How To Change Your Motorcycle Grips

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How To Change Your Motorcycle Grips

Changing motorcycle grips can be frustrating if you haven’t done it often, or if you haven’t found a way to make it easy on yourself. At RideApart, we like the “Hairspray Method.” Read on to learn arcane secrets from our crowded garages.

Changing to high quality grips is an inexpensive way to upgrade both the look and feel of your motorcycle regardless of what you ride. Spending a little time deciding what’s right for you will also make it so that you don’t have to repeat this process prematurely. As with anything, good technique and frequent practice makes things easier.

What You Need:

  • Set of New Grips
  • Can Automotive Glass Cleaner
  • Can Hairspray
  • Small Screwdriver
  • 4mm Allen Key
  • Sharp Knife (Optional)
  • Pair Needlenose Pliers (Optional)

What To Do:

1. Prep Your Workstation

Clean off a spot on the bench to keep all of your tools in one place. Make sure your new grips are warm. Seems weird, but if it’s -5 degrees in your garage like it is in mine, this will be harder to do. It also never hurts to have a tasty beverage nearby.

How To Change Your Motorcycle Grips
The old grip.

2. Prep Your Bike

Secure your bike on the stand of choice. Take the appropriate Allen key and remove your bar ends/bark busters/other farkles from the bars. Set these aside in a safe place where you won’t drop them and lose a bolt.

How To Change Your Motorcycle Grips
Removing the cap with an Allen key.

3. Remove The Grips

Slide the smallest screwdriver you own up the inside of a grip and spray glass cleaner between the grip and the bar. Pull out the screwdriver, and start working the now slippery grip off of your bar. If this isn’t something that works for you, and you don’t care what happens to the old grip, use a utility knife or something equally sharp and slice the grip lengthwise to remove it.

How To Change Your Motorcycle Grips
Slide screwdriver up the inside of the grip.

Continue to next step >>

 

  • VagrantCoyote

    More of these generic how-tos for maintenance and modifications would be great.

    • http://Rideapart.com/ Curtis

      We’ll be bringing you more next month!

    • Sentinel

      It’s not just Ride Apart posting all of these frivolous articles, it’s pretty much industry wide now. This is just another deceptive way they drive traffic to their site and gain revenues, as unethical as it is. Just BS fluff and puff articles for profit.

      • Piglet2010

        Sorry armed thugs forced you to read this article.

        • Sentinel

          Pure genius as always…

  • Alex DeSantiago

    I do steps 1 & 2, then stick an air nozzle under the grip, and shoot air while pulling lightly (you’ll need a compressor of some type)…. they come off easy that way. Hairspray makes them stick really well.

    • Janno Särki

      I agree, pressurised air is the easiest way to remove your grips.

    • squirrely

      That’s the way I’ve always done mine as well. With an air compressor and hairspray it’s an easy job.

    • ap

      yup compressor all the way!

  • MrDefo

    What grips did you just install?

    • Dan

      Those are renthals. Really popular for the track. They are pretty firm though (better feel), so it’s easier to buzz your hands to sleep if you use them on the road.

      • MichaelEhrgott

        That’s all I use. The feel is unmatched IMO. I hate super thick grips. Pillow-tops get ripped up after a day.

      • http://cartisien.com/ Jeff Witters

        They sell softer compounds as well as the ones for the track they just aren’t labeled that well.

  • Rob

    I like to stay away from hairspray and use glass cleaner to get the grips off/on. Acts as a pretty good lubricant to take off the grips. When it dries, the ammonia makes things so they don’t slip all over the place, but it doesn’t get all sticky like dried hairspray. Nice for when you decide you liked the stock grips better.

  • Adam

    When I did the grips on my KLR650 the glue the factory used was insane. I suck at life so I destroyed the throttle tube in the process. I think a razor blade to cut up the grip and perhaps a glue solvent of some sort would have saved me.

  • Phil Mills

    Oh, if I only could. The factory heated grips on my FJR are a masterwork of unhelpful engineering. The heaters were done by molding the heater tape INTO the grip rubber, so no aftermarket grips if I like warm hands. Just replacing the throttle tube is fraught with peril – one slip with the screwdriver and you’ve cut a trace and your heater is dead. Yamaha did not do the sensible thing and make each grip a disconnectable/replaceable item, so if you kill one you’re out around $300 for a whole new grip heater assembly instead of $25 or so for a single grip with a dangling lead.

    • Justin McClintock

      Find some aftermarket grips with similar resistance/power consumption and simply wire them to the stock wiring harness under the grips of your choosing. Problem solved.

      • JamesM

        I will be doing the same with my K12 BMW. From the forums, cheapo CycleGear $15 heaters will splice right into factory wiring and supposedly be even warmer.

  • livacpa

    Next he needs levers, I’d love a tutorial on installing those DIY, as I have heard it is not that difficult, but I have no idea

  • Number Three

    First: Awesome tutorial! Second: My awesome new grips are close ended and I have bar end mirrors. Any tips for cutting those out without destroying the new grips or the way they look?

