Bike Handlebar Grip Installation

Bike Handlebar Grip Installation

The handlebar grips on upright or flat bars should not slip or move during the ride. With time, grips tend to expand and will loosen on the bar. It is possible to help the grip bond to the bar using adhesives. However, grips will eventually wear out and should be replaced.

Typical handlebar grips use either a slip-on or lock-on method of attachment. Slip-on grips rely on a friction fit or interference fit, in which the grips are stretched around the handlebar. This style is great for e-bikes and more casual riding styles.

Lock-on grips are designed with a locking collar system, keeping the grips secure until they are completely worn out. Lock-on grips are especially helpful for more extreme riding like mountain biking, but can work well with any style of bicycle riding.


Mountain bike handlebar grips

Lock on handlebar grips

Slip on mountain bike handlebar girps

Slip on handlebar grips

How Do I Remove My Bike Handlebar Grips?

Before removing the bike grips, remove any bar-end plugs if present. They can usually be pried out with a small screwdriver. Some designs use an expansion plug system. Loosen with the appropriate wrench and remove the plug.

Slip-On Grip Removal

There are several methods that can be used to remove slip-on grips:

  • An air compressor with the appropriate accessory can be used to create an air gap between the bar and grip. Twist and wiggle the grip to remove it.
  • Use a tool to open up one end of the grip and spray rubbing alcohol inside. This will act as a lubricant, allowing them to slide off.

Be careful not to pull too hard: soft rubber can tear making removal more difficult. If other methods fail, cut through the grip with a scissors or a blade. Don't attempt this with carbon fiber handlebars. Scoring the surface will weaken the handlebar and make riding unsafe. Scoring steel or aluminum will only cause cosmetic damage.

Mountain bike grips using an air compressor

Grip removal using an air compressor

Removing mountain bike grips using alcohol

Lock-On Grip Removal

Simply loosen the bolts that are clamping the grip to the bar. These are typically a 2.5, 3, or 4mm hex fitting.

Bike Grip Installation

First, clean the bar off with a nonresidual cleaner like isopropyl alcohol to ensure that the bar is free of contaminants and oils.

Slip-On Grip Installation

It can be challenging to slip the new grips onto the bar, especially with tight fitting styles.

  • Blowing air between the bar and grip can be helpful when working the grips on.
  • Similar to the removal process, alcohol can be used as a lubricant. Spray inside the grip and onto the bar, and slide the grip onto the bar. Be sure to wait until the alcohol has fully evaporated before riding the bike — this may take a few hours.
  • Finally, adhesive spray can also be used as a lubricant, and will help adhere the grip to the bar once dry. Hairspray can also be used for this purpose. It may take a day or so for some adhesives to fully dry.

Lock-On Grip Installation

Simply slide the grip on, orient the grip where you like it, and torque the bolts to the manufacturer’s stated torque value.

Bar End Plug Installation

Once you have the grips on, install the bar end plugs. These are an important part of your bike and should be considered a safety item. Bar end plugs are usually be pressed in by hand.

If they are stubborn, the can be gently tapped in with a hammer. In the case of expansion plugs, install into the bar and snug the bolt.

..and that's it! You're ready to hit the trails or road.


Shop Bike Grips

Back to blog

Got questions? We'd love to chat!

Reach us Monday-Saturday 9-6 PST

Bicycle Warehouse, it's your world, ride it!

Store Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Find a Bicycle Warehouse Store Near You!

1 of 4