Replacing your Motorcycle Grips
So you want a new look for your bike and you realize that installing new grips is one of
the easiest and cheapest ways. Or maybe you dropped
your bike and when your friends ask you what's up with the new grips, you're just going
to tell them that you wanted a new look. Either way, if it's time for a new set of grips
and you would much rather replace them on your own than have them changed out at a
dealer, there are a few different ways to attack it. Luckily, this can be fairly simple
once you decide on how you would like to change them.
The Razor Blade Method
If you intend to throw out the old grips, all you need to replace them is a razor blade, a
screwdriver, an alcohol based cleaner, new grips (obviously) and grip glue or cement such as the
Grip-It glue seen below.
First, if your grips have bar ends, remove them with the appropriate tool that they require such as a
screwdriver or allen wrench and set them aside. Then, take your handy dandy razor
blade and make a cut down the length of the grip. Be sure to avoid where any wires may be
under the grip as well as any fingers you may want to keep attached to your hands and try
not to scratch or cut into the surface beneath if you have chrome handle bars. Once you've
cut the grip, peel it off of the handle bar. This may take a little tugging if someone got a
little crazy with the glue when the last set of grips were put on.
After you have peeled off the old grip, clean any remaining residue or dirt from the
handlebar with the alcohol based cleaner. Having a clean handlebar will give you better
contact with the new grips. Take the throttle tube off of the handlebar to clean it because the
alcohol in the cleaner can break down any grease needed to lubricate it. Before installing
either of the grips, check their sizes. The
grip that is supposed to go on the throttle side may be bigger than the other and if you
install the smaller one onto it instead, the grip for the other handle will be too big.
When you have the handlebar clean, take the grip glue (like this Grip-It Glue) or cement and apply a ring of it to
the inside of the new grip at its opening. Quickly slide the new grip onto the handlebar
before the glue begins to dry and squeeze it tightly to set the glue. When you're putting
the new grip onto the throttle side of your motorcycle, twist in the opposite direction of
the throttle and pull. Allow the glue at least twelve hours to dry before trying to ride and
remember to put back on any bar ends. If you find grip glue to be more of a mess than a help,
you can try scuffing up the non-throttle side handlebar instead of glue to keep it from spinning. You'll probably
find that the throttle side will rarely move as is.
For more information on how to use the razor blade method to remove and replace handlebar grips (particularly on an
off-road bike) watch this video:
We wouldn't recommend the razor blade method if you have chrome grips. It's highly
doubtful that a razor blade will cut through chrome so the process will of course be slightly different. Instead, unscrew the bolt at the end of the grip, ignore the razor blade
step all together and slide the grip right off. You'll also use a lubricant to help you slide
the new metal grips onto the handlebar instead of using a glue or cement. It's usually best
to do this according to the grip manufacturer's specifications as each may vary.
The Air Compressor Method
If you're slightly more trepidatious about using a razor blade and have an air compressor
handy, you can use an "air blaster" fitting (rather than the tire filler fitting) or this
Ras handlebar grip tool to remove
your old grips. If a lot of glue was used when the old grips were mounted, ease a flat head
screw driver between the grip and the handlebar and pry it gently up in order to release
the hold of the glue. Then insert the tip of the compressor hose between the grip and the
handlebar and use the air to blow the grip off of the handle bar. If you're particularly fond
of your grips but are switching out your handlebars and want to switch your grips onto the
new handlebars, it's probably not a good idea to slice them open with a razor blade. Using
an air compressor carefully can keep your grips from getting damaged so that you can
refit them later.
People have come up with a lot of different tricks to removing grips. With each different
style of bike the process can vary slightly. If your grips house a lot of wires it's important
to be more cautious when removing them. It can also be a lot more complicated when
putting on a new grip on the throttle side. Luckily, grips can come pretty cheap if you're
planning to switch them out often or get bored with the look of your bike easily.