How to Change Handlebar Grips on a Mountain Bike

Last Updated on March 10, 2022

Knowing how to change handlebar grips on a mountain bike is important. It’s because they are one of the first parts that wear down. This is especially true if you always ride your bike, don’t wear gloves, and have sweaty hands.

But changing your bike’s grips isn’t really difficult. In fact, it’s one of the easiest maintenance activities for your bike.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to change handlebar grips on a mountain bike the right way. We’ll also tell you the things you need to prepare and some background information on the different grips types.

Things You Need

  • Allen tool
  • Torque wrench
  • WD-40
  • Spray bottle with soapy water
  • Cloth

Related: What Mountain Bike Tools Do I Need

Slip-on Grips vs Lock-on Grips

There are two different kinds of mountain bike grips. They are slip-on grips and lock-on grips. Slip-on grips are cheaper than the lock-on ones because they have a simpler mechanism.

You slip them on your grips and you’re done! They depend on interference fit and friction fit, so they won’t move. They’re usually used on cross-country bikes that prefer lightweight parts.

Meanwhile, lock-on grips have a locking collar system. You then lock the bolts in place with an Allen tool. These are preferred by downhill and enduro riders because they are more secure than the slip-on ones.

How to remove slip-on grips?

The best way to remove slip-on grips is with an air compressor. This creates an air gap between the grips and the handlebar.

Turn on the compressor and slowly wiggle and twist the grips to remove them. You can also use a tool to open the grip’s end. Then spray rubbing alcohol directly to it. This serves as a lubricant which makes it easier for you to slide off the grips.

If you still can’t remove it. Then the last option would be to cut the grips using scissors. Just be sure that you don’t cut through the handlebar.

How to remove lock-on grips?

Removing lock-on grips is very easy. In fact, it’s easier than removing slip-on grips. Just get an Allen tool and loosen the bolts that clamp the grip to the handlebar.

The Allen fitting you need depends on the bolt size. But these are usually 2.5 mm, 3 mm, or 4 mm. Slowly pull the grips out of the handlebar after you loosen the bolts.

How to Change Handlebar Grips on a Mountain Bike with Slip-on Grips

How to Change Handlebar Grips on a Mountain Bike with Slip-on Grips

Step 1

The first thing to do is to clean the handlebar with a non-residual cleaner. A good example of this is isopropyl alcohol. This ensures that the handlebar is free from oil and other contaminants.

Step 2

Turn your air compressor on and blow air directly between the grip and handlebar. This is important especially if your grips have a tight-fitting style.

Step 3

Spray some rubbing alcohol into the interior of the grips and handlebar. This lubricates the two surfaces and makes it easier for you to slide them. But be sure that the alcohol has completely evaporated before you ride your bike. This might take a few hours.

Step 4

You can spray another layer of adhesive if you want to ensure that it’s lubricated properly. An example of this is hairspray. But also be sure that the adhesive is fully dried up before riding your bike. This usually takes 12 to 24 hours.

Related: What Are the Best Mountain Bike Grips to Buy

How to Change Handlebar Grips on a Mountain Bike with Lock-on Grips

Step 1

Slowly slide the grip onto the handlebar. But be sure that its bolts are loose enough that they won’t fall down and scratch the bar. Twist the grips to the position and angle you want. Then use an Allen key to tighten the bolts into place.

Don’t over tighten it because this can damage the handlebar. Over tightening it can even break carbon handlebars.

We recommend you use a torque wrench to ensure that the bolts are in their correct tightness. The recommended tightness is usually around 5 Nm. But this depends on your grips and handlebar.

Step 2

Install the rubber bike grip bar ends once you’ve placed the grips on your handlebar. These are important because they keep your bars safe.

They also make sure your lock-on grips won’t fall out. Simply press the bar end plugs by hand if you can. But you can use a hammer and gently tap it if it’s too hard.

Related: The 10 Best Mountain Bike Handlebar Grips


Learning how to change handlebar grips on a mountain bike is important. This saves you time, money, and energy because you don’t have to go to the local bike shop. You can do it yourself wherever or whenever.

This also makes you prepared when you’re out on the trails.

Just apply the tips mentioned in this article on how to change handlebar grips on a mountain bike. When you do, then you’ll surely have a better time with your bike! You can also help your mates when on a ride.