They call them sissy bars but there’s nothing sissy about them. Just about every cool chopper has one, including probably the most famous chopper of them all, Captain America from Easy Rider. Outlaw motorcycle clubs have been rockin’ them long as I can remember, and even my old Schwinn Stingray bicycle sported one. Generally just a couple pieces of intersecting metal rising above a motorcycle’s back fender, sissy bars can be utilitarian because they’re great for lashing a backpack or bag to, they can serve as a backrest for passengers, or can simply be decorative and reflect a bit of the personality of the rider. While exactly who twisted one up and mounted it on the back of their bike first is subject to speculation, I’d wager their popularity took off after GI’s got back from World War II because so many other trends started to rise about then. Let’s open up the topic for discussion in the comment section below!

Back in the day, people bent their own sissy bars or would have one made at their local shop, but these days they’re big business. Some of them are more traditional, while others come with backrests and luggage racks to make strapping gear to the back of your bike a cinch. There’s a long list of companies that have gotten into the sissy bar game, so we put this handy guide of sissy bars that are currently on the market if you’re looking to add one to your ride.

Burly Brand keeps it fairly traditional with its offerings. The Burly Brand Black Tall Sissy Bar with Pad (Product #127-386) is made from round steel, gives riders 20 inches to strap stuff on to, and comes with all the hardware needed for quick and easy mounting. It also has a small passenger backrest pad. The 20-inch tall sissy bar comes in chrome, too, for those who like shiny stuff (Burly Brand Chrome Tall Sissy Bar With Pad - Product #901-684).

If you’re leaning more towards just adding a little style to your Harley Sportster, the Burly Brand Short Sissy Bar (Product #127-429) is powder coated black, is 13 inches tall and doesn’t come with a pad.

The BDD Custom Black Slot Sissy Bar w/Luggage Rack & Backrest for 2-Up Seat (Product #901-069) is built from 12-gauge steel and the slotted arms are 10 inches tall. This one’s tailored for people that both ride with a passenger and frequently take road trips because it’s got a healthy-sized backrest and luggage rack. While the design of the Custom Black Slot Sissy Bar is pretty straightforward, there’s a BDD Black Skull Sissy Bar w/Luggage Rack & Backrest for 2-Up Seats (Product #901-067) and a BDD Black Cross Sissy Bar w/Luggage Rack & Backrest for 2-up Seats (Product #105-522) for more expressive riders. All BDD’s sissy bars come with a steel design insert, stainless steel mounting hardware, and nylon spacers so you don’t scratch up your paint.

While motorcycle exhaust come to mind when you hear Cobra, their product line is way more expansive than that. The Cobra Black Quick Detachable 14” Round Bar Sissy Bar with Backrest (Product #400-0299) is clean and well-made. The 14-inch tall sissy bar provides just enough of a foundation for strapping things to with the added support of a small pad. If you’re not packing down your bike or riding with a passenger, you can pop it off quick and easy. Cobra also has luggage racks you can add to the sissy bar, but are purchased separately. In fact, they just launched a new Cobra Big Ass Rack (be sure to check out our video!) If you ride two-up a lot, there’s a Cobra Chrome Quick Detachable Sissy Bar with Backrest (Product #166-7334) too with an even bigger, contoured backrest.

Call me a little jaded (that’s code for old) but the Cycle Visions Chrome Crosstude Attitude-Style 30" Sissy Bar (Product #801-784) and Cycle Visions Black Daggertude Attitude-Style 30" Sissy Bar (Product #850-0015) are what I envision when talking about motorcycle sissy bars. They’re 30 inches tall so there’s plenty of room to strap things to, they’re made of 9/16” square steel bar, and having a Maltese cross or dagger at the top is about as old school as sissy bars get. Cycle Visions Crosstude and Daggertude come in black or chrome in 7.25-inch and 8.5-inch widths. Cycle Visions Black Attitude-Style 18" Sissy Bar (Product #802-111), a no-frills, traditional-style sissy bar, looks pretty sweet, too.

Drag Specialties Black Square Sissy Bar (Product #440-2678) is a classic-styled sissy bar, too. It’s made of 9/16” solid steel, is a bolt-on design so it requires no drilling, and measured from the first bend is almost 15 inches tall. One thing worth mentioning, it will need side plates (Drag Specialties Black Sissy Bar Side Plates - Product #440-2693). Drag also makes a tidy, shorter Chrome Round Sissy Bar (Product #850-102) that’s also made of 9/16” steel, albeit round tube, that’s chrome plated if black’s not your thing. It, too, requires a side plate like Khrome Werks compatible Chrome Sissy Bar Side Plates (Product #8500119).

HogWorkz offers a variety of sissy bar/backrest combinations. Pick your height - the HogWorkz Quick Detachable Tall Boy Sissy Bar Backrest (Product #805-972) is 12.75-inches tall, comes in chrome or black, and pops off quickly if you don’t need it. There’s also a 8.75-inch tall HogWorkz Shorty Detachable Sissy Bar Backrest (Product #166-6545) again available in black or chrome. The backrest pad is a comfy 11.5-inches wide. It does have a trigger lock system so you’ll need to purchase 4 Point Docking Hardware Kit as well. HogWorkz made one with a small luggage rack, too, for an extra bit of convenience and capacity (HogWorkz Quick Detachable Chrome Sissy Bar Backrest with Luggage Rack - Product #805-971).

The last player in the sissy bar game we’d like to mention is Kuryakyn. The Kuryakyn Plug-N-Play Removable Backrest Bar (Product #850-171) with its clean loop design is a nice alternative to the others. The chrome bar is 9.5-inches tall and can be rocked as is or you can slap on a removable backrest pad fairly inexpensively. You'll need to factor in the cost of a Kuryakyn Plug-N-Play Removable Backrest Bracket (Product #ZZ29111) too, though. Kuryakyn offers a trick Transformer Backrest (Product #820-311), too. It’s got a little luggage rack built discretely into the back of it that quickly folds down when needed. The front of it is padded for times it needs to serve as a backrest, and the way the top is shaped makes it great for attaching straps to.