Replacing your OEM grips with some aftermarket grips is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to not only improve riding comfort, but to also give your bike a little pop of customization. The stock grips on the 2019 Kawasaki Z400 in our stable just weren’t cutting it, so it was time to replace them with some Pro Grip Gel Grips.
Even though we’re installing these Pro Grip Gel Grips on a 2019 Kawasaki Z400, the process is pretty much the same on most metric sport and naked bikes with open or closed end grips made within the last twenty or thirty years (because seemingly modern’ish bikes from the 90’s and early 2000’s are now vintage motorcycles).
Installation on these couldn’t be easier. You don’t need any specialty tools, but there are some tricks and tips to make the installation absolutely painless. Here’s what you’ll need for the installation:
- Wrench or screwdriver to remove bar end weights or bar end mirrors if you have open-end grips.
- Knife to cut and remove the old grips.
- Soapy water or grip glue to help slide on the new grips.
- (Optional) Air compressor to make sliding on the new grips ridiculously easy.
First step is to get the bar end weights or mirrors out of the way in order to have an unobstructed path for the new grips. Use the appropriate wrench, driver, or whatever tool is necessary to remove your bar end weights or mirrors. Removal will vary by motorcycle, but in the case of the Z400 the bar end weights are bolted into threads in the handlebars. The torque spec on the bolts is very high, and there is some strong thread sealant in there as well. It took a breaker bar with hex bits (and socket reducer/adapters) and a surprising amount of effort to crack the bolts loose.
Once the bar ends are out of the way, it’s time to remove the old grips. OEM grips are typically glued on from the factory. Grab a knife and carefully cut through the grip material. A few smooth shallow slices should do it. Be careful, and don’t apply a ton of pressure on the throttle side. If you cut too deep or push too hard you could gouge into the throttle tube. While a few light scratches from the tip of the knife won’t hurt anything, you don’t want to cut deeply into the throttle tube and cause damage. Once the old grip is all sliced up, it’ll peel off like a banana.
Toss the old grips in the trash, and get ready to put on the new ones. All you have to do here is slide them on. One important note: make sure you put each grip on the correct side. The throttle side will have the larger hole, to accommodate the throttle tube. You can use grip glue for the final installation, but I prefer to just use soapy water. The material Pro Grip uses is tackier than 70’s wallpaper, and has never once slid on me in the years I’ve been using them. Soapy water works great as an installation lubricant since it can just be wiped down and will dry up after you’re done, so there will be no slippery residue or anything like that left behind. Apply some soapy water to the inside of the grip, and gently slide it over the bar. It may take a few additional applications of water as it dries and runs off. If you have an air compressor, the job can be made even easier by inserting the nozzle into the grip and blowing air into it. It’ll create a wave of air for the grip to surf on and it’ll glide right into place.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Now you have fresh new grips. Time to go for a ride and bask in all their comfortable glory.
How to install new motorcycle grips
- Remove any bar end weights or mirrors from your handlebars.
- Cut the old grips with a knife and remove them.
- Slide the new grips onto the handlebars.
- Use soapy water or grip glue to help slide on the new grip.
- Use an air compressor to blow air into the grip to make it even easier.