Step-by-Step: How to Install Rubber Handlebar Grips

Are you tired of old handlebar grips? Has your previous grip given you a hard time and you want to make sure you get a good one this time? I know how annoying it is to struggle with handlebar grips!

Having a comfortable grip that accommodates appropriate wrist and hand movements is important for a good biking experience, and thus, if the rubber grip has worn down, you should replace it. 

Here’s how to install rubber handlebar grips:

  1. Remove the current rubber handlebar grips 
  2. Give the handlebar a thorough cleaning
  3. Make use of plastic ties to fix the handlebar grips
  4. Spray the inside of the grips to help them slide in easily 
  5. Finally push the grip into the bar smoothly

Fortunately, installing rubber handlebar grips is not complicated at all and you can easily do it yourself.

Read on as I guide you about how you can install rubber handlebar grips on your bike without any hurdles!

What Do I Need to Install Rubber Handlebar Grips?

Before you jump to the process, there is some important stuff that you should gather for the procedure beforehand. You can easily find most of this equipment in your own house or a local bike store near you. Once you are done gathering all the equipment, you can finally start the process.

Here is a list of all the things you will need to install rubber handlebar grips:

  • Soap and water
  • Plastic ties
  • Replacement rubber handlebar grips
  • Rubbing alcohol/Hairspray
  • Hammer
  • Screw driver
  • Razor blade
  • Wrench 
  • Compressed air

How to Install Rubber Handlebar Grips

If you have gathered the things required for the process, you are already on the right track. Installing rubber handlebar grips is quite easy. 

Please note that you will be doing some thorough cleaning so you should ideally do the procedure in an open space like the backyard of your house. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

#1 Remove the Old Handlebar Grips

Before you begin installing the new rubber handlebar grips, you obviously need to remove the current ones. You can use a screwdriver or a wrench for this task. With the help of the screwdriver, you can untighten the bolts until the grips come loose. 

If you cannot find any screws or bolts, you will just have to cut and scrape off the grips. You can use a razor blade or a knife for that, but you should take caution while performing this task.

To facilitate this process, you can use rubbing alcohol or WD-40 spray on the handlebar grips.

Once you are done applying it, you should wait for approximately 10 minutes and then try removing the grips again. If it gets stuck anywhere in between, you can use compressed air to ease the removal. 

There are various ways you can go about removing the old handlebar grips, and that entirely depends on what you have available.

As long as the end goal is being met, i.e. the old grips are being removed, you are good to move on to the next step.

#2 Clean the Handlebar Thoroughly

Even though you have taken out the old handlebar grip, it would have surely not come off easily and left some of its components stuck on the handle or made it dirty enough to not be used again.

Thus, the first step is to clean the handlebar thoroughly before you install the new handlebar grips. 

To clean the handlebar, you can always use the simplest yet the most effective duo, soap and water. Apply some soap on the handlebar with the help of a sponge or an old rag.

Let it sit there for a while and then apply water to remove the soap. You can repeat this process as many times as you like. You just have to ensure that the surface of the bar is clean enough for the next handlebar grip.

Once you are done cleaning, it is highly important that you dry the water really well. If the water is left inside the handlebar or anywhere near it, it can lead to rusting.

Rust will eventually let your new handlebar grip degrade quite fast and you will find yourself stuck in the same position again. 

» You can also read my post: Types Of Bicycle Handlebars

#3 Use Plastic Ties to Slip the Handlebar Grips

Now that you have thoroughly cleaned the handlebar surface, you can now move to adding plastic ties on the handlebar. 

The entire point of adding plastic ties on the handlebar is to add some friction between the grip that will be slipped on and the surface of the handlebar.

The plastic bars will add some friction so that the newly installed grip stays in place and doesn’t slip out again. To perform this task, you can take 2-3 plastic ties and curl them on different sides around the handlebar. 

Alternatively, you can use a quick evaporating liquid such as rubbing alcohol or a hairspray, both of which will do the job, evaporate and leave no trace.

Once you are done preparing the handlebar for the installation of the new grip, it is time to finally install it and see how it turns out. 

#4 Push the Grip Into the Bar

To install the new rubber handlebar grips, you need to push them on the bar while simultaneously twisting them. You should not rush through this because you can damage the new grip before even installing it. 

Thus, start twisting the grips bit by bit as you push them slowly inside. Once the grip has slipped all the way, you should hammer it on the sides just to ensure that it is firmly fixed and will not come off mid-ride. 

If your bike had any bar end plugs before, you can now install them back with the help of a hammer.

Now, you should take out your bike on a ride and check if the new rubber grip is comfortable to your hands.

You should try braking a few times and experiment your wrist and hand positions on long rides to see if you feel any strains.

If you find the new grips to be problematic, you can always replace them following the method explained above. 

How Do You Put On Rubber Handlebar Grips With An Air Compressor?

Air compressor is an effective agent that you can use to install rubber handlebar grips on your bike. They are not only cost-effective and time-saving but also much more convenient and easily available. 

An air compressor shoots puffs of compressed air that help with the process of rubber grip removal as well as its installation.

#1 Remove the Rubber Grip Using an Air Compressor

To start off, place the straw of the air canister underneath the rubber grip. With the help of pliers, now pinch one end of the rubber grip and create a gap to fix the straw easily inside. 

Now you can start spraying the air through the canister underneath the grip while simultaneously pulling it from the other side. The grip should come off the handlebar easily.

#2 Spray the Handlebar With a Lubricant

Now you should prepare the handlebar for the new rubber grips. For that, spray the handlebar and the inside of the grip with a lubricant or a hairspray.

