5 Tips To Choose Mountain Bike Grip Adhesives
Whether you are a pro or amateur mountain bike rider, you may have encountered the common problem of a slipping or moving bike handle grip. Having a comfortable and stable handlebar grip is one of the most important components to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. Securely installed handlebar grips provide better control when riding over bumpy terrain, and the best way to guarantee your hands and grips won’t shift while riding is to apply mountain bike grip adhesive or mountain bike glue.
Choose mountain bike grip adhesive glue that withstands heat, that is clear with a quick curing time, that allows for reapplication, and is durable.
What Is Mountain Bike Grip Adhesive?
Mountain bike grip adhesive is essentially a solution that—when applied to the handlebar grips—provides enough tack to improve a rider’s hold on the bike.
Mountain bike grip adhesive holds a mountain bike grip on the handlebar by increasing adhesion on the inside of the grip.
By preventing the grips from slipping, you can drastically improve your control when riding. This article from RedBull titled, “Hands On: Contact Points for Your Bike” discusses the importance of maintaining a firm hold on your handlebars through the use of tight fitting grips, and how they affect the on-trail experience.
You may also be interested in learning how to choose mountain bike grip shifters as well. Make sure to take a look at that article as well for more information.
Types of Mountain Bike Grip Adhesive
Manufacturers originally produced bike grip adhesives to keep the grip on the handlebar during the strain of riding. While not originally intended, you can also add the adhesive on the outside of your grip to increase tackiness.
Bike grip glue and contact adhesive are the most common types of mountain bike grip adhesives. Contact adhesives require that the gap in between the grip and the handlebar are minimized, in order to bond properly while grip glues are more forgiving.
Grip glue is a type of glue specially made for sticking mountain bike grips to the handlebars. Grip glue keeps your grips tightly attached to the handlebar, and there are numerous brands to choose from--we prefer this one. To use grip glue, just apply some glue to the inner part of the grips and slide them onto the handlebars.
When purchasing grip glue keep in mind the material that your grips are made of and choose glue that is suitable for that particular material. There are also multi-purpose glues which work with any kind of grip material. If you're still in the market for new bike grips, check out our guide to mountain bike grip sizes to make sure you buy the right ones. Also, read our mountain bike grip installation guide for more information about the types of handlebar grips that are available and how to install them.
Contact adhesive is a type of adhesive that can be applied to most surfaces, must be allowed to fully dry before use, and provides a permanent bond. Contact adhesives are more general-purpose than grip glues.
To use contact adhesive, apply the adhesive to both materials, let it dry for a couple of seconds and join the two together firmly. Make sure to properly align the two surfaces to one another as there is no way to move the surfaces around once they have made contact.
Some contact adhesives take longer to dry. This gives you a tradeoff. You can move the parts around even after you bring them in contact, but they take longer to set.
Below is a summary of the types of mountain bike grip adhesive with their pros and cons:
|Mountain Bike Adhesive Types||Pros||Cons||Amazon Product (Link)||Price|
|Grip Glue||Easy to use, holds firmly||Grips can loosen up after some time||Loctite Heavy Duty Threadlocker||~$6|
|Contact Adhesive||Holds firmly, durable||Hard to reposition once it is glued||Gorilla Clear Grip Contact Adhesive||~$8|
How to Choose Mountain Bike Grip Adhesive
Before you buy a grip adhesive, you have to know what kind of mountain bike grips you own and the material they are made from. You should either buy a grip adhesive that is specially made for that particular material, or purchase a multi-purpose one. If you're still in the market for a mountain bike, check out our related article to find out "what mountain bike should I buy?"
Buy a mountain bike grip adhesive that withstands heat, is clear, has quick curing time, allows for reapplication, and is durable.
Tip 1. Choose Grip Adhesive that Withstands Heat and Remains Durable In Any Weather
Mountain bike riders ride off-road on bumpy trails which can apply a lot of displacement pressure on the grip. Additionally, you may ride in all weather conditions (rain, snow or sweltering heat). So, the adhesive you choose needs to be able to withstand the elements commonly found outdoors.
