If you’re not sure how to install dirt bike grips, it’s a pretty simple task, but there are a few different ways to go about it.
I’ll share the way I do it and give you a few alternatives, so you can choose which suits you.
If your old grips are falling apart or causing blisters on your hands, fitting new grips can make a world of difference to your riding enjoyment.
How often should you change your grips?
- When the surface bumps are worn down and they don’t provide sufficient grip anymore.
- If the grips slip around the bar when you are riding. This can be very dangerous.
- If you just want to bling your bike up with some colored grips, they’re a pretty cheap product.
Tools You’ll Need
- Small flat blade or Philips screwdriver
- A sharp Box cutter or Stanley knife (if you are installing handguards)
- Wire cutters & safety wire
- Safety wire pliers (regular pliers do the job too)
- Contact Cleaner or Acetone
- Rubber gloves and rag
Steps to Change Grips on a Dirt Bike
1. Remove the old grips
If you don’t intend to keep them, the easiest option is to just cut them off with your box cutter.
If you are keeping them, take your small screwdriver and slip it between the handlebar and grip and pry them off. Rotate it around the bar to break the seal of the old glue.
Some people spray some WD40 or contact cleaner inside to break it down.
Another option is to use compressed air to pop it off if you have access to a compressor.
2. Clean the Ends of the Handlebars
Use contact cleaner or acetone and a rag to remove any old grime and glue. This is very important to ensure a good bond between your bars and the new grips.
It may be necessary to use a scouring pad or wire brush to clean up the knurled bar surface in preparation for the new grips.
3. Fit the New Grips
Some people heat up the grips with a hairdryer to soften them up and make them easier to slide on. Depending on the glue you use, it may not be necessary.
The glue should act as a lubricant until it becomes tacky, so speed is of the essence.
Note: one of the grips has a larger hole diameter. This is the one that goes on the throttle side. Be careful not to mix them up.
Tip: poke a hole in the end of the grip to allow air to escape as you push them on.
If you’re fitting handguards, then you’re going to cut the ends off anyway.
Tip: If you’re competing it’s sometimes mandatory to plug the end of the handlebar with a washer or coin before fitting the grips. This is a safety precaution and makes the end of the bar less of a hazard in the event of an accident.
If you’re not installing handguards, there are some good handlebar end plugs available which are another good way to add some bling to your bike.
The Glue: Manufacturers say to use their glue with their grips – That is: Pro Taper grips with Pro Taper glue, Renthal grips with Renthal glue.
The reality is you can use any grip glue, shoe glue, superglue, or even spray paint.
Renthal Grip Glue is a good one. It’s widely used by race teams.
Spray or squeeze a small amount on the handlebar and inside the grip.
Quickly slide it on and twist it round to the desired orientation if you’re using half-waffle grips. This helps to smear the glue evenly around the bar.
If you are using half waffle grips, the waffle should face down. The waffle is designed for your fingertips to latch on at the bottom.
Wipe off any excess glue.
Scott Sports Black Radial Half Waffle Grips are a popular and widely used grip, and very cheaply priced.
For a review of 10 of the best available: 10 Best Dirt Bike Grips
Do the same on the throttle side. The difference is that you can only rotate the grip upwards to avoid opening the throttle when twisting it on.
If the throttle tube has a hole in the end, use duct tape to cover it to prevent the glue from getting in and threatening the smooth throttle action.
Allow at least 8 hours for the glue to set before you ride.
Some prefer to not glue the grips at all and just wire them to keep them in place. This makes it easier to remove them when it’s time to replace them. It’s your choice
4. Wiring on the Grips
This isn’t mandatory, some people prefer not to, but if you ride pretty hard or compete, it’s a good idea.
Some grips have grooves in them to allow the wire to sit flush with the surface.
If you intend to wire them, make sure you buy grips with the wire grooves.
Double wrap the wire around the grip, being careful not to cross it over. Give it a few twists with your fingers at the bottom.
Tip: Cut it off to the right length, then remove it from the bar, straighten it out, then use it as a measure to cut the other wires to the same length.
Replace the wire, then twist it at the bottom of the grip. This is where the special safety wire pliers make it easier, but if you don’t have those, normal pliers will do. Twist it nice and tight.
Cut the wire off about half an inch (12mm) from the grip. Before you fold it in bend the end over 90 degrees to make a small hook. This allows you to dig it into the grip when you fold the wire down and hides the sharp end.
Always fold it towards the front of the bike. This makes sure it doesn’t catch your fingers as you hold the grip. Make sure the wire is pushed into the groove in the grip so that you don’t feel the wire with your hand.
Apply the wire in 2 or 3 places on the grip. The grooves in the grip make the positioning easy. If there are no grooves in the grip make sure the wire is no closer than about 12mm (half an inch) from the end of the bar, or it may slip off the end and damage the end of the grip.
Tips On What Not To Do:
- Ride with loose grips. They could even come right off if you don’t use handguards.
- Leave tie wire ends protruding. To avoid stabbing your fingers make sure the twisted end is pressed into the grip.
- Ride without plugged bar ends. In a crash, the blunt bar end could stab you or others.
Some riders prefer to wire the grips only, and some prefer glue, some do both. Racers generally prefer to wire them as glue can fail sometimes.
It’s a personal preference, the decision is up to you depending on the type of riding you do.
The Top 10 Best Grips available today: 10 Best Dirt Bike Grips
If you are fitting handguards, this will be useful: 6 Best Dirt Bike Handguards – For MX & Enduro Riders
Want to add some Bling to your bike: Bling Your Bike – Mojo Product Review
Leaking Fork Seals? They may just need cleaning: How To Clean Leaky Fork Seals
Do you have any tips to make installing dirt bike grips any easier? What grips can you recommend? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.
6 thoughts on “How To Install Dirt Bike Grips”
There are some tips you should use when Removing Bike Handlebar Grips. First, the use of WD-40 lubricant, which is the most widely used substance for grip removal. You can squirt an ample amount of lubricant onto the grip surface prior to removal. The same with WD-40 lubricant. The use of hairspray is another way to take off handlebar grips. Another method is the compressed air method. You have to place the nozzle under the grip and put the air compressor inside. You can also rely on soap and water. You should place a screwdriver to create a gap against the handlebar, then fill in the gap with soap and water to make the attachment slipper. Besides soapy water, rubbing alcohol can also work wonders. Finally, if your grip is already old and tattered, you can choose to cut the rubber fast.
Hi Dalton. Those are all great tips, thanks for your input. I’ve just recently replaced the grips on my KTM and didn’t glue them, just wired them on and they hold perfectly.
The old ones were slipping on the bar so were easy to get off.
Having a loose and sliding bike grip is a major no-no when biking. It can cause serious road accidents where you lose control of the navigation. So, it is important to have them replaced once you notice the grip wearing out.
Hi Dalton. Exactly right. They should be replaced as soon as they start working loose. Especially if you are using the open-style motocross handguards.
Why replace when you can wrap? advantagegripwraps.com
Hi Patrick. Looks like a good idea. Thankfully dirt bike grips are relatively cheap compared to street bikes like Harley Davidsons with heated grips. I’d certainly be looking at wrapping old grips if I had to pay $800 to replace them.