How to Make a Motorcycle Backrest

Written by aryeh raphael
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Long hours riding your motorcycle can do a number on your lower back. This pain can make it difficult to perform future rides, and it might even cause you health problems. There is a simple way to prevent this from happening and make your motorcycle a lot more comfortable in the process. Make your own backrest to provide support and relief to your back as you sit astride your bike even for long-distance rides.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • ½-inch-thick plywood
  • Saw
  • 1 ½ inch-thick foam
  • Knife
  • Spray adhesive
  • Upholstery batting
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Tacks
  • Hammer
  • Strap bracket
  • Screws
  • Power drill
  • Chrome studs

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  1. 1

    Draw the shape that you want to make the backrest with a marker onto a piece of ½-inch-thick plywood and cut it out with a saw. A good size is an oval roughly 8 inches long and 6 inches tall.

  2. 2

    Lay the wood on top of a piece of 1 ½-inch-thick foam and cut the foam with a knife to the same shape as the wood. Stick the foam to the wood with spray adhesive.

  3. 3

    Wrap a piece of upholstery batting around the foam and glue it down to the wood to give the backrest a smoother finished appearance.

  4. 4

    Trace the shape of the front backrest onto the wrong side of the fabric you want to use. Add ½ inch for seam allowances and cut out the shape with scissors. Do the same for the sides of the backrest, except add 1 inch to allow for fabric to secure the cover to the wood.

  5. 5

    Sew the fabric piece together with a ½-inch seam using a sewing machine and cut small V-shaped relief cuts every inch into the seams to allow for turning the fabric around easily.

  6. 6

    Flip the fabric around and slip it over the backrest so the wood is showing from the bottom. Use tacks and a hammer to secure the fabric to the wood.

  7. 7

    Screw a metal strap bracket onto the back of the backrest with screws and power drill; make sure the strap is centred on the wood. Cover the mounted strap and the cover tacks with a piece of awning material and use chrome studs to hold it on.

  8. 8

    Remove the pillion seat from the bike and attach the other end of the strap bracket to the bike using the exposed mounting area. Make sure that the padded side of the backrest is facing the front of the bike.

Tips and warnings

  • You can make your own fabricated mounting bracket to enable you to attach the backrest without removing the pillion seat if you are familiar with metalwork.
  • Do not rely on the backrest as a means of security or restraint from falling off the bike.

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