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SISSY BARS

A sissy bar, also called a "sister bar" or "passenger backrest" is an addition to the rear of a motorcycle that allows the rider or passenger to recline against it while riding. Alternately it can serve as an anchor point or support for cycling supplies that are not part of the bike, including spare helmets, backpacks, or sleeping bags and other camping gear or items a rider feels is needed, such as tool-kits, map books, and sometimes a GPS or higher quality camera. The "sissy bar" name likely derives from the term "sissy," a pejorative term for a boy or man who violates or does not meet the traditional male gender role. The term probably came to use using "sissy" to imply a lack of courage and stoicism (qualities central in the traditional male role in society) coming from having a bar to stop the rider or passenger from falling off the back of the bike. Sissy bars for cruiser-style motorcycles are usually affixed to the rear fender struts, and are typically made of chrome-plated steel with a foam padded seatback for comfort. Some elaborate custom examples can extend three feet or more and often serve as mounts for novelty flags. A backrest for a touring motorcycle is often shorter and less elaborate and may be built into a top box. Inspired by its motorcycle counterpart, a smaller version of the sissy bar was a common feature on 1960s- and 70s-era wheelie bikes, such as the Schwinn Sting-Ray and the Raleigh Chopper. This extended backrest, which attached to the rear of the bike's banana seat, gave a passenger something to lean back on and hold onto besides the rider doing the pedaling.

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