Changing motorcycle grips can be frustrating if you haven’t done it often, or if you haven’t found a way to make it easy on yourself. At RideApart, we like the “Hairspray Method.” Read on to learn arcane secrets from our crowded garages.

Changing to high quality grips is an inexpensive way to upgrade both the look and feel of your motorcycle regardless of what you ride. Spending a little time deciding what’s right for you will also make it so that you don’t have to repeat this process prematurely. As with anything, good technique and frequent practice makes things easier.

What You Need:

  • Set of New Grips
  • Can Automotive Glass Cleaner
  • Can Hairspray
  • Small Screwdriver
  • 4mm Allen Key
  • Sharp Knife (Optional)
  • Pair Needlenose Pliers (Optional)

What To Do:

1. Prep Your Workstation

Clean off a spot on the bench to keep all of your tools in one place. Make sure your new grips are warm. Seems weird, but if it’s -5 degrees in your garage like it is in mine, this will be harder to do. It also never hurts to have a tasty beverage nearby.

The old grip.

2. Prep Your Bike

Secure your bike on the stand of choice. Take the appropriate Allen key and remove your bar ends/bark busters/other farkles from the bars. Set these aside in a safe place where you won’t drop them and lose a bolt.

Removing the cap with an Allen key.

3. Remove The Grips

Slide the smallest screwdriver you own up the inside of a grip and spray glass cleaner between the grip and the bar. Pull out the screwdriver, and start working the now slippery grip off of your bar. If this isn’t something that works for you, and you don’t care what happens to the old grip, use a utility knife or something equally sharp and slice the grip lengthwise to remove it.

Slide screwdriver up the inside of the grip.

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4. Prep the Surface

Clean your bars and throttle tube thoroughly. I keep using glass cleaner because it doesn’t harm anything on most bikes, and it’s not a lubricant. If you do have to use WD-40 to remove old grip glue, make sure to degrease your surfaces afterwards. Slippery grips are not safe grips.

Clean the bars and throttle tube thoroughly.

5. Game Time

Now you’ll be ready to put that fantastic new set of grips on. Start with the right grip. One will be larger in internal diameter to fit over the throttle tube, that one obviously goes on the right side. Apply hairspray (or glass cleaner!) on the inside of the new grip. Hairspray works as a lubricant when wet and a glue when it dries. Working quickly, shimmy the grip up the throttle tube. This takes a decent amount of both finesse and force, but if you used enough hairspray, the grip should slide into place easily. Repeat the process on the left hand side. Use generous amounts of hairspray inside the grip, line it up, and twist back and forth while pushing. Now you have new grips!

The larger internal diameter (right) fits over the throttle tube.

6. Fine-Tune

Rotate your left hand grip to match the position of your right hand grip. With your bike turned off (and your fuel turned off if your machine is carbureted), check your throttle to make sure it’s working properly. It should move freely and snap closed like it did before.

New grip.

That’s it! What techniques do you use to change grips?


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