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Replacing your Motorcycle Grips

>> Ashley Benson

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:

Metal Grips

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.

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Saturday, August 6, 2011 3:35:39 PM
Dominck Esposito said:

Not a good instructional video. He says he applied the glue but you don't see he apply it. I have installed grips before and it's all about how much and how you apply the glue, the right amount and the cautions of sliding them on without gluing them all up on the outside, especially GrabOns cause they tend to fold in on themselves. This could be much better. is the web's largest powersports store with more than 8 million factory fresh motorcycle parts, apparel, accessories and more online, including motorcycle helmets, motorcycle boots, motorcycle gloves and more.