There comes a time for every motorcycle when the grips will need a slight refresh or an all-out change. Changing them, however, might be trickier, especially with the multiple types of grip designs out there and their attachment method. This is why I dedicated this article on showing you how to change your motorcycle grips in a few simple steps that don’t require a ton of tools and prior preparation.
Here is a recap of all the steps that we need to go through:
- Preparing your tools and workstation
- Removing the old handles
- Preparing the surface for the new handles
- Installing the new handles
- Checking the end result
If you want to check some of my suggestions for new replacements, head over to my full guide on some of the best motorcycle grips out there! Now, let’s first see what tools we are going to need for the job.
Tools Needed and Workstation Preparations
There are a few different methods of performing the task, and therefore a few different sets of tools that we might be needing. Nevertheless, here is everything that should come into play no matter the changing method:
- Contact cleaner
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Stainless-steel lock wire
- Hair spray
- Adhesive (any type)
- Flathead screwdriver
- Allen wrench
After you’re done gathering the necessary tools, you will need to prepare your workstation and bike. Place all your tools in a designated work area and make sure that your bike is placed securely on its stand. Now that you are done preparing your tools, workstation, and bike for this whole process, let’s get into the nitty-gritty stuff…
Removing the old handles
There are two main ways to remove the old handle – slipping it out or cutting it out. Depending on what you want to do with them, you can choose between either of those two methods but the easier one of the two is simply cutting them with a razor blade and removing them.
If you want to keep and/or reuse your old motorcycle grips, you need to pull the grip up from the bar and spray isopropyl alcohol or a contact cleaner in the newly formed gap. That should dissolve some of the old glue and lubricate the surface good enough so that you can slip the grip right out. You can either twist the grip up and down or pull it with a set of clamps. If it gets stuck while you’re pulling it, use more contact spray or isopropyl alcohol.
If you also want to learn how to change your bike’s chain and sprockets, make sure you visit my article on that topic!
Preparing the surface for the new handles
After you are done removing the old grips, you need to make sure that the handle’s surface is clean and ready for the new grips to be installed. Use more isopropyl alcohol and some glue dissolver to remove any residue from the old handle’s adhesive. The surface you are going to work with has to be clean and smooth so that you can evenly apply the new coating of adhesive or other sticky material of your choosing.
Installing the new handles
The first thing you will notice is that the two grips have two different internal tube diameters. The one with the larger opening fits over your throttle bar. Take your isopropyl alcohol or surface cleaner and spray it on the inside of the grip before inserting it. You can use all sorts of adhesives here but just make sure you never use super glue. Put the replacement grip onto the bar and pull towards you while wiggling it on and prying it with the flathead screwdriver at the same time.
After you’ve put the new grips into place, tighten the end screws of the handles. They are typically tightened or loosened with an Allen wrench but different brands have different end caps. Some motorcycles don’t have those, making the whole process of changing the grips much easier and faster but also allows for more lateral movement of the grip further down the road.
Pro tip: If you use hairspray when installing the new grips it will work both as a lubricant to make putting the grip easier and also act as an adhesive to avoid slippage once it dries off.
Checking the end result
Once you are done installing your new grips, you should check for a few important things. First, test out how comfortable they are and see if there is any wiggle to them. If you’ve cleaned the bars nicely before putting the new grips, there shouldn’t be any free movement. The bar end on the grip should also be screwed tightly not allowing any free movement. Lastly, make sure that your throttle isn’t getting stuck when twisted on and off.
If you have installed heated handgrips, make sure that you check if they work and that everything is connected properly without any risks for damage to the bike’s electrical system. If you suspect that they aren’t working properly, repeat the process and check their wiring for any damage or accidental breakage.
Click here if you want to read my spring motorcycle maintenance checklist!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you reuse motorcycle grips?
Depending on their condition and how attached you are to them, you might want to stick to your grips for a while longer. The best reason to do that is in case your new grips just don’t fit well or aren’t by your taste.
How do you get glued grips off?
With grips that are superglued to the bars, you might want to try something radical and just cut them off. Trying WD-40 on them beforehand might also work so just that a go as well.
Learning how to change your motorcycle grips can be a valuable tool in your arsenal once you decide to upgrade your motorcycle further down the road. Whether your old grips have been worn out or you want to install new heated ones, following the same few simple steps that I’ve covered in this article should guarantee your success every time!