece of equipment to have if you are carrying an additional person or going on a long motorcycle trip. If you are interested in purchasing a Sportster sissy bar, this guide will give you a detailed overview of what Viking Bags has in stock.

2. Types of Sportster Sissy Bars

Sportster sissy bars are designed to be mounted on only Harley-Davidson Sportster models including Sportster 883 Low XL883L, Sportster 883 Custom XL883C, Sportster 883 Iron XL883N, Sportster 1200 Low XL1200L, Sportster 1200 Nightster Xl1200N, Sportster Forty Eight, Sportster Seventy Two, Sportster SuperLow, Sportster Iron 1200, and Sportster 1200 Custom XL1200C.

All Sportster sissy bars are constructed from thick round bar steel which helps ensure the equipment is weather-resistant, rustproof, and long-lasting.

Depending on the height of the motorcyclist, most can be sold either at short, medium, or tall size. At Viking Bags, all Sportster sissy bars are sold at a height of 25-inches tall from the base.

Sportster sissy bars are designed to be aerodynamic to prevent drag and ensure the optimal performance of your motorcycle when riding at high speeds. They are also tested for the maximum weight they can carry without straining your motorcycle’s suspension system.

While every Sportster sissy bar uses high-grade steel construction as a base, they differ in their design based on the type of finish applied. They can either come in stainless chrome or matte black paint. Both provide a protective surface that protects Sportster sissy bars from debris, rainfall, etc.

Another difference in the design between Sportster sissy bars is that they either possess a rounded or tipped tip.

3. Most Popular Sportster Sissy Bars

The Harley Sportster Ladderback Sissy Bar is constructed out of brushed stainless steel and is covered in a black powder coat. Along the length of the sissy bar, there are rungs connecting both sides, providing extra support for your passenger’s back and making it easier to secure any motorcycle luggage with straps. It can come with either bent or straight crossbars and comes with a hidden bracket design which helps make for easy installation. This sissy bar is specifically designed for rear shock Sportster models which makes it compatible with stock turn signals.

The Harley Sportster Wanderlust Sissy Bar with Fold Down Rack is made out of a thick half-round stainless steel bar which helps with its durability and makes it long-lasting. This product comes equipped with a foldable luggage rack with integrated strap slots which can either provide an additional place to secure extra motorcycle luggage or can provide a backrest for a passenger. Having a hidden bracket design that can be mounted under the struts, it is easy to bolt-on which makes for easy installation.

The Burly Tall Sissy Bar for Harley Sportster comes fitted with a comfortable detachable pad close to the head that helps provide comfort for your passenger when he/she is riding with you. This sissy bar can be easily mounted outside of the fender rails which can be both easily installed and removed.

The Gasbox Bolt-On Sissy Bar for Harley Sports comes designed with a pointed yet bent tip to make it easier to slide on motorcycle luggage with straps and to catch your baggage from falling off should you ride over bumps on the road. This product is meant to be bolted to a stock swing-arm Sportster which guarantees that your belongings stay secure even when on rough terrain.

The Iron Born Standard Sissy Bar for Harley Sportster 883 Low XL883L Matte Black comes designed with a rounded straight tip which lets you easily place motorcycle luggage while complementing your motorcycle’s appearance with a smooth look. Despite the simple look, the high-grade steel construction covered with matte black paint will ensure that it is weather-resistant and rustproof. To help ease the installation process, the sissy bar has a built-in cut-out that contours around your motorcycle’s turn signals rather than block the lights.

The Iron Born Blade Sissy Bar for Harley Sportster 1200 Nightster XL1200N Chrome is constructed with a pointed yet bent tip to make it easier to slide on motorcycle luggage with straps and to catch your baggage from falling off should you ride over rough terrain. Besides giving your motorcycle a shiny appearance, the chrome finish will help your equipment stay rustproof while having cleaner yet sharper edges to give it a more intimidating look when it is fixed upon your motorcycle.

The Iron Born Sissy Bar with Foldable Luggage Rack for Harley Sportster SuperLow Matte Black has a pointed yet bent tip to make it easier to slide on motorcycle luggage with straps and to catch your baggage from falling off should you ride over rough terrain. The foldable luggage rack opens towards the back to provide another ledge to attach additional motorcycle luggage. When not in use, it can easily be folded so that it is symmetrical with the rest of the sissy bar. Despite having an open frame, the closed luggage rack is thick enough that your passenger can rest their back against it.

4. Types of Sportster Sissy Bar Mounts

Depending on how often you rely on using a Sportster sissy bar, this will determine the type of mount that you will prefer using when securing it to your vehicle. You are given mounting hardware that comes with your purchase of a Sportster sissy bar. When installing your Sportster sissy bar, you either have the option of using a quick disconnect or hard mount system.

The quick disconnect system saves time by being easy to attach to your motorcycle. You can fasten or remove it from your vehicle within a few seconds. It is convenient if you do not use your Sportster sissy bar every day.

The hard mount method offers a more permanent means of keeping your Sportster sissy bar fixed to your ride. Though it takes longer to fasten or remove from your vehicle, the bolts remain sturdy when fastened tightly. Even in the face of the elements, the Sportster sissy bar will remain in place and will not be easily loosened.

5. Tips on How to Select A Sportster Sissy Bar

As you continue to browse for a Sportster sissy bar, you may have trouble narrowing down your choices. If you are presented with a plethora of options, it can be hard to determine which is the best choice for your specific motorcycle model. You may have difficulty deciding the criteria for what you are looking for in a Sportster sissy bar and determining which ones satisfy your concepts of functionality or style. Here is a list of suggestions for how to go about selecting the best Sportster sissy bar for you:

  • For height, a short Sportster sissy bar will reach the small of a passenger’s back, a medium Sportster sissy bar will go up to the center of a passenger’s back, and a tall Sportster sissy bar will cover the passenger’s entire back
  • For size, you can pick between slender and wide depending on how much surface area you will need to support a passenger or your motorcycle luggage
  • Sportster sissy bars can have built-in padding to help improve comfort or removable padding to make it easier to carry motorcycle luggage
  • Confirm that the Sportster sissy bar is capable of carrying a certain weight range and storage capacity without affecting the performance of your vehicle
  • Choosing between an adjustable and stationary Sportster sissy bar, pick the former if you transport many passengers with different views on comfort
  • Pick a Sportster sissy bar that is within an acceptable price range and is designed to fit the model you own

6. How to Install A Sportster Sissy Bar

At Viking Bags, you are provided an installation guide that you can download for free before or after purchasing your Sportster sissy bar. The instructions are easy-to-follow so that the process of mounting your new equipment is quick and simple. Here are the step-by-step directions for how to install your Sportster sissy bar:

  1. Clean your fender to prevent debris from getting stuck between the fender strut and sissy bar mounts
  2. Remove two fender strut bolts on each side, resulting in taking out a total of four
  3. Position the sissy bar so that the holes in the sissy bar mounts align with the fender holes on your motorcycle
  4. Keeping the holes aligned, insert the mounting bolts through the sissy bar mounting holes and then through the fender holes
  5. Tight all four fender strut bolts

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