I recently bought a cruiser bike with coaster brakes. I decided I wasn't happy with the stopping power, so I want to add a hand brake to the front wheel.

I ordered some parts online, but I have run into some trouble with installing the brake handle. It doesn't open wide enough to attach at any point to the handlebars, it appears that I have to take off the handlebar grips and slide it onto the handlebars.

But it's a new bike with new leather handlebar grips that I'd rather not ruin. I've seen some videos online about removing grips with Pledge and a screw driver, but that seems kind of iffy to me.

Do they make a handlebar grips that attach similar to some phone mounts that I've seen, where they open up wide and then screw shut?

  • 2
    Leather grips are probably glued on, whereas most bike grips are rubbery/plastic that holds itself in place without an adhesive. Removing leather could require un-stitching too.
    – Criggie
    Jul 30, 2017 at 9:09
  • I have several bikes equipped with leather grips; mine are not glued on. I have excellent luck removing grips (without damaging them) using air from my air compressor. I pull up just a bit at one point to insert the tip of my air blower nozzle and twist and pull whilst blasting air under the grip, works great. Aug 22, 2020 at 0:32

1 Answer 1


Many BMX levers are hinged, so they don't require messing with the grip. These can be had for either short pull (canti/caliper/u-brake) or long pull (v-brake/mechanical disc), so make sure to get the right pull. They're intended for one or two finger use.

hinged mx lever

Various basic "touring" levers, of the stamped sheet metal variety, also go on and off without removing the grip. Some, as in the currently made/available Sunlite one pictured below, have little clampy bits that detach and then are slid back into place, and others have a steel band clamp you can open up to bend around. These generally aren't the nicest brake levers, but they work and may match the aesthetic of the bike better.

junky touring lever

FWIW, most nicer modern hydro levers have either a hinge, faceplate, or other scheme to allow this as well.

M7000 Elixir R

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