I just spent the last 10 minutes trying to put a new set of grips on to my mountain bike handlebars..

The old ones came off fairly agreeably and I've got the new ones 80-90% of the way on, however, at this point both my hands are stinging from the aggressive twisting and pushing - I have tried gloves, but I feel it's best left till my hands don't hurt anymore.

Is there a tried and tested way of doing this? Or is there a knack to this that I am missing?

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    Every bike mechanic, shade tree and pro, has his own unique and secret way, from air to soap to hairspray to WD40. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 28 '12 at 20:41
  • (It should be noted that there is available (though I don't know from where) a grip glue, used for exercise equipment. Costs something $75 for about 16 oz of the stuff, according to the repair guy at my gym, but a little goes a long way.) – Daniel R Hicks Mar 28 '12 at 23:49
  • There's a similar product for motocross grips with is significantly less expensive. Slidy when it's wet and glue when it's dry. Check a motorcycle store if you have one near. – Jon McAuliffe Mar 29 '12 at 8:08
  • Thanks for the tips, I didn't have any of your suggestions so I pulled out my eucalyptus oil and gave that a try. It worked great, better when I left the end plug in place to hold the oil inside the grip. – user11211 May 10 '14 at 7:53

12 Answers 12



Im not kidding. Saliva is a great lubricant that will dry with little residue, and depending on any sugars in your system, could be a little tacky. I have done this for years.

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    Certainly seems like a cheap solution. – Wez Mar 29 '12 at 14:42
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    I agree it is not the most elegant of solutions. But cheap, easy and works. – Matt Adams Mar 29 '12 at 15:27
  • -1 for throttle grip – dotjoe Mar 29 '12 at 18:27
  • No throttle grip - I didn't open up a gland an poor it in, just a little bit inside the grip. – Wez Mar 30 '12 at 0:30
  • @Wezly there was throttle grip, you just didn't test it soon(or hard) enough :) it's not like the lube instantly evaporated once the grip was in place. – dotjoe Mar 31 '12 at 0:58

Two solutions I've used:

  1. Spray the inside of the grip with hair spray. Slide it on immediately, and then when the hair spray dries, it will glue the grip in place.
  2. Use rubbing alcohol. It does not do as good of a job at locking the grip in place, but it does evaporate quickly and doesn't leave any lubricant inside the grip.
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    +1 Hairspray is the best. The higher the the alcohol content the better. As in, use the cheap stuff. Aqua Net, in the big pink can works excellently. – zenbike Mar 28 '12 at 19:43
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    I'm guessing this will still allow the grips to be removed? eventually? – Wez Mar 28 '12 at 20:38
  • To remove you just use hairspray again. – Colin Newell Mar 29 '12 at 10:37
  • Rubbing alcohol is my favorite. it dries fast and doesn't leave much residue. it makes it possible to remove the grips without damage in many cases. – Benzo Mar 30 '12 at 3:04
  • I prefer hairspray because the grips tend to stay in place after the hairspray has dried. I had a friend tell me Aqua Net, too; evidently there is a difference. – lawndartcatcher Jul 12 '12 at 14:59

Distribute thin zip-ties around the inside of the grip somewhat evenly so that they provide slippery "rails" on which the grip can slide on the bar. Once the grip is in place, pull the zip-ties out (with pliers if necessary).

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    Interesting idea, may try this for lack of spit/hair spray. – Wez Mar 29 '12 at 14:43
  • +1 best way if you don't have an air compressor. You'll need pliers to get them out. Anything using a lubricant means you'll have throttle grip for some period of time. – dotjoe Mar 29 '12 at 18:23
  • By the gods! It worked! It worked! – PTwr Feb 15 '17 at 20:59

Best solution (probably available only at shops): use an air compressor with a narrow tip to inject air between the grip and the handlebar at an angle (like spiralling around). This will create an air cushion and you can move the grip around (keep moving the air jet as you apply the air jet, since only in some positions the air cushion is formed).

