How to Remove Bike Handlebar Grips? Beginners Easy Guide

How to Remove Bike Handlebar Grips? Beginners Easy Guide

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably tried removing your bike’s handlebar grips before and know it can be a real pain.

I’ve been in your shoes – spending way too much time wrestling with grips that just won’t budge.

Well, I’m here to make your life easier.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the different methods for getting those grips off safely and efficiently.

We’ll cover the easiest ways to remove grips intact, using things like compressed air, wire, and grip solvents.

I’ll also share some tips on how to remove stubborn lock-on grips and grip tape without damaging your bars.

By the end, taking grips on and off your bike will be a breeze!

So grab your toolbox and let’s get started.

How to Remove Bike Handlebar Grips?

When it comes to removing bike grips, there are a few methods out there – some good and some that can really mess up your handlebars.

I recommend starting with the least invasive options first, like compressed air, floss or fishing line.

These won’t damage the bars at all.

If you end up needing more leverage after that, use a flat head screwdriver carefully to avoid gauging the aluminum.

No matter what, never use a knife or other sharp tool to slice grips off!

This will scratch up your handlebars big time.

Okay, now let’s get into the step-by-step for each method:

1. Compressed Air

Using compressed air is my go-to way for removing standard rubber grips.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Remove the end plugs from the handlebars.
    You’ll need access to both ends.
  2. Insert the air nozzle about 1-2 inches into one end.
    Make sure it’s wedged under the grip snugly.
  3. Give a few quick blasts of air while pulling back on the grip.
  4. Repeat on the other side while continuing to pull.

The compressed air should break the grip free from the adhesive and allow you to slide them right off.

Make sure to protect your eyes while doing this in case debris flies out!

2. Fishing Line/Floss

If you don’t have a compressor on hand, no worries!

Some basic fishing line or floss can save the day.

Follow these steps instead:

  1. Cut a piece of fishing line or floss longer than your handlebars.
  2. Wedge one end under the grip at one side, then thread the rest underneath going around the bar.
  3. Once it’s threaded all the way around, pull the line ends steadily in opposite directions.
  4. Keep sawing back and forth until the grip starts coming free.

This method takes some patience, but works well if compressed air isn’t an option.

The thin line should slice right between the adhesive and bar without damaging anything.

3. Flat Head Screwdriver

When all else fails, you can use a flat head screwdriver to pry grips off – but be very careful with this approach!

Here’s how to do it safely:

  1. Remove the end caps like before to access the ends of the bars.
  2. Insert the flat head slowly at one end, using it as a lever to create a gap between the grip and bar.
  3. Once you have a little gap, move the screwdriver further down bit by bit, repeating the prying motion to work the grip free.
  4. Do this all the way around one side, then repeat on the other end.

The key is patience and using minimal force.

If you dig that flat head in too aggressively, it can scratch or gouge your handlebars.

So take it slow!

What is The Easiest Way to Remove Bike Grips?

Now that you know a few different methods, which is the absolute easiest way to remove handlebar grips?

In my experience, nothing beats a quick blast of compressed air.

As long as the end caps are off, you can pop even the most stuck grips off in seconds with a simple air compressor.

No struggling or sweating required!

The air just sneaks right in between the grip and adhesive layer, breaking that bond instantly.

One good blast alone will usually get a grip moving.

The best part is compressed air won’t damage the bars at all.

I can’t tell you how many nice handlebars I’ve seen all scratched up from improper grip removal – but air prevents that completely.

It also helps get built-up gunk out from between the grip and bar. Nasty black grime and old adhesive inevitably builds up in there over time.

The compressed air blows all that right out so you start with a clean slate for new grips.

So if you have access to air tools, use them! It makes grip removal nearly fun instead of a chore.

For those without an air compressor, fishing line or floss work well too.

Just be prepared for some elbow grease.

But either method is way better than hacking at your grips with a knife or screwdriver and wrecking your bars in the process!

How Do You Remove Handlebar Grips Without Destroying Them?

