Hand grip replacement

Grips are important

Even if you manage to avoid ripping your grips to shreds from a crash, you'll wear them out at some point. Replacing them may be a no brainer, but getting them on so they stay put is critically important. Have you ever had your hand slip off the bars at an inconvenient time? Let's just say it can get ugly in a hurry. There is no reason for this to happen because of a grip coming off.

Remove the old grips

I always wire my grips, so the first thing is to cut the wire using side cutters.

A good way to get the old grips off is with a razor knife. It needs to be sharp, though, and it helps to have the blade lightly coated with oil or WD-40.

Cut through the surface of the grip carefully, along the full length. Be careful you don't push the blade into your aluminum bars. Cut as closely as you can to the surface of the handlebars, but not quite through, leaving only a very thin membrane. You can usually spread the grip away from the bar, but this depends on what was used to glue the grips. I often use super glue to attach my grips (as was the case here) and, depending on the grip material, removal may be extremely difficult. For example, I have found that Scott Hurricane grips bond to the bar significantly when using super glue. Removal is so difficult that I stopped using the combination.

Clean the bars

With the grip removed, clean the surface of the bar. I use a razor blade to remove hardened glue and then finish by cleaning with green Scotch Brite and cleaner such as WD-40. If your bar end is knurled, you may have to use a wire brush to clean the surface.

Here I am using a file to debur the end of the bar. Crashing off of a jump was the culprit here. Fortunately, I hit the ground going down hill and the dirt was somewhat soft. Don't install new grips without first making sure the bar ends are smooth.

After you have the bar ends free from glue, do a final cleaning with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and paper towels.

Removal option

If you'd rather not cut the grips because you would like to save them, you may be able to get them off like this. Use a thin screw driver to stretch the grip away from the bar. Be careful though, it is easy to pierce the grip and you don't want to damage the bars or stab yourself. Once you get the screw driver in as far as you can, spray WD-40 or a 50% mix of dish soap and water inside. I prefer the soap mix. Using the screw driver, applying the soap and twisting back and force, you can work the grip loose until it slides off. Continually add soap as you progress. Success will depend on the grip and glue combination that was used.

Choose your glue wisely

Over the years I have tried many types of glues. Some good some bad. My glue of choice is Super Glue. Grip glue works well, but it takes a while to dry and not every grip and glue combination is effective. Super Glue is very fast and holds the grips securely. Super Glue is not without risk however, so caution is advised. You must be quick and you had better orient the grips correctly as you slide them on. Once the bond is complete, the grips may not be salvageable if the install goes bad.

How to us Super Glue

First you need a large size bottle of glue. Second, as with any glue, if you have a throttle tube that has a hole in the end, seal it with a piece of electrical tape. Third, you must use enough glue that it remains fluid so you have enough time to position the grips. I typically pour the glue into the open grip so I have at least a 1 inch wide coating of glue evenly around the circumference (heavily wetted). Position the grip at the bar end and quickly push it onto the bar while rotating the grip. Note: if the grips you are using require careful positioning (ex: half waffle), I recommend grip glue instead (follow instructions for grip glue) to allow time for positioning.

Success! The grip slid right on and is perfectly straight. Like I said though, using Super Glue can be risky. I have been using it for a long time now and I find that if I use it liberally and act quickly, I can get the job done without incident.

Wire your grips

Wire those grips! That is why there is a narrow groove at the thumb side of the grip. Use "safety wire" (you can get from bike shop), or a good quality mechanics wire (about 1/32" diameter). If you do not have safety wire pliers, you can still do well with a good set of needle nose pliers. Prepare two pieces of wire about 1 foot long. You just need them long enough that you can handle them easily, as you will see.

Loop the wire in the groove as tightly as you can.

Secure the loop with a single twist, making sure the loop remains tight (this is where the extra wire length is helpful).

Grab at the top of the twist with the needle nose pliers and twist a couple of full turns more, tightening the loop. Do not over do it becauses you can break the wire.

The completed twist should look like this.

Using side cutters, snip off the excess wire, leaving the twisted portion.

Dress the end of the twist with the needle nose pliers so the wire ends are not sticking out. Bend the twisted section of wire into the grip flange so it will not snag your gloves.

All done, now you can moto with the confidence of knowing the grips will stay put.


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