How to Tie Wire Your Grips Properly

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

Ever felt your grips moving while you were holding for your life through that technical section? Here we cover how to install and tie wire your grips the proper way.

Plushy grip and wire on Suzuki DR650

Heard about tie wiring or safety wiring?

It's a common practice coming from the aeronautic world and motorsport racing, to hold fasteners tight, or at least not allow them to become too loose. By running a fine wire through a hole in the head and going to a fixed point or another fastener's head you can prevent them from getting loose.


Here, safety wire is used to give grips extra adherence to the handlebar surface by creating a clamp around them (actually several along its length).


Have a closer look, and you'll see that most grips design have several grooves from one end to the other for this very purpose of holding the wire.

Do I need to tie wire my grips?

When riding off-road, you most likely had some occasions when you held tightly on the bar and caused them to spin and deform.

In hot temperatures, all rubber materials will dilate and become softer, so your grips are even more likely to move on the bar in those conditions.

If you drop your bike in sand, mud, or water crossing stream, that could go underneath the grip and cause them to spin making riding really unpleasant.


So if you ride your pig more aggressively off-road than just cruising local forest roads or if you want to be sure they won't move during a long trip, then tie wire your grips!


Look at rally bikes like for Dakar or Africa Eco Race and you'll see they all have their grips tie wired in place to avoid any potential issue!

You do not need any special tool!

Sure, a safety wire plier like that will make the job faster and easier but if you only plan on doing grips once in a while, it's not a must-have at all!


It's quite a pricey tool if you do not use is for many fasteners regularly.


NOTE: What about glue you say?

Well if you want to go over the board, you can also glue them and tie wire them but they won't be removable without damage.


The advantage of a proper install and safety wiring is that your grip can be removed later on by cutting the wire and reinstalled again with no issues.

 

Here is the tutorial to tie wire your grips the right way


Tools and supplies needed

  • Grips, new or already on the bike

  • Stainless steel wire so-called safety wire (about 0.025" diameter works great)

  • Small flat-head screwdriver

  • x2 pliers, flat-nose is best

  • Cutting plier

  • Isopropyl alcohol in a spray

  • Rags/Shop towel


Step 1: Install the new grips


Removing the old grip is a no-brainer, just cut them in the length and pull them apart if you don't plan on reusing them again.


Always clean the handlebar grip area really well with alcohol, remove all residue from previous grip or glue.


The best way to slide in a new grip and still have the option to take them off without damage is to use a spray of alcohol inside the grip. That will help slide them in easily and move them where you want them.

Once the alcohol evaporates, the grip will stick to the bar.


Do not use gasoline, acetone, paint thinner, etc... It does work as well but these solvent are too harsh on the rubber and contribute to an early break down of the compound.


Step 2: Install the wire


Start by looping the wire in the chosen groove as shown below, in order to have 2 loops and the ends pointing toward the ground.

Then grab each end with each plier and pull the slack off before doing a twist or two close to the grip.

To do that the easiest is to start with your arms crossed, a plier in each hand before grabbing the ends. That will make it easier to do the first twist to lock it in.


Choose the location for twisting the wire about underneath the grip or in the bottom rear quarter of the grip. Even though in the end nothing will stick out to poke your hand, it's just good to practice to do so "just in case".

Second loop going down with the ends
First loop from the bottom up

Step 3: Tighten the wire

Doing the first twists with one plier

From now on, you will work with a single plier.


This is where the correct technique makes all the difference!


Tie wiring grips could be a frustrating experience if you simply twist and twist the wire to get them tight because it will inevitably break and forces you to redo it more than necessary!



The secret here is to really pull on the wires first and then twist to absorb the slack you just created, that's all!


To confirm that, you should see that you are making more twists going toward the grip and not just tightening the existing ones. Also, remember to move your plier closer to the grip as you progress.


Doing this 2/3 times per wire loop, you will see the wire sinking in the grip showing an effective compression that creates the friction we want.


Step 4: Finish the wire

Pushing the end into the grip

Once you have reached a good tightness, grab your cutting plier and cut the excess leaving about a 1/4" of twists.


Then simply use the small screwdriver to bend and push it in deeply in the groove beside the wire.


Some people advocate to make a 90 bend and poke the wire ends into the grip to avoid any poking issue but we found it is not necessary if they are already are in a groove.


If you tie wire a smooth surface grip on the other end, you would definitely do this for hand's safety.


Repeat this process for each groove on your grip. The ends are usually the most prone to moving but doing all grooves available is the best way to do it.

The excellent Pro Grip 714 Rally pictured here has 5 grooves allowing them to be really secured in place.


You are now ready to ride your bushpig through that gnarly section with the comfort of knowing your pig won't move or that you can wrestle the bike out of that stream and still ride without any grip movement!


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