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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK,

I'm not 100% sure how useful others will find this, or myself, for that matter but here it is.

I have been looking at sissy bar options for 2 reasons; 1) to improve seating position and comfort for my wife when we ride together and 2) so I can use a tail/sissy bar bag and have it hold solidly to the sissy bar.

So, I've been thinking about the kuryakyn tall sissy bar, but I don't want to loose the 3" of luggage rack. I don't want to have to put a red ribbon on a tail bag because it's sticking off the bike like a long piece of lumber :D It might still be the absolute best solution for comfort though.

Anyway, I was looking for something to do today and decided to take my sissy bar apart and look for ideas.

After a few hours (including dinner and a trip to Home Depot) I modified my backrest. it now sits about 2"-2.25" higher, which also has the lowest part of the pad (since the bar is on an angle) about 1/2" further back. it's not much but it does get you a tiny bit more seat room.

NOTE: I wanted to do this so that if I didn't like the modification I could mount the pad the same as it was originally made to mount, and I can.

So, here is what I did:

1) remove the sissy bar from the bike and removed the pad from sissy bar.
2) Remove the little staples that hold the leather on the bottom of the pad and remove the leather from the pad.
3) The pad inside the leather is basically made up of 2 pieces; 1) the plastic back plate and 2) the foam pad (there is also a plastic wrap to protect the pad).
4) I put the sissy bar on the back of the plastic plate as it would normally mount in the channel and the just slid it down about 2" to see where it would sit and to make sure the existing holes in the sissy bar itself would still be about 1-1.5" above the bottom of the plastic back.
5) With a heat gun I started to heat the area where the sissy bar crosses the plastic back but is not in the channel (you'll see what I mean in the pictures). Do this slowly and be careful with the heat gun. It's really not hard but just takes a little time and be sure to wear thick leather gloves as the plastic does get hot. Be careful and if you are not comfortable get someone who has experience with a heat gun to do this.
6) Continue to heat and mold the plastic back plate so essentially it has 2 channels for the sissy bar to sit into. The first mounting channel is the standard mounting position and runs closest to the top of the plastic back plate. The 2nd mounting channel is the new channel you are creating. Note, it doesn't need to be perfect. once the sissy bar is mounted in the new channel position you can improve it with some continued heat and molding.
7) A tip: Be careful not to bend things too crazy and subsequently have the original mounting nuts on the plastic back angled so much that the bolt coming through the sissy bar won't thread. If you do this it's easy to fix. Just get them as aligned as possible with some heating, then just get them started with a bolt through the sissy bar. Then heat the back plate a little and then tighten up the sissy bar. With a little heat and then tightening it will pull them back into alignment. Let it cool before you loosen things up.
8) OK, now you have 2 channels where the sissy bar can sit in the back plate. You need to create some threaded mounting points for the sissy bar to bolt into for the new channel position you just created (similar to the stock mounting threads). I picked up some furniture mounts at Home depot. It was the only store open or I might have found something nicer and the exact same thread as the stock bolt (that would be even better).
9) with the sissy bar in the new grove mark the holes on the plastic plate and drill them the right diameter to fit the thread mount.
10) NOTE: My thread mounts had a longer thread channel than the points that hold the thread mount in place and prevent it from spinning. To ensure that the thread sits flat with the plastic channel surface (so the sissy bar sits flat in the channel) I ground them down to the same length as the little points. I would say it was about 4-5mm long after grinding.
11) then just heat the area around the new holes you drilled and then, from the opposite side of the channel (the side of the back plate that the passenger would rest against) push the threads into place, the little pins will push into the warm plastic, and seat it flush on the channel side. Let the plastic cool. Do this for both mounting bolt locations.
12) Once everything has cooled you can mount the sissy bar and bolt it up in the new channel location. This is the time to do some fine tuning of the plastic back plate if you want to improve the way the plate sits on the sissy bar. Just heat the areas you want to mold and mold them with the sissy bar in place. Just be careful not to overheat and totally melt anything, don't forget your leather gloves, and don't bend it all to heck and mis-align the original mounts again :)
13) Now you need to trim some of the foam from the back of the foam pad since the new channel you made in the plastic pack plate will need groves in the foam so that is sits flush. It's pretty easy, just a pair of scissors. Trim it a little bit at a time and keep checking the fit.
14) put the plastic liner (don't forget this like I did) and leather back on the pad, and mount it on the bike.

