Introduction: Wooden Bicycle Handlebar Grips.

Picture of Wooden Bicycle Handlebar Grips.


Have you ever thought of having wooden handlebar grips ?

I thought about it a lot; I didn't think that it would be possible but I tried and was amazed by the results.

So comfortable and tactile and very beautiful.

I used these grips on my 1930's path racer project; Please feel free to check it out.

Step 1: Step 1. the Tools and the Materials.

Picture of Step 1. the Tools and the Materials.


The wood that I used was an old curtain pole that had been in my neighbour's garden for about two years; it was rotten at the ends but that was no problem as I only needed about 8" of it. ( I chose it because it was just a little bit wider diameter than my handlebars; I also looked through my firewood but nothing was uniform enough.)

I used UHU contact glue. (Update: I used Two Part epoxy resin glue because I wanted to be sure of the grip).


The tools that you need are a drill and a 22mm spade bit.

(A drill press would be good and a lathe would be untold but I have neither of these.)

I also used a file,  a rasp and some sandpaper.

Step 2: Step 2- Drilling and Filing.

Picture of Step 2- Drilling and Filing.

I held the wood in a vice and drilled; It was too rotten but I sawed the end off and started again.

i tried to keep it straight but the first two attempts split because I drilled off-centre and came through the side  . . . without a pillar drill it seemed impossible but third time lucky, it worked.

The fourth was off-centre but the fifth was another success.

I left about a 1/4" undrilled.

I think that it is a matter of luck but it worked.

They were too tight for my tester bars so I filed and rasped them out so that they could slide on and off the tester bars without too much fuss; I did not want to risk splitting them.; loose is OK because I want to use glue to secure them.

I gave them a quick sanding and slid them on my real handle bars..

Step 3: Step 3- Glueing Them On.

Picture of Step 3- Glueing Them On.

I simply used a contact adhesive.

This is an important step.( I made sure that these were really stuck fast before riding; I also check them periodically).

UPDATE- I decided to upgrade to  two-part epoxy resin glue just to be on the safe side.

Step 4: The Finish.

Picture of The Finish.

At first I used some furniture polish but it seemed to be absorbed too much and they still felt very dry and I was still worried about them cracking or being affected by the weather; the walls are only about 2mm thick.

I used a clear stain ; I checked to see if it had any nasties in it because I would be gripping it a lot but it was mainly linseed oil and tung oil with some varnish

After much riding I can report that these might just be the most comfortable grips that I have ever used.

Happy Riding.


tjacobs5 (author)2015-05-03

Very nice idea, i would love more wood details on a bike!

FriendOfHumanity (author)2012-10-11


I just found out a few minutes ago that I've won a prize for this Instructable so thank you to anyone who voted; I'm smiling my face off.

IamWe (author)FriendOfHumanity2012-10-12

Good idea and a great bicycle. Congratulations with your prize for this Instructable.

AmosLightnin (author)2012-09-11

Awesome idea! I wonder if bamboo would work well too? It would be a lot easier, since it comes already hollowed out. But it might be too slick.

Hello lighnin9,

That's an interesting idea.
I suppose that you could roughen them up a bit with sandpaper or even carve crosshatches into them. . . . . . .

......uhmm, such an interesting idea, in fact, that I just opened another window and typed in

'crosshatch bamboo'= nothing,

then 'