Adding a Detachable Backrest is easier than You Might Think

   You love your bike and couldn’t be happier with the way it looks. You’ve got a low profile seat on it that smooths the lines and it is sweet. The only problem is you now ride with a passenger more. If you are only going for a short distance, there isn’t necessarily a need for a backrest, but more than a dozen miles or so and it is a good idea to install a passenger backrest.  Yeah, I know, it goes against the cool, streamlined look you wanted. Don’t fear, the crew at K and G Cycles ( understands this and that is why we offer detachable backrests for those only needing them part time.

   Today, I am going to show you how simple it is to install a detachable backrest and the parts you will need. I am using a 2005 and newer FLSTF for my project bike so parts may vary for your particular application. For a successful install you will need: Docking Hardware, Detachable Side Plates, a Turn Signal Relocation Kit, a Sissy Bar, and a backrest pad. All of which can be found right here at K and G Cycles.

ts relocation kit 31-1567  Turn Signal Relocation Kit -(Part #31-1567) One of, if not the most important parts you will need to install a detachable backrest is the docking hardware. Basically comprised of extended fender bolts, 2 different style of docking points for the front and rear positions. Installation of this kit is pretty straight forward:

1) Remove the seat and disconnect the battery. Make sure you remove the negative cable first.
2) Next you will want to raise the motorcycle off the floor to lower the rear wheel so you have access to the rear fender hardware.
3) You can now remove the two screws and tail lamp lens from the rear fender.
4) Using a Terminal Pick Tool press the locking tabs and disconnect the turn signal connectors from circuit board.
5) Feed turn signal wiring and connector through opening in circuit board assembly and into rear wheel area.
6) Now reach under the fender to locate clips that fasten the turn signal wires in place. Carefully pull wires out of clips, and pull the turn signal connectors and wires out from under fender.

A – Remove a two-inch(51 mm) section of conduit 4 inches(102mm) from the turn signal connectors.
B – Cut the Black turn signal wire about 5-1/2 inches(140mm) from its connector.
C – Nest, Cut the violet/brown turn signal wire about 4-1/2 inches(114mm)from its connector.
D – Save cut wires with respective turn signal connectors.

At this point you will want to support the fender before removing the fender hardware to prevent scratching the fenders paint.
8 – Remove lens and bulb from each rear turn signal housing.
9 – Carefully pry the socket out of each housing to remove the sockets and grommets.
10 – Gently pull wires out of turn signal housings.
11- Remove the four middle and rear screws (1) from fender supports (5) on both sides of motorcycle.
12 – Loosen, but do not remove, the two forward screws from fender supports on both sides of motorcycle.
13 – Gently lift rear of fender enough to remove screws fastening turn signals to fender supports. Save turn signal housings for kit installation.
14 – Lower fender back into place. Loosely fasten screws to fender support.

   Now you are ready to install the Docking Hardware Kit and be on your way to a detachable backrest . Best of all, almost all of the hardware and relocation kit comes in Chrome so you are actually adding more Chrome to your ride.

   To aid in installation you may want to consider lightly applying liquid soap to the turn signal wires and use a thin wire to pull wires through stalk.

1 – Start by threading the wires for each turn signal from turn signal socket through the grommet and turn signal assembly.
2 – Route the wires through the threaded hole inside turn signal housing.
NOTE: The notch cut into the special nut must be installed between the fender and fender support, on the threads of the turn signal stalk, with the notched side of the special nut facing the fenderand open to ward the front of the motorcycle.
3 – Route the wires for each turn signal assembly through the rear most hole in the fender support , through special nut, and inside fender. Allow about six inches(152mm) of wire between the supports and turn signal sockets.
4 – Apply Loctite 243 – Blue to threads of stalks between fender and support.
5 – Thread each stalk into the special nuts, taking care to maintain the position of the notch in the nut.Tighten each stalk to 15 ft-lb(20.3 Nm).
6 – Tighten fender support screws to 21-27 ft-lbs (28-37 Nm).
7 – Loosely fasten jam nuts onto stalks.
8 – Screw turn signal housings onto stalks while preventing turn signal socket wires from twisting.
9 – Align turn signal housing so lens, when installed, faces rearward for proper visibility.
10 – Tighten jam nut against the housing to 96-120in-lbs(11-13 Nm).
11 – While pulling turn signal wires into inside of fender, guide each turn signal socket and grommet into its respective
12 – Install turn signal bulbs and lenses.
13 – Fasten hole plug into remaining hole in fender support.

