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Make your own foam grips for drop handlebars

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Step 4: Install and use

Picture of Install and use
Remove the old bar tape and the end caps from the handlebars. They should pull out with your fingernails. Remove the brake/shifter combination from each side of the handlebars.

My brake/shifters are made by Shimano. To loosen and remove, peel back the forward edge of the rubber covering on the outer side about midway between top and bottom of the rubber. You will see a bolt head for a hex key wrench at an angle outward. Loosen it until you can slide the brake/shifter off of the end of the handlebar.

Clean the bits of old adhesive from the handlebars. Gently twist each piece of noodle into position on the handlebars. It is possible to be too aggressive and get a linear rip in the material. Saw it to its approximate length with a sharp knife. Slide the brake/shifters into place after the upper portions of noodle are in place and are cut to size. Eyeball their position so both are at the same height on the handlebars.

I did not try to feed the brake cables through the inside of the noodle sections, but taped them on the outside of the foam grips. I tried to place them so they would be under the bends in my fingers. I had bought some colored tape at Radio Shack for some project a long time back. The roll of orange tape came in handy here.

I taped each end of each grip. The end caps were loose, so I wrapped about two turns of vinyl electrical tape around them and pushed them into the ends of the handlebars.

I tried the new foam grips out on a 28 mile ride. They hold up well and are very comfortable. My hands did not even begin to numb.
 
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I am impressed by your ingenuity, but if you want, you may also buy foam handlebar slips commercially made, for $7
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_info.php?products_id=1889
. It comes in 4 pieces (cut to fit), with bar end plugs. This is generally an item made for replacements on 1970's style road bikes, but works fine on STI equipped bikes.

It will be interesting to see how durable your pads are, and how much drag they create. I expect they will be very long lasting but somewhat rough, and may cause noticeable drag at higher speeds. Perhaps you have hit on something though if they are really comfortable.

There are lots of designer "ergonomic" sets out there that have pads which are adhered to the bars wtih double sided tape, then wrapped with conventional synthetic tape. Best of luck. If your hands or wrists are numb, it is possible your bike and tire combo does not dampen vibration enough, or that the bars are too far/low. For vibration, you might like "gel" handlebar tape.
Phil B (author)  Yard Sale Dale2 years ago
Thank you for your comment. My bike came with the gel tape, but I never really liked it. I had used commercially made foam grips on another bike with drop bars and still like them on that bike. I tried a set of foam grips on this bike, but they began to tear apart while I was putting them on. They were just a lot thinner and weaker than the others I had put on some years ago. Also, our nearest bike shop is now 30 minutes away, so I wanted to try a solution I could manage nearer to home. The grips shown here were pretty good for about a season. Then they had crushed down. They still worked, but not nearly as well. My bike has a carbon fork and carbon seat post, but an aluminum frame, so it transmits some vibration. I am not such a fast rider that I will ever need to worry about air resistance from something on my bars.
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