How to Put On Bike Grips Without Hairspray?

How to Put On Bike Grips Without Hairspray?

Putting new grips on your bike can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be!

While some people use hairspray or grip glue to get their new grips to stay in place, there are plenty of other options that work just as well.

In this article, I’ll walk through the steps for installing new grips without resorting to messy glue or hairspray.

We’ll cover alternatives like soapy water, alcohol, and friction paste.

I’ll also give tips on making sure your grips fit properly and stay where they should.

Whether you’re replacing old grips or putting handgrips on a new bike, this guide will help you get the job done.

Stick with me and you’ll be cruising around with fresh new grips in no time!

How to Put On Bike Grips Without Hairspray?

The most important thing when installing new grips is getting the sizing right.

You want a tight fit so the grips won’t twist or slide around on the handlebars.

Start by measuring the diameter of your handlebars.

Then compare that to the inside diameter of the new grips you want to install.

The grip should fit snugly but not be too difficult to slide on.

For full details on measuring and selecting the right grip size, see my guide: How Do I Choose Handlebar Grips? Beginners Guide

If the fit is a little loose, you can wrap a thin layer of electrical or masking tape around the bars to take up some space.

Just don’t go overboard with the tape or you won’t be able to get the grips on!

Once you’ve got the fit dialed, it’s time to prep the bars and grips. Use a degreaser or alcohol wipe to clean any oils or debris off the handlebars.

Give the new grips a quick cleaning too.

Having a freshly cleaned surface will help the grips adhere better.

Make sure everything is fully dry before moving to the next step.

Okay, with properly fitting grips and squeaky clean bars, we can start installing.

The key is using friction, not glue, to keep the grips from rotating or sliding.

Here are some of the best options for getting a good friction fit:

Soapy Water

One of the simplest approaches is using a mild soapy water solution as lubricant during installation. Dish soap diluted in warm water works perfectly.

Dip the grips into the solution before sliding them on. The soap allows the grips to rotate into proper alignment as you push them on.

Once in place, the water will dry out leaving the rubber to grip tightly to the handlebar.

No bonding agents necessary!

Just be sure your handlebars are totally dry first.

Any excess water under the grips can prevent them from sticking properly once dried out.

Rubbing Alcohol

Another household item that works for grip installation is plain old rubbing alcohol.

The alcohol helps slick the grips on initially.

Once it evaporates, it leaves the rubber and handlebar surfaces super clean for maximum friction.

Pour some isopropyl alcohol (at least 90%) into a small bowl or tray.

Submerge the end of the grip and wet the handlebar surface with the alcohol.

Twist and slide the grip into place with the lubrication from the alcohol.

Give it a few minutes to fully dry and you should have a very secure hold.

The great thing about alcohol is it removes any oily residues without leaving a film behind like soaps can.

This makes for an incredibly tight friction fit when dry.

Friction Paste

If you want something specifically formulated to help grip rubber adhere tightly, use a friction paste.

This tacky gel is made to improve traction between surfaces.

Friction paste is commonly used on motorcycle handlebar grips. Bicycle brands like Park Tool also make grip-specific paste lubes.

Just put a small amount on the handlebar end and inside the grip opening. The paste lets you twist the grip as you slide it on to position it perfectly.

Once settled, the paste sets up to create a super grippy bond between the rubber and bar surface.

The grips essentially become glued on with the friction paste.

This method won’t work well if you need to frequently remove your grips. The paste bonds so tightly that the grips can tear during removal.

But for a permanent application, it’s very secure.

How Do You Put Grips on Without Grip Glue?

Grip glues like hairspray or thick cyanoacrylate are another option for affixing grips.

But they make subsequent removal a sticky mess if you ever need to change grips.

Luckily, there are plenty of grip glue alternatives that don’t require permanent bonding:

  • Soapy water acts as a lubricant for installation.
    Once dry, the friction keeps grips stuck fast.
  • Rubbing alcohol cleans surfaces for maximum dry grip friction.
    Evaporates quickly after application.
  • Friction paste is formulated to keep rubber tightly adhered tobars.
    The paste bonds tight, but grips slide off with enough force.
  • Double-sided grip tape adds stickiness.
    Foam or cork tape works, applied along the length under grips.
  • Thin bicycle bar tape gives cushion and improved grip retention. Wrap handlebars before adding grips.
  • Hairspray is an option for semi-permanent attachment.
    Avoid super glue-type sprays.
  • Commercial grip end plugs wedge inside grip ends preventing rotation.
    Great for kids bikes.

The key is thoroughly cleaning bars and grips first, so they bond through friction not external glue.

And take time to get the right snug fit when choosing grips.

With the right process, you can install secure grips with everyday household products.

No annoying grip glue required!

How Do I Get My Bike Grip to Stick?

Nothing’s more annoying than bike grips that twist or slide around while riding.

Luckily, it takes just a few simple steps to get them to stick solidly in place:

First, make sure your grips are the right size.

Grips should fit snugly on the handlebars without needing to be forced on.

If the fit is loose, wrap a thin layer of tape around the bars to take up space.

You also need to thoroughly clean the handlebars and inside of the grips. Use alcohol or soapy water to remove any oils, dirt, or residue that could prevent adhesion.

Once prepped, install the grips using soapy water, alcohol, or friction paste as lubricant.

These help the grips slide on while allowing proper positioning.

Set and align the grip exactly where you want it, then let it fully dry.

The lubricants will evaporate, leaving the rubber strongly bonded to the handlebar surface through friction.

You can also use hairspray or double-sided grip tape for more permanent sticking power.

The tape is applied to the length of the bars before installing grips.

And don’t forget bar end plugs. These wedge inside the grip ends preventing rotation.

Essential for getting kids’ bike grips to stay put!