Less professional method is what I use to do at home:

  1. Wash bar and grip perfectly, with water and soap, to remove grease (even the grease from your hands). If the grip is new, probably not needed.
  2. Spill like a small spoon of alcohol inside the grip, and shake it inside a bit to make all the inner side of the grip wet with alcohol.
  3. Quickly (before the alcohol evaporates), insert the grip, twisting and pulling.
  4. In case it gets harder from the middle to the end of insertion, two strategies might help:
    1. Push from the bottom (lateral part) of the grip, so as to "fatten" it in a barrel shape. This increases its inner diameter, allowing it to snap into position.
    2. Pull from the inner border, like you would pull a sock around your foot, preferrably with both hands.

I am eager to know other alternatives, because this not always work. Specifically, it might take a few days untill the alcohol eventually disapears. Before that, some slight slipping might happen, but usually nothing serious.

Hope this helps.

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Avenir 3D rubber grips on my cruiser bar: Vodka :) Just a splash inside the grips, wriggle them on, and let excess drain outside the end hole.

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    Will the 60% water be safe (not a rust hazard) for all metals/coatings? – NOTjust -- user4304 Apr 6 '13 at 22:28

I always used hairspray with my grips, it's the best solution in my opinion. It not only keeps them from slipping too far on/off the handlebars, but keeps them from twisting in place. Now, however, I use locking grips like these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/110736653646?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649#ht_1030wt_1163

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Since no one else mentioned this: I always use a glass/window cleaner (like Windex).

It works really well. Easy to spray on the bar or in the grip and it evaporates quickly but not as quickly as isopropyl alcohol. Plus I think it has a surfactant which makes things slide a bit easier. And you may be likely to have some around.

Usually works to take old ones off too, slip something like a screwdriver into the end to make a space, spray some in, then twist/wiggle it.

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  • Gidday and welcome to SE Bicycles. Thank you for your well-formed contribution. – Criggie Nov 5 '15 at 20:29

Two parts to this question - how to ease off an old grip that you may want to reuse (ie cutting it off is too destructive. Followed by how to fit the new one.

I use a thin old electrician's flathead screwdriver to gently lever the edge off the grip up, then tilt the bike so that it leans to the side I'm working on, and then squirt a splash of water and dishwash liquid from a spray bottle into the raised edge. Then withdraw the screwdriver and work the grip around. You can feel it loosen and then it just comes off.

To fit the new one, you simply push it on and position the angle before the soapy water dries.

Once the water evaporates the dishwash is left behind, providing somewhat of a tacky adhesive. So yes this will leave it slidey for an hour or so while the water dries. You can speed this by leaving the bike in the sunlight, black/dark grips should dry quickly.

Personally I'm a big fan of the grips with palm support, but you need them tilted to the right angle before the soap dries. Then tighten the tiny restraining bolts that many new grips have now.

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To put simple rubber compound grips I usually use two step procedure. Use extreme degreaser on handlebar, the one that is used to degrease car brake rotors. Then pour some water into grips and then put them on while water is still inside grips. To take them off it's even simplier. I use syringe with water. Stick the needle through grip up until the surface of a handlebar and then inject some water. The grip come off with no effort at all. Using lock-on grips though makes process of putting grips on and off a lot easier ;)

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The technique I use is to apply dish washing soap to the metal of the grip so that they are slick and put the grips in boiled water. Leave the water to cool down enough to put your hands in but so that the grips are still warm. The water will cause the grips to expand so that they go on easy, they will shrink back down when they cool. Then simply put the grips on using the usual twist and push method.

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    Things that aren't metal really don't expand very much when they're heated to the sort of temperatures that you can handle. If the heating has any relevance other than psychological, it's probably because warming rubber makes it more supple. – David Richerby Feb 16 '17 at 13:27

Hairspray, Hairspray, Hairspray. Lubricant on the way on. Adhesive once dry. Ive done literally thousands of grips with hairspray in 25 years in bike shops and team maintenance. Never has one come off when nor required or squirmed.

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    You're totally right, but this was already suggested in another answer from 2012. Best to up-vote that answer so it rises to the top, and can comment on that answer with more info. Have a browse through the SE tour to see how this site is a lot different to the average chatty web-forum. I'm picking that you have a bunch of experience which is always welcome, so do have a go at some of the unanswered questions. – Criggie Oct 5 '17 at 9:55

Boiling water helped but hair spray was best

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    Welcome to Bicycles SE. We're looking for answers with more detail on this site. Please consider expanding your answer to include how you used boiling water and hairspray to aid in the process. – jimchristie Oct 4 '14 at 15:22

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