Most grip adhesives are water-resistant. But make sure you buy one that’s also graded for hot temperatures as well. Hot weather combined with the heat from the rider’s hand can cause the handlebar grips to become quite warm and malleable. If the adhesive starts to soften due to this direct and indirect heat during a ride, the grips will start to loosen and severely hamper your control of the bike, which could result in a fall and serious injury.
This flex seal clear glue from Amazon is UV Resistant, as well as mildew and water-resistant, and takes 24-48 hours to properly cure.
Tip 2. Choose a Clear Adhesive So It’s Easy to Clean Up Accidental Seepage
Clear glue is the obvious choice if you want to have an almost invisible bond when gluing your grips to the handlebar. The glue is applied to the inside of the grip and the grip is slid onto the handlebars, so a clear glue makes it easier to clean up accidental seepage during installation. This pack of grip glue is clear and requires a minimum of 18 hours to cure before riding.
Tip 3. Choose an Adhesive with a Quick Curing Time To Be Able To Ride On The Same Day
The curing time is how long it takes for the glue to set before you can safely ride your mountain bike. Some grip adhesive products work faster than others, so determine the minimum curing time that is recommended on the packaging before gluing your grips onto the handlebars.
Some products cure and adhere to the bar within 24 hours, but some take less time than that. Choose an adhesive that takes no longer than 5 hours to securely adhere the grips to the handlebars. That way you can install and secure your new grips on the same day as you plan on riding without having to wait 24 hours for the grip glue to cure. This article from Wiley Online Library titled, “Applied Adhesive Bonding: A Practical Guide for Flawless Results” offers some practical tips on handling adhesives.
Because fast curing adhesives, like this quick-grip glue from Amazon, have a shorter curing time you’ll want to position the grips onto the handlebars in the precise location that you intend them to be. Trying to reposition the grips once the adhesive has already started to cure might result in a bond that is weak and won’t last the duration of a strenuous off-road ride.
Tip 4. Choose an Adhesive that Allows Reapplication To Simplify Grip Installation
Grip adhesives have various consistencies and viscosities depending on the particular brand. You should choose a grip glue that has considerable tackiness when applied, this tackiness will be a good indicator of the adhesive’s ability to be reapplied without affecting the strength of the bond. A thicker adhesive will be easier to apply than one that is too runny—generally speaking, you want to choose a grip glue that has the consistency somewhere between gloopey and syrupy. I know, that’s not too scientific, but you get the idea!
Sometimes—even with the best grip glue—your grips can loosen up and you have to glue them again. When doing this, make sure that you carefully remove the previous glue with fine-grit sandpaper and some alcohol-based cleaner so you have a new, smooth surface to glue it to.
Tip 5. Choose a Durable Adhesive
To save yourself from regluing and refixing your grips after every ride, buy a grip adhesive that is durable. This might be the most important thing of all. A durable grip glue like this 3-bond grip glue is particularly important if you live in an area with extreme temperature fluctuations, excessive moisture, or direct sun and heat on the bike. All these environmental factors can cause the glue to degrade and weaken over time.
Both grip glues and contact adhesives are durable, but it really depends on the brand you choose.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, grips can come loose. Be sure to take a look at how to fix a mountain bike grip that has fallen off for tips and tricks to follow when it happens.
Recommended Grip Adhesives
Here are three recommended grip adhesives.
|Product from Amazon||Why Is This a Good Grip Adhesive?||Price|
|Gorilla Clear Glue||Used by many mountain bikers, durable, clear||~$10|
|Three Bond 3-Bond Grip Glue||Ideal for cold and hot weather, high strength||~$15|
|Loctite Heavy Duty Threadlocker||Durable, allows reapplication||~$5|
Alternatives to Using Grip Adhesives
If there isn’t a store near you where you can get grip glue, there are a lot of alternatives which you probably already own. These unconventional adhesive solutions will do the trick when a temporary fix is needed.