With clean, correctly fitted grips and a good friction-enhancing lubricant, you’ll have no problem getting a nice, tight grip that stays safely in place.

No more spinning and sliding to annoy your rides!

What Can I Use to Put Grips on?

Sticking new grips onto your handlebars is easy with many household items:

  • Soapy water – Wet grips and bars with mild soapy water solution. Provides slick lubrication to twist into place.
  • Rubbing alcohol – Alcohol cleans surfaces for max dry friction. Evaporates fast after application.
  • Friction paste – Gel paste made to keep rubber strongly adhered to surfaces. Stays a bit tacky.
  • Hairspray – Light spray helps grip rubber stick to bars. Avoid super glue formulations.
  • Grip tape – Double-sided foam or cork tape adds stickiness when applied under grips.
  • Bike bar tape – Wrapping thin bike tape around bars improves cushion and grip retention.
  • Silicone spray – Acts as lubricant and allows grip positioning, sets dry and tacky.
  • Vegetable oil – Natural oil lubricates grips on installation. Leaves no residue after drying.
  • Windex – Unexpectedly does a great job of lubricating grips onto handlebars!

Whatever you use, make sure bars and new grips are very clean first.

Having them correctly sized is also key to getting a tight, non-slip fit.

The best methods create friction, not permanent glue-like adhesion. That way you can adjust or remove grips later if needed without a big sticky mess!

Can You Use Soap and Water to Put on Bike Grips?


Using a mild soap and water solution is one of the most common and effective ways to install bike grips without glue. Here’s how it works:

Start by thoroughly cleaning the handlebars and inside the grips with rubbing alcohol to remove any contaminants. Make sure surfaces are completely dry.

Next, mix a diluted soap and water solution.

A couple drops of dish soap in a bowl of warm water is perfect.

Dip the grips into the solution to lightly coat them.

Slide the wet grips onto the handlebars. The soap allows the grips to be rotated into proper alignment as you push them on.

Once the grips are fully seated in the right position, let them dry completely. This allows any excess water and soap to evaporate.

As the grips dry, the rubber constricts slightly to create a tight fit around the bars.

The friction between the surfaces keeps the grips firmly in place without glue.

The key with the soapy water method is ensuring the handlebars are completely dry before installing grips.

Any residual water under the grips can prevent them from adhering tightly.

Pro tip: Use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process if needed in humid conditions.

So yes, plain old soap and water definitely does the trick for getting bike grips to stick fast!

It’s cheap, easy, and reversible if you ever need to remove the grips.

What Alcohol Do You Put on Grips?

Rubbing alcohol, particularly isopropyl alcohol at 90% concentration or higher, works great for installing bike grips. The alcohol helps in a few ways:

First, it effectively cleans and degreases the handlebar surface and inside of the grips.

This removes any contaminants that could reduce friction and adhesion.

Second, alcohol acts as a lubricating agent that allows the grips to slide into position more easily during installation.

Finally, the alcohol fully evaporates in minutes after application, leaving the surfaces “tacky”.

This creates optimal dry friction between the rubber grip and handlebar.

Here are a few tips for using alcohol when putting on grips:

  • Pour alcohol into a bowl and wet grips + bars before installation.
    Reapply as needed.
  • Ensure surfaces are completely dry before applying alcohol.
    Residual water will reduce its effectiveness.
  • Use 90-99% concentration alcohol for best results.
    Lower proof alcohol may leave some oily residue.
  • Allow 5-10 minutes for complete evaporation before riding to maximize friction.

So clean those grips and bars with some rubbing alcohol for a super easy, no-mess grip installation!

The results are incredibly secure, using friction rather than glue to keep grips stuck fast.

How Do You Install Rubber Grips?

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for installing rubber grips on your bike:

  1. Select the proper size grips. Measure handlebars and ensure the grips fit snugly but don’t need to be forced on.
  2. Thoroughly clean bars and grips with alcohol or soap and water to remove any oils and dirt. Dry completely.
  3. Apply soapy water, alcohol, or friction paste as a lubricant on grips and bars. Helps them slide into position.
  4. One at a time, slide grips fully onto handlebars and rotate into proper alignment.
  5. Let grips dry completely, at least 5 minutes. This sets the rubber firmly in place as lubricants evaporate.
  6. Consider adding bar end plugs, especially for kids bikes. The plugs wedge inside grips preventing rotation.
  7. Test grips by attempting to twist them on the handlebars. Properly installed grips will not rotate or slide when gripped firmly.
  8. Reapply chosen lubricant and reposition or remove grips if needed. Friction-set grips can be adjusted.

With the right lubricant and a good cleaning prep, rubber grips can be installed securely without glue or hairspray.

A snug fit and letting them dry completely is key to getting a tight, non-slip grip.

Final Thoughts

Swapping out old grips or putting new grips on a bike doesn’t require messy glues or hairspray if you follow the right process.

Start by taking measurements so you get a nice, snug-fitting set of grips. Clean the bars and grips thoroughly before installing.

Use basic household liquids like soapy water, alcohol or vegetable oil as lubricants when sliding on the grips.

They let you properly align and position the grips, then set up through friction as they dry.

You can also wrap thin bike handlebar tape to give a bit of cushion and tackiness before adding grips.

And remember those bar end plugs to lock in grip positioning on kids’ bikes.

With this handy guide, you can ditch the annoying grip glues and get comfortable new grips installed solidly on your bike using simple techniques.

Just be patient letting them fully dry and cure before hitting the road.

Happy and safe riding with your fresh grip upgrade!

Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Joey B. Ramsey
Passionate cyclist, father, and blogger.
I've been riding bikes since childhood and enjoy sharing my knowledge with fellow cycling enthusiasts.
My diverse bike collection allows me to write reviews and advice based on personal experience with various bikes and accessories.
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