    • Clint Keener

      xacto knife and patience.

      • Number Three

        For some reason I knew Xacto was gonna do the trick. Practice…. ugh:)

        Thanks man!

        • Afonso Mata

          You could try a good old Razor Blade ;) Those are usually accurate and sharp, if you can manage to use them as a knife ;)

        • Clint Keener

          Since you have bar end mirrors, you don’t have to get them perfect anyway.

    • Dave Mason

      Like nearly every task, Motion Pro makes a tool for it. No, seriously, they make a tool for cutting perfect holes in the end of new grips.

  • http://rideapart.com/author/aakash-desai/ Aakash

    I use isopropyl alcohol for pulling the grips off and putting them back on. Less stinky than hairspray, and the alcohol evaporates quicly leaving no residue.

  • Darrick Anderson

    I’m a fan of wire tying all my grips on my bikes. No slip ever.

  • Luis Fernando Ponce

    now what are the best grips if I want to cut down vibration?

    • Alex DeSantiago

      2 ways to cut Vibration in my experience 1) Thicker grips. 2) Heavier bar ends.

      • Luis Fernando Ponce

        Thanx Alex, any model or brand?

        • Alex DeSantiago

          Much like anything else on a bike, it’s more about personal preference. Any parts place will let you hold the grips so you can get an idea what they’re like. As for the bar ends, just google it or hit some forums for your specific type of bike. Good luck. Stay safe.

          • Luis Fernando Ponce

            Thanx again, since I almost do all shopping thru internet I have to rely on reviews. Best.

  • Matt Fennell

    Compressor and lock wire FTW, no hairspray needed

  • BillW

    How very timely, almost! I read this about an hour AFTER pulling the stock grips off my KLX250S. When I put grip heaters on my V-Strom, the stock grips came off easily and I was able to reuse them (I used hairspray, Final Net Max Hold, when I put them back on, and never had them slip). But, like the Triumph shown here, the Strom had removable bar ends. My KLX has closed-end grips. I’d forgotten about glass cleaner. I tried a small screwdriver, I tried compressed air, I tried WD-40, and I finally gave up and tried X-Acto. And I’m still trying to get all the rubber off the last inch of the throttle tube! The left side, which I did second, peeled off easily after I sliced it (having already destroyed the right side), but Kawasaki must have used a LOT of glue on the right side, and it all slid down to the end of the grip when they slid the grip on. I may just buy a new throttle tube when I get new grips.

    What say you? Should I get new closed-end grips, or just figure I’ll want bark busters eventually anyway and get open-end grips? I’m not anticipating any hard core off-roading.

  • kevin

    Just had to do this to install a new throttle tube the other day. It’s a little frustrating at first but as long as you’re careful and patient it’s not too bad.

  • Mr.Paynter

    So stoked to see this article, have some grip-changes coming soon!

    • Piglet2010

      Replacing the stock grips on the TW200?

  • runnermatt

    I use isopropel alcohol instead of Windex or hairspray. It works good as lubricant for on or off and evaporates quickly. Granted I have only done mountain bike grips, but the technic is similar. The hard part getting them off is getting enough alcohol under the grip to slide it off. Just keep adding alcohol in between the grip and bar and twisting it back and forth and you will feel it as the alcohol works it’s way under the grip. For putting grips back on I use a lot of rubbing alcohol. Usually I place the end of the grip on top of the open bottle of alcohol, cup my hand over the open end, use my other hand to his the bottle and grip together, the flip both over (filling the grip with alcohol) and back (allowing the excess alcohol to flow back into the bottle), then I quickly slide the grip onto the handlebar as the alcohol evaporates quickly in open air. Once on I allow it to dry overnight. Benefit of not having to worry about the hairspray getting wet and slippery again.

    Lastly, if you have to cut your grips off try not to score the metal to badly. It could start slicing the underside of your grips and/or make it more difficult to get the new grips on.

    • Piglet2010

      A syringe with a large diameter needle is good for squirting alcohol under the grips.

      • runnermatt

        Excellent suggestion. I was going to say the same thing, but couldn’t remember how to spell syringe so I left it out.

  • mustangGT90210

    One tip for grip removal I found really easy was to get a compressed air blow gun. Just get the nozzle part under or right at the back of the grip by the hand controls. Start blowing that strong compressed air and the grips comes right off when you pull. Worked the same putting it on, except hold the blowgun on the bar end side of the grip

  • TimmyRee

    Why would your fuel need to be off if the bike is carbureted? Venturi no worky when engine no run.

  • Davidabl2

    Chain maintenance (or tire mounting for the less faint-of-heart) would both be better how-to articles.

  • Dave Mason

    Here’s a tip for putting the new grips on (as far as the old grips I always just remove them with a knife… I mean why the fuck did I get new grips if I liked the old ones so much?): use hairspray or alcohol or whatever, but instead of pushing the new grip on, and basically wrestling with the bike as you are pushing it away from you (no leverage), stand on the opposite side of the bike, steady the bike against your hip and PULL the grip on. Much easier.