Make Your Own Backrest
Thanks to Michel Mass
/files/includes/images/mm_backrest_finishedfront.jpg (61510 bytes)


Michel's wife wasn't happy with an assortment of aftermarket backrests so he decided, what the heck, he'd make one specifically for her.  His idea is to have the best of several worlds, a sissy bar pad but with the curvature and armrest of many fitted to trunks.

What You'll Need

1-Standard Fire & Steel Backrest frame to fit your bike (you'll toss the pad so a used one with ripped pad might save you a lot of money. Note, if you're doing this with another brand of bike you can change the mounting arrangement to suit whatever kind of backrest frame you have.)

1-Sheet of construction paper to draw a pattern on for transfer to wood

1-Suitable size piece of 3/16" Masonite or other wood you can bend when wet

1-Piece of Vinyl to cover the backrest

1-Piece thin foam padding for passenger side of backrest

Glue, scissors and...a shovel (read on)


Here's how he did it:


I created a cardboard template /files/includes/images/mm_backrest_pattern1.jpg (346766 bytes) of the desired backrest form.  The dimensions written on the template should permit anybody else to reproduce the backrest (or to adjust to their liking).  Cut your personalized template out and make sure it fits your pillions dimensions.
From the template create a copy on a piece of 3/16" thick masonite board (brown sawdust particle board) or other wood of your choice that's easy to work when wet.
I soaked the masonite piece in hot water so it becomes flexible and curved each arm rest so the tips were approximately 19" apart.  I had a shovel with a blade that happened to have the desired radius for the arm rest so I clamped one arm to the shovel blade and let it dry then moved to the other side  (anything else could be used to mold the radius).

Next, cover the masonite with two layers of fiberglass mat on each side /files/includes/images/mm_backrest_2.jpg (99008 bytes)/files/includes/images/mm_backrest_3.jpg (83111 bytes)

Pre-drill and tap a 1/4" steel plate (approx. 5 1/2" x 5 1/2") to match the backrest Fire and Steel chromed back plate and fasten it in the/files/includes/images/mm_backrest_5.jpg (120299 bytes) front of the backrest with tapped 1/4" bolts from the rear (photo right) .

Now fabricate two mounting blocks from hard wood located on the back of the backrest (photos left). The sissy bar passes between the two mounting blocks and is secured by using the original Fire and Steel chromed back plate /files/includes/images/mm_backrest_blocks.jpg (47998 bytes).

I glued moisture resistant 2" thick foam using contact cement for the back and 1" thick foam on each side of both arm rests and a 1" thick layer on the top of each arm rest.
I then patterned each required vinyl covering piece (1 bottom, 1 back, 1 front, 2 top arm rest, 2 back sides) of sun resistant vinyl and sewn the whole backrest cover together leaving the bottom piece slit in the middle for almost its entire length. I positioned Velcro on each side of the bottom slit.
I trimmed a green garbage bag over the foam and slid the vinyl backrest cover over it and closed the cover using the Velcro /files/includes/images/mm_backrest_finishedfront.jpg (61510 bytes) and rear.

The finished product looks good on the bike, is unique and, most importantly, my wife found it comfortable.

mm_backrest_6_finished rear.jpg (49150 bytes)
Mike Mass