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Old 05-01-2015, 01:52 PM   #1
VonWegener
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Default Sissy bars - What started it?

As I am going through my stash of parts wondering what to sell next I am thinking what were the origins of the Sissy Bar?
I always thought the "handles" incorporated in the fender struts of flat trackers and speedway bikes were probably the origin but where are the pics of the earliest versions?
Do any of you guys have something in your files you want to share or maybe just an opinion?
Just tell me how did we get to here:

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Old 05-01-2015, 01:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

Well it was the '60s...............if ya know what I mean.
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Old 05-01-2015, 02:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

Very interesting question, Id be curious to hear what some people would chime in with opinion wise. I know they make it very convenient for the passenger, and loading up from long trips, but like the ones you have pictured, thats not the main purpose I dont think. Figure its like most trends though, just gets crazier and crazier until it gets out of hand and people start shying away from it.

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Old 05-01-2015, 03:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

La Puente, California 1959. Not a Sissy in the bunch.



Here is another look at one of the bikes



No sissys in Oakland, Calif. 1959 either:

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Old 05-01-2015, 03:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

Nobody the Preacher had his name legally changed to Nobody. He was an Apple Valley original who sported a little sissy on his Knuckle in 1960.



Hirschberg didn't care in 1960 but did sport a grabrail kinda fender mount.



The MCM catalog showed us a low sissy bar on their company knuckle in 1963

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Old 05-01-2015, 03:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

This thread is historical, information, and damned interesting. I really hope some of the oldtimers come along and tell us how it was.

I always presumed it came from guys going on lots of trips who didn't dig dragging bags through the turns. Maybe I was all wrong.
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

Gonna throw this out there. Much like the OCC ( yeah I said it) bicycles of the early 2000's, I had Schwin stingray bicycle in the early 70's that was bought new for my older cousin in the mid to late sixties. It replicated the choppers of the time with a wide flat slick rear tire(2" wide maybe?) mini ape hangers sort of, a banana seat (green metallic with silver accent I think) and a sissy bar the back of the seat was mounted to.( it was turd style, sticking straight up). I agree with Justin above, it was a fad, kind of like running 50 series tires on a street car and later the pro street craze. Once someone went tall, somebody decided to go even taller until you have that goofy stuff in your pictures. Of course they needed something up that tall to support those stacks they were running for exhaust!!! What WERE they thinking?
Where I live, when I grew up you either had to have the fastest car to be cool, or a truck that pulled all the other trucks out of the mud hole then backed through it no problem. Then it was who had the loudest stereo, now I think it's who can live off their parents the longest!
Like G-Mule I hope the old timers pitch in with a real answer.
For a while recently it was tall, fat bars, now it's those dumbass tall front wheels. Who thinks that's cool?
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

California passed a law that all bikes must have passenger grab bars/rails/restraints. If ya gotta have it, do it in a way to thumb your nose at the law.
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry T View Post
California passed a law that all bikes must have passenger grab bars/restraints. If ya gotta have it, do it in a way to thumb your nose at the law.
Interesting, what year, approximately, was that?

I'm enjoying this thread as well, some great pics, keep 'me coming!
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

One thing I think was a good reason for a sissy bar, it's a great place to strap things on your bike when your going on a long trip.
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:59 PM   #11
Larry T
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HD48FL View Post
Interesting, what year, approximately, was that?

I'm enjoying this thread as well, some great pics, keep 'me coming!
I don't know for sure, I read about it in Custom Chopper or Big Bike in the late 60s/early 70s. I assume around 61/62, but that would be a WAG.

There was quite a bit of legislation passed that was aimed at custom scooters. Front brake law was another one and that was the only reason for the mini brakes that you see on choppers from the 70's.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

My understanding of the sissy bar was that it was a requirement to have a passenger (pillion) hand hold,hence why the term sissybar : sissy's needed something to hold on to.
As with quite a few things in life , a requirement can lead to someone putting their own "interpretation" on it .So what starts as a simple short loop over the rear fender to meet the requirement ,eventually turns into an exaggerated form as time goes on, as each person puts their design spin on it and also uses it to make their bike that bit more classy ,especially as it is about style and the Look factor (just look at the sissy bars on the El Forastero MC bikes in the sixties-they are outrageous)
There seems to be a parallel with the extended fork thing ,it went from mild to wild ,as someone went if 4 inches looks wild ,imagine what 10 inch over looks like ,same with the sissybar
Notice alot of the custom bikes in Mikey's post # 4 had no pillion pads, so no hand holds required.
Cheers R

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Old 05-01-2015, 08:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

I'd Blame it on Picking up late nite Drunk Ladies and a place to attach the stacks so they don't fall off. My first bike in 1969 was a 1952 Indian Chief bobber it was passenger unfriendly ( actually it was Totally Unfriendly). My next two in the pictures were made for Profiling and late nite Trolling. Loosing drunk passengers off the back of your bike kinda bummed the whole evening out. Especially if you were dodging someone else's lost Baggage.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry T View Post
California passed a law that all bikes must have passenger grab bars/rails/restraints. .
I believe that's a myth. All CA has ever required is proper footrests for passengers.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

I look at some old pics of chicks leaning back enjoying the ride -not worrying

about falling off the back under sudden acceleration

maybe the chicks complained and the bar was extended
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:49 PM   #16
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

Qualudes and chicks man...
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:56 PM   #17
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

I love em!!

F turd style...
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:58 PM   #18
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VonWegener View Post
I always thought the "handles" incorporated in the fender struts of flat trackers and speedway bikes were probably the origin
That was my understanding; grab bars on hillclimbers.
Those, plus some other features got exaggerated into the chopper craziness we know now.
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:46 PM   #19
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Default Re: Sissy bars - What started it?

I recall an article that Von Dutch wrote back in the 70s. He felt the speedway bike were a big influence. skinny front tire, spool hub, no front fender, tiny tank, ridgid frame, fat rear tire, push bar over the fender. You don't have to look hard to see the resemblance, especially to the early style choppers, like Hirschberg's bike
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Qualudes and chicks man...
yeah they can both cause creativity
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