You can use WD-40 as a lubricant or rubbing alcohol, both of which work great. If your handlebar is dirty, you should clean it with warm water and soap and let it dry before you insert the new grip.

Now slide the rubber grip smoothly on the handlebar and keep twisting it and pushing it simultaneously to fix it appropriately on the bar.

#3 Perform Final Inspection

Your new grip is finally fixed on your handlebar. You can now adjust the gears and shifting levers back on the handlebar.

Clean the handlebar and the new grips with a dry cloth. Now finally take it out for a ride and see if the new grips are comfortable for your hands and offer a good wrist position. 

If you find that the rubber handlebar grips are not comfortable, you can replace them and find other types of grips that may be more suited for your hand posture.

How Do You Remove Old Handlebar Grips?

Old handlebar grips are slightly difficult to remove because they have broken down and stuck firmly to the handlebar.

To remove your handlebar grips, you would have to follow some very specific steps that I would highlight below.

#1 Use WD-40 Lubricant

Firstly, start the process by applying the WD-40 lubricant on the inside of the grip through the small straw fixed on the top.

The WD-40 lubricant would lubricate the surface of the handlebar and make it easier to remove the rubber grip. 

#2 Use Hairspray and Compressed Air

To assist you in removing the old rubber grips, you can use a hairspray to further lubricate the surface of the handlebar.

Additionally, you can also use compressed air which will separate the rubber grip from the handlebar and it would be easier to pinch the grip and plug it off the handlebar. 

#3 Clean the Surface Thoroughly

Now, move on to cleaning the surface of the grip thoroughly. You can use soap and water to perform this task.

Additionally you can also use rubbing alcohol to sterilize the surface. You should try plugging off the grip again, however, if that doesn’t happen, you will have to cut them off.

#4 Cut Off the Grips From the Bar

Since the rubber grips are old, it is highly likely that even after all your efforts, they are still stuck on the handlebar.

You have no other option but to cut them off. You can use a heated knife to cut off the handlebar grip. Now finally you can clean the handlebar surface and install the new rubber handlebar grip.

» I have covered more on this subject in this blog post: How To Remove Grips From Handlebars

How to Maintain Rubber Handlebar Grips After Installation?

Even though you have installed the rubber handlebar grips, they would deteriorate soon if you do not maintain them.

There are a few steps you can take to ensure appropriate maintenance of the rubber handlebar grips.

#1 Keep the Bar Clean

Your daily biking activities expose your rubber handlebar grips to various gunk and dust that accumulate in it.

Continuous exposure to UV rays and dust eventually leads to weakening of these rubber grips and they break down.

Thus, to prevent early breakdown of your rubber handlebars, you should clean the bar at least once a month.

To clean the handlebar grip, use a toothbrush or a sponge to apply and scrub a few drops of dish oil. Scrub the handlebars thoroughly until it gets foamy and then wash it off with water.

#2 Keep Sharp Objects Away

Any sharp object can lacerate or penetrate through the rubber handlebar grip. This laceration can make for an uneven grip and may cause blisters on your hand.

Moreover, water and dust may come in contact with the steel handlebar and cause it to rust, reducing the life of your bike handlebar. 

Thus, wherever you go on your biking endeavors, ensure that you steer clear of any sharp twigs or other sharp objects.

If the rubber grip is damaged due to a sharp object, it is better to replace it right away rather than waiting for further damage to occur.

» Read my blog post: How To Raise Handlebars on Kids Bike

Is It Easy to Change Bike Grips?

Yes, changing the bike grips is super easy. New grips would not only upgrade your bike and give your hands some new padding to hold on to, but also give it a new and cool outlook. 

As explained above, all you have to do is first remove the old bike grips with the help of WD-40 or rubbing alcohol or compressed air. Then you need to thoroughly clean the handle bars of your bike with fresh water and swap. 

Now tie some plastic around the handlebar of your bike to increase the friction. Lastly, insert the new grip on the handlebar while twisting and pushing it in simultaneously. 

When Should I Replace My Mountain Bike Rubber Handlebar Grips?

There is no particular time to replace the rubber handlebar grips from mountain bikes, but a good rule of thumb is to always look out for signs that indicate that the grips may need replacing. The grip loosening and shifting easily on the handlebar is a good indication to replace them. 

Another clear cut sign you can look out for is if your hand starts slipping from them or the grips have lost their strength and tackiness.

Any of these signs indicate that the rubber handlebar grips have lived their lives and your strenuous biking activities require a new grip. 

How Do You Slide New Handlebar Grips?

Use alcohol or WD-40 as a lubricant. If either of these aren’t available, you can use hairspray too. You just have to spray the lubricant you are using on the inside of the grip, right before slipping it on. 

However, you should be careful to wait for the lubricant to slightly dry before you slip the handlebar grip, otherwise, it may just fall off the handlebar. 

You can put up a little straw near the nozzle of the lubricant and apply it to multiple areas of the grip so that it can slide in more easily. 

Final Thoughts

A comfortable bike grip defines your biking experience majorly, and rubber grips are one of the most preferred and comfortable grips out there.

Installing the bike rubber handlebar grips is highly convenient and easy and you can surely do it too if you follow this guide.

Now you don’t have to go to a bike shop to install rubber handlebar grips. You can do that yourself with just some basic equipment. What are you waiting for then?

Get on with the task then. Closely follow the steps mentioned in this guide and  finally install these rubber handlebar grips all by yourself!

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