I wish I had taken more pictures but maybe I'll take it all apart and put it back together and take more pictures. I want to put a little stuffing in the back of the pad anyway to fill the original unused channel and to take the wrinkles out of the pad. I also want to come up with a way to hide the holes in the leather where the original bolts went through. They sure made those holes really big.

Hope this might be useful for someone. I'm hoping it will give my wife a little more room, a little better support, and will allow me to have a tail bag mount more solidly on the sissy bar.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I took some more pictures I thought would be helpful.

Note: the plastic wrap not only protects the foam pad from moisture but makes it way easier to put the leather back on.

The picture of the foam shows where I cut away some foam for the new channel I made in the plastic backrest. I also took some better pics of the plastic backplate so you can see where I modified it.

A little stuffing in the old channel took the wrinkles out of the leather too. I put some small denier iron ons on the holes in the leather from the previous mounting holes. they could be removed easily if you wanted to move it back to the original mounting position. I just haven't found any leather patch yet so this is temporary.

Later I also took about 1/2" (max) of foam off the bottom 2/3rds of the foam pad (on an angle) to make it sit a little more parallel to the riders back when on the sissy bar. It gives as a tiny little more seat room and fits better with the curve of the back. The pad is so thick it's not an issue - there is still tons of cushion. You can see this in the side angle pictures where it is mounted again.

Hope this is helpful for someone. It only took a little time, and literally $1-2 to do this modification.
 

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What was the sissy bar item # so I can look it up ,I called them and they didn`t have a sissy bar specific for my 2008 v rod thanks for the post and the info-Noel:notworth:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
hey,

I did it to my 2002-2006 touring sissy bar and backrest. I think it is backrest pad part #51569-01 and works with sissy bar # 51126-01A or 51145-04A. I have the 180 rear fender.

However, I think that the instructions are probably very generic and should be able to be applied to many different HD backrests. I don't know for sure but would imagine that many of them are designed very similarly and it's really easy to take the leather off and have a quick look.

I don't know myself what the sissy bar model # is for a 2007 and later but I'm pretty sure they are available.

thanks,
 

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You should see the size of our sissy bar bag. It's bigger than both saddlebags combined. Then again, we have the sissy bar for it. The bag was about $150 at Atlanta HD.

I cut down a "Noodle" pool toy and wrapped it with flamed duct tape to put under the bag and keep it up off the tail light. With the saddlebags we had enough storage for a week long vacation.
It's a good thing we have the Arnott's air ride.
 

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I took some more pictures I thought would be helpful.

Note: the plastic wrap not only protects the foam pad from moisture but makes it way easier to put the leather back on.

The picture of the foam shows where I cut away some foam for the new channel I made in the plastic backrest. I also took some better pics of the plastic backplate so you can see where I modified it.

A little stuffing in the old channel took the wrinkles out of the leather too. I put some small denier iron ons on the holes in the leather from the previous mounting holes. they could be removed easily if you wanted to move it back to the original mounting position. I just haven't found any leather patch yet so this is temporary.

Later I also took about 1/2" (max) of foam off the bottom 2/3rds of the foam pad (on an angle) to make it sit a little more parallel to the riders back when on the sissy bar. It gives as a tiny little more seat room and fits better with the curve of the back. The pad is so thick it's not an issue - there is still tons of cushion. You can see this in the side angle pictures where it is mounted again.

Hope this is helpful for someone. It only took a little time, and literally $1-2 to do this modification.
 
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