How to Change the Grips on Motorcycle Handlebars

a motorcycle with yellow detail
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-25
What You'll Need
Air compressor (or razor blade)
Flathead screwdriver
Terrycloth towel
Warm water
Grip glue
Glue cleaner

Motorcycle handlebars give your motorcycle not only character but function. There are several reasons why you would want to change the grip on your motorcycle handlebars. Perhaps you want a new look for your bike, or the old handlebar grips are worn and have become unsafe. At first the thought of replacing the grips seems complicated but it isn't. Here's how easy it is to change the grips on your motorcycle handlebars.

Step 1 - Choose Your Method of Removal

There are three methods that you can employ which will remove the grips on the motorcycle handlebars. The easiest and fastest way to remove them is to use a razor blade. This is a great choice, but you could scratch the chrome. There is also a risk that there are wires within the grip which could be cut, so this may not be the best solution despite it being the easiest. You could use an air compressor. The force of air can help dislodge the grips, but if they are in place with adhesive, the air compressor will not be enough to remove them. The safest and third way to remove grips from the motorcycle handlebars is by using a flathead screwdriver.

Step 2 - Remove the Grips

Remove the ends of the handlebars using the screwdriver to pry them off. This is simple, but be careful to not damage them. Since effectiveness is key, the method that will be used is the screwdriver. The two other tools are used in about the same manner. You simply slide the screwdriver between the rubber grip and the metal. You then pry the rubber up and continue all around the handlebars. This may take longer, but is the safest solution when dealing with adhesive and wires. This also prevents damage to the handlebar threads.

Step 3 - Clean the Handlebars

When you remove the grips from the motorcycle handlebars, you will most likely notice old adhesive. Use the glue cleaner along with a dose of elbow grease to remove the adhesive. When satisfied, dry off the handlebars with the terrycloth towel.

Step 4 - Installing the Grips

Grips for motorcycle handlebars are notoriously stiff and need to be made pliable. Heat up some water and place in a sink or bucket, and place the grips in the hot water. The heat will make the rubber more pliable. As the grips are soaking, add the grip glue to one of the motorcycle handlebars. Do this one handlebar at a time. Once the grip glue is in place, you can slide one of the grips onto one of the handlebars. Do one side and then the other.

Step 5 - Cleanup

Excess glue will most likely squirt out from the grips. Use a terrycloth towel to wipe away the excess water and glue. Use another terrycloth towel to buff the chrome. Allow the glue to cure for several hours, and then replace the end of the handlebars.