Taking off grips while keeping them intact for reuse is totally doable with the right technique.

Here are some tips:

  • Use compressed air! This pops the grip off without putting any pressure on the rubber.
  • Go slowly with a flat head. Take your time easing it around the edges bit by bit.
  • Apply grip solvent before removal. Spraying solvent like WD-40 into the gap softens the adhesive so grips slide off easier.
  • Don’t cut or slice grips off. This shreds and destroys them.
  • Pull gently and twist rather than yanking hard. Too much brute force can tear and rip the grips.
  • Be extra careful with lock-on grips. These have a rigid inner sleeve that cracks easily if pried.
  • Consider new handlebars if grips won’t budge. Bars naturally wear down with use, making grip removal tougher over time.

With some care and the right technique, you absolutely can get grips off intact for reuse or storage.

The goal is breaking that adhesive seal without mangling the actual grip rubber.

Taking it slow and using plenty of lubricant is key – don’t just hack at them like an ape!

If you already destroyed your grips trying to remove them, don’t sweat it.

We’ve all been there. Just use it as a lesson for next time.

How Do You Remove Bike Grips with an Air Compressor?

Earlier I touched on why compressed air is so great for removing bike grips.

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty details on how to do it right:

Here’s a quick step-by-step:

  1. Remove the end plugs from the handlebars.
    You MUST have open ends for this method.
  2. Fit the air nozzle about 1-2 inches into one end opening.
    Wedge it up into the grip gap.
  3. Give a few quick, SHORT blasts of air while pulling back on the grip.
    Don’t overdo it!
  4. Repeat on the other end while continuing to pull outward on the grip.
  5. Keep alternating sides until the grip fully releases and slides off.

Some key tips:

  • Use safety glasses! Debris may come flying out.
  • Try penetrating solvent first for stuck grips. Spray it in and let it sit before using air.
  • Pull firmly OUT, not off the ends during air blasts. This avoids collar damage.
  • Take breaks to re-position the nozzle. Repetition in different spots helps.
  • If air isn’t working, gently pry with a flat head to break the initial seal.

With this method, even the most stuck grips will surrender in minutes.

Just be smart and safe so you don’t blow out an eardrum in the process!

Proper technique makes air tools ideal for easy, non-destructive grip removal.

Is Grip Tape Removable?

For serious gnar-shredders, sometimes grips alone don’t cut it.

This is where grip tape comes in handy.

But eventually, you’ll need to swap that tape out.

So is it removable without a ton of hassle or goo-gone?

Luckily, yes – grip tape can usually be removed cleanly with some heat and elbow grease.

Here’s how:

  1. Use a hairdryer or heat gun to warm the adhesive backing.
    This softens it up.
  2. Slowly peel back the tape end bit by bit. Heat as you go to keep it pliable.
  3. If adhesive residue is left behind, scrub it off with an old rag and soapy water.
  4. For extra sticky tape, spray goo-gone or WD-40 under the edge once heated to help separate it.
  5. Take your time and don’t rip tape off!
    This can strip bars or leave adhesive chunks behind.

The key is applying heat consistently as you slowly work the tape off.

This prevents you from fighting the adhesive or making a mess of things.

Be patient and only peel up small sections at a time.

Before long, you’ll have clean handlebars ready for fresh grip tape without any frustrating sticky residue left behind!

Final Thoughts

Phew, we covered a lot of ground here on removing bike grips!

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get those grips off smoothly – you just need the right technique.

Hopefully, now you’re feeling confident to swap your own grips without hassle or damage.

Compressed air and fishing line are your new best friends!

Here are some final tips to remember:

  • Always remove end caps first for access
  • Try air or fishing line before more invasive tools
  • Pull outwards, not off the ends
  • Take your time and don’t force anything
  • Heat helps soften grip tape adhesive

Follow these steps, and your grip changes will go from dreaded to painless.

Got any other great tips on removing bike grips?

Let me know in the comments! Ride on friends!

Avatar photo
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.
join me email cta
Join me
Join me for more cycling related content and deals.

Related Articles