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I've recently decided to take up my bike again after A WHILE. Now, one of the issues I have is that the grips are melted and sticky melted grips. I know the advice usually is "buy better grips" but these were Bontrager grips and not particularly cheap.

The bike was semi-exposed to the sun for quite a while, which I imagine can greatly account for this.

What do you suggest, getting a different material? Trying to avoid sun/heat exposure (not sure this is very feasible), could just age be responsible for this kind of wear?

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I run across this sometimes doing bike fixups on jank bikes. Once a grip is deteriorating, there's no saving it. Options:

  1. Remove grip and replace it - even though it was an expensive brandname, clearly it wasn't robust. Try a different brand.

  2. Wrap the existing grip in bartape like it was a road bike. The mush is constrained and you get an extra layer of cushioning.

  3. Remove the grip and just wrap the bars in bartape. Sometimes works out a bit thin for MTB riders. You can use multiple layers.

  4. Cover the grips in a suitable diameter of heatshrink tubing and heat it to shrink using a hot air gun (not flame!) This is a quick, easy, cheap, robust, waterproof and fairly grippy solution. Downsides, it looks a bit rubbish.

Avoid using tape - they tend to drift and move over time, exposing adhesive. Some users swear by hockey tape, I've never seen it.

My solution depends on the bike, owner, and sometimes the comfort of the old grip. I have one bike with thin bars, that has two layers of cheap foam bartape and that is overwrapped with heatshrink, and that's very comfortable. I have the "palm-rest" grips like yours on a hardtail, and that just has heatshrink over it. Both work fine.

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    I've used hockey tape a bit. Works better than bar tape, in my experience. Dec 27, 2022 at 3:21
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    As pointed out in Bicycles Chat if you don't have grips that cover the end of the bars, you;ll need some kind of end-cap. That may be the correct item which comes with bartape, or a substitute like a cork. The endcap should prevent core-sampling.
    – Criggie
    Dec 27, 2022 at 17:44
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    The heatshrink bit sounds like an intriguing idea for the short-term. Dec 29, 2022 at 20:37
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    @DanielRHicks An employee at a bike shop the other day suggested tennis racquet tape; I imagine it would be much the same as hockey tape. Dec 29, 2022 at 20:39
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    @GregorioLitenstein I believe tennis/badminton racquet tape is actually closer to road bike handlebar tape. It’s also a padded foam tape you wrap around the handle for grip and comfort. Hockey tape is just a plain fabric tape.
    – MaplePanda
    Dec 30, 2022 at 2:05
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You can use Isoprop Alcohol to remove stickyness from rubber grips. Soak the grip with a spray of iso, leave sit for a minute and rub with a cloth soaked in iso. Often need to repeat a few times.

Those grips are looking a like they are delaminating around the blue rubber, if so you are probably best to replace them.

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Rubber derivates decompose with uv radiation, heat and ozone. I live in a seaside town in the last few years, and i can see this happening lot faster, because of much higher ozone levels and heat. Some rubber and plastics either get sticky, or harden and crack.

This is unavoidable, but just a matter of time. It doesn't make any difference if you are buying a good or bad brand. In fact, some good brands decay faster as they conform more environmental regulations - recycleable materials decay faster.

Only viable countermeasure is to store bike indoors, or at least protect it from sun, extreme heat and cold, rain, which is acidic even at the poles now.

Once it starts to decompose, rubbing it with alcohol won't solve the issue. It will just remove dissolved material, but it won't stop happening. If that happens on a structural part, it is not safe to use such parts anymore, as the integrity of the element is compromised already.

Wooden or leather grips last almost forever with some care, and good for absorbing handlebar buzz. They are either heavy or expensive, though.

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