Alternatives to mountain bike grip adhesive include hair spray, double-sided tape and isopropyl alcohol.
1. Hair Spray
Believe it or not, but hair spray is an excellent alternative to grip glue. While it is wet, hair spray acts as a great lubricant and will assist in sliding the grips on the handlebars with ease. Spray it on the handlebars, slide the grips on, press them in place, and leave them overnight. The hairspray will become tacky and adhere to the handlebars quite well. From these motorcycling forums, the hair spray lasts ~4 hours.
2. Double-Sided Tape
You can buy double-sided tape in every hardware store and it works like a charm. Wrap the tape around both handlebars, but make sure there are no empty spaces. Use two rolls of tape if needed. When you are done wrapping the handlebars, twist the grips on—you may need to measure the diameter of the taped handlebars and adjust your grip size for the extra bulk of the tape. Our article on choosing a mountain bike grip diameter has tips on how to measure the handlebars for a grip so that you get a snug fit.
3. Isopropyl Alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol is also a good alternative to grip glue. Before using it, make sure that the bars and the inside of the grips are clean, and the surface is smooth and free of any residue. Then spray the bars and the inside of the grips with isopropyl alcohol. The grips will easily slide on. After you install your grips, let them dry overnight so they stay put. As a chemist, I don’t understand how isopropanol helps the grip stick to the handlebar, it should help clean the handlebar though. So perhaps it works by removing dust and old residue on the handlebars so that the natural friction of the grip works effectively.
You might also be interested in learning how to choose a mountain bike grip for sweaty hands. Make sure to take a look at our related article to find out.
Benefits of Using Mountain Bike Grip Adhesive
There are some other alternatives to bike grip glue that you could use, like spray paint, gasoline, or wire to secure your grips to the handlebars—but these may damage your bike and the grips, and should be avoided if possible.
The benefits of using commercially available mountain bike grip adhesive include improving safety while riding, simplifying grip installation, and preventing unnecessary damage to the grip or handlebar compared to DIY methods.
Mountain Bike Grip Adhesives Increase Safety By Enabling a Rider to Control the Bike
The adhesive that is already on your mountain bike grips can start to wear down over time. This leads to your grips slipping which hampers the enjoyment of your ride and can lead to serious injuries. This article from Springer Link goes into great detail about the types and severity of injuries that mountain bike riders often incur if their bikes aren’t adequately maintained and properly fitted with essential parts like grips. With grip glue, you can strengthen the bond on the grips every time you feel they are getting loose and avoid injuries and worries during your ride.
Grip Adhesives Are Simple to Apply and Effectively Prevent Grip Slippage
Another benefit is that you do not have to waste your time and money at a bike service center to get your grips fixed, you can do it at home. Applying grip glue is straightforward and the instructions are usually included on the packaging. If you allow the glue to cure according to the instructions, you should have no problems with slipping grips.
You might also be interested in preventing back soreness while riding. Make sure to take a look at our related article, where to hold mountain bike grips to maintain proper posture, to help maintain back health too.
Commercial Adhesives Are Affordable
Grip glue won’t break the bank. The best mountain bike grip glue costs a couple of dollars. Even with reapplication—for example every 2 to 3 months—one tube will probably last you a whole year if properly sealed. Just be sure to clean the applicator tip so that there is no glue on it that can get dry and prevent the tube from sealing properly.
Commercial Grip Adhesives Don’t Damage The Handlebar or Grip
Most commercially available grip glues or adhesives won’t damage your grips or handlebar. Before reapplying them, clean both the handlebars and grips very well, so you have a smooth surface to reapply the fresh adhesive.
On the other hand, some DIY techniques like using gasoline or spray paint to reduce grip slippage can cause damage to the grip or the handlebar. Gasoline may dissolve the grip material and spray paint may leave a residue or globs of paint that reduce the contact surface between the grip and the handlebar.