Handlebar Grip Installation (Flat Bars)

This article will discuss the installation of grips on flat handlebars. For drop style handlebar tape installation, see Handlebar Wrapping.


Getting Started

What Tools do I need?
  • Repair Stand — holds bike secure for easy work
  • HBH-2 Handlebar Holder — makes work easier
  • Scissors and sharp knife or razor blade
  • Contact cement (optional)
  • Rubbing alcohol (substitute window cleaner or hair spray) for MTB grips

The handle bar grips of the upright or flat bar should not slip or move during the ride. With much use and time, grips tend to expand and will loosen on the bar. It is possible to help the grip bond to the bar using adhesive glue and or wire tying. However, grips will eventually wear out and should be replaced. Some models of grips a designed with a locking collar system, making the grips secure until they are completely worn out.

Bar grips are typically made from a rubber compound. Gluing rubber to a metal bar is a difficult bond for most adhesives. Contact cement and tubular tire cements are good choices for glue. For new grips, glue is typically not required. Make sure the levers and positioned to allow the grips to slide fully onto the bar. If you are using glue, use a thin layer inside the grip rather than on the bar. It can help to lubricate the inside of the grip with non-oily liquids, such as rubbing alcohol, hair spray, or window cleaner. Do not use oil of any type, as this will prevent any gripping on the bar.




Grip Removal

If the old grips are worn out and are being replaced, they may be cut off the bar. It is also possible to remove and reuse the grips if they are in adequate condition. Use a long flat tipped screwdriver worked gently under the inside edge of the grip. Drip or spray liquid such as window cleaner, hair spray, or rubbing alcohol in the gap. Work the solvent around the grip to loosen the bond, and slide the grip off the bar.

If the grip had a sealed end, it is also possible to remove it with compressed air. Use blow tip and place inside end of grip. Wiggle grip while pulling as blown air loosens grip from bar. It may be necessary to have someone help plug the opposite bar end to remove second grip.


Wire Tying Grips

It can help in some situations to wire tie the grips to the bar. Good quality stainless steel wire of 26 gauge or 24 gauge is wrapped tightly around the inside and outside edges of the grips. Wrap one or two wraps around the both outer edges of the grips. Special pliers called “safety wire pliers” help wrap the wire tightly.



Locking pliers can also be used for a good wrap. Secure the pliers about one-inch (25mm) from the grip. Pull on the pliers as you rotate. When the wire begins to dig into the grip, the wire is tight enough.

Cut the wire about 3/8-inch (10mm) from the grip. Use needle nose pliers to bend the end of the wire into a hook. Jab the cut end into the grip toward the outside of the wire wrap. Check the at the cut end is safely buried in the rubber grip.