   Once you’ve gotten this far, you will need to splice your wires with the supplied connectors. Its fairly easy, all you have to do is…

1 – Strip 3/8 inch(9.5 mm) of insulation from the cut ends of the turn-signal wires.
2 – Splice each set of cut wires into sealed splice connectors.
A – Connect Black to Black in one connector and Violet/Brown to Violet/Brown in other connector.
B – Repeat splice for both left and right turn signal wire sets.
3 – Match color (red) of the sealed splice connector with color of crimp cavity on crimping tool. Use the Packard Crimping Tool or equivalent to crimp the wires into the connector.
4 – Using an Ultra-Torch, Heat Gun with Heat-shield Attachment, or other suitable radiant heating device:
A – Heat shrink the jacket of the sealed splice connector to the wire.
B – Apply heat from the center of the crimp outward to the crimp ends until the sealant encloses both ends of the connector.

   Once you have completed the above steps satisfactorily, you are now ready for reassembly. After this, you will be reay to test the lights and continue on withe the rest of the installation.
1 – Fasten the wires in conduit to clips inside fender.
2 – Route wires into tail lamp housing.
3 – Fasten turn signal wire connectors to their respective connections inside tail lamp housing.
4 – Install tail lamp lens on its base using the two screws.
5 – Connect battery cables, positive (+) cable first.
6 – Check turn signals for proper operation.
7 – Install seat according to the instructions in the owner’s manual.

   The ndocking hardware 50-1611ext step, Installing the Docking Hardware (Part # 50-1611 ) is pretty simple, especially if you’ve installed the Turn Signal Relocation Kit. Just a few simple step (provided you have no saddlebags to contend with) and you will be ready to pick out your side plates, sissy bar and backrest pad.

1 – Remove and discard stock screws from fender support.
2 – Install front and rear docking points. For each docking point, place countersunk side of the docking point towards fender support cover.
3 – Apply Loctite 243(Blue) to first four threads of docking point screws.
4 – Thread screws through front and rear docking points and into fender and bracket (underneath fender). Tighten screws to 21-27 ft-lbs (28-37 Nm)

   The whole detachable side plates 50-1608point of this installation so far is to alter your motorcycle so you can have a detachable Sissy Bar and Pad or Backrest and Pad. Well unless you have Detachable Side Plates this won’t be able to be accomplished. For our install we have selected a Chrome set for our FatBoy. Make sure you know the family and sub category as well as the production year of your motorcycle as a Sissy Bar and all the coordinating pieces that make up a backrest are specific to Year and Model.

   You will needbutt stop bar 28237-03 to determine the height, style and finish of the Sissy Bar. Of course you have the standard Black or Chrome, but it goes much deeper than that. You now must select a height for your bar. You basically have your choice of a “Shorty Backrest” or “Butt Stop” as the are called, a Medium height, or a Tall sissy bar. Your choice should circle around the frequency you carry a passenger, the average length of your trips, and if in the future you want to add a luggage rack to the mix. Since we have a Touring Bike for the long hauls, there will be no need to install a luggage rack. We opted for a Shorty Backrest as we want to make sure the passenger can’t go flying off the back under hard acceleration. Plus even with a Backrest we want to make sure we still have the low lines on the bike. When you assemble the Sissy Bar and the Sideplates it is fairly simple, but there are a few guidelines you will want to follow.

1 – Insert the legs of the sissy bar upright all the way into the channels of the sideplates.
2 – Apply a few drops of Loctite 262(Red) to the threads of the button head screws. Thread the screws into the holes in the sideplate channels,and tighten to 96-120 in-lbs(11-14 N-m).
3 – While standing behind the motorcycle, place the left-side and right-side front sideplate notches into the front docking points on the fender supports.
4 – Position the rotary latches over the rear docking points. Pull the rotary latches back to their rear most position. Check to be sure the sideplate notches and latches fit into the neck of the rear docking points. This may require some gentle squeezing or spreading of the sideplates.
5 – Push the rear of the sideplates downward and close the rotary latches by pressing the latch levers as far forward as they will go. A “CLICK” will be heard when the latches are in place. If the latches do not easily close, do not force them. Check the sissy bar alignment again.
6 – To remove the backrest and sideplate assembly, press the release button (1) on each side and pull the latch levers.
7 – Don’t forget to install the pad. Your passenger might bend your ear with a few unkind words if you don’t.

   So all in all, installing a detachable Passenger Backrest, Removable Sissy Bar, whatever you want to call it is pretty simple when it comes right down to it. Even when faced with relocating the turn signals, familiarizing yourself with the new parts and the instructions is never a bad idea. As always, K and G Cycles ( is here to help you with your decisions so you can enjoy your motorcycle more and provide a backrest for your passenger when you need.