Is it your first time changing out your motorcycle handlebar grips? Wondering why motorcycle grips have a different size hole for each side, worried that you got the wrong parts?
Well, fear not my friends, they are supposed to be that way!
Basic Grip Info
The larger hole is for the right-hand side of your handlebars. It is larger as it slips over the throttle tube. The throttle tube rotates over the handlebar, and is larger diameter than the handlebar itself.
The smaller hole is for the left-hand side of your handlebars, and slips over the bare handlebar.
Neither of these two holes will measure exactly 1", 7/8", etc. If they did, they would simply slide right off. The grips need to be a snug fit so they stay where they belong; on your handlebars! You can see the how to make motorcycle grips blog post to know more information about grips from idea to finished product.
The larger hole goes on the throttle tube and the smaller hole goes on the handlebar on the left.
Different Methods For Installing Motorcycle Grips
Method 1: Using WD40 or Spray Paint inside your grip before sliding grips on
There are many different ways to install your grips, though some common ones would be to spray some hairspray, WD-40 or spray paint (the color doesn't matter!) inside your grip before sliding it on. While wet, it helps slide the grip on, but once dry it helps keep your rubber grips from sliding off.
Start from the very inside of the grip, spraying thoroughly to the outside edge.
The grip will slide on with ease and then as the WD-40 dries, it will become sticky and keep your grips on for miles and miles.
Method 2: Grip Tape
Another trick is to use some adhesive-backed grip tape, as found on skateboards, and applying thin strips around the end of your handlebars. It is hard to slip your grips on with the grip tape in place, but it will keep then from working their way loose. It is easiest to install your grips with compressed air (see below) when using the grip tape method, as of course the grips don't easily slide up over the grip tape!
Method 3: Secure rubber handlebar grips by using safety wire
Lastly, a mechanical way you can secure your rubber grips is by using a piece of safety wire around the outside of the end of your grip. Safety wire pliers twist the wire, tightening it tourniquet-style, compressing your grip against the handlebar. This is common practice on motocross bikes and race bikes of all sorts.
A Quick & Easy Way To Install Rubber Motorcycle Grips
Regardless of installing your grips dry, with hair spray, or with grip tape on your bar end, using an air blow-off nozzle on your compressor's air line and spraying some compressed air under the edge of your grip as you install helps it slide in place very easily.
This is also a pro-tip for grip removal! Compressed air sprayed under the edge helps get old grips off, though slicing through them with a razor blade and peeling them off works quite fast and easy as well.
Remember grips come in two sizes, the larger one goes over the throttle tube and the smaller one goes over the left handlebar!
Using an air hose nozzle attached to your favorite air compressor will help slide on and off grips with ease!
Air nozzles make putting on grips easy peasy.
Motorcycle Throttle Tubes
Most motorcycle grips do not include a throttle tube. The throttle tube slides onto your handlebar and is what you twist, typically pulling or pushing a cable. Late model Harley-Davidsons operate using a small sensor switch that turns when you twist the throttle, known as 'throttle by wire'.
Throttle tubes can be made out of aluminum, such as the Biltwell Throttle Tube, but there are also inexpensive but equally functional options available, such as the Cycle Standard Throttle Tube, which is made of a durable plastic. Aluminum throttle tubes will likely never give you any issues, while a plastic throttle tube could crack where the cable engages though this is by no means a common occurrence.
Some motorcycles, such as Harley-Davidsons, have the stock grip and throttle tube as one piece. In this case, you may want to purchase a throttle tube if you are interested in running custom Harley-Davidson grips. On many other bikes you can simply remove the stock rubber grip and install the new grips onto your existing stock throttle tube.
INSTALL TIP: Make sure that the throttle isn't slid too far up your handlebar. If it is, and the throttle tube is open-ended, the rubber of the grip can be dragging on the end of the handlebar when twisting the throttle, which will cause your throttle to be less 'snappy' and offer less control over your machine!
Watch Our How To Install Motorcycle Grips Video
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Photos of Motorcycle Grips
- Lowbrow Customs Knurled Grips
- Lowbrow Customs 1 inch Black Fish Scale grips
- Lowbrow Customs Cole Foster grips
- Lowbrow Customs Beck grips
- Lowbrow Customs Finish Line grips
- Lowbrow Customs 1 inch Classic grips - Metal flake black
- Lowbrow Customs 1 inch Cole Foster Antique Grey grips
Besides, if your grips are Biltwell motorcycle grips, you can see how to put on motorcycle grips with Otto from Biltwel video to learn more details about it.
You can also learn how to install grips for your motorcycle with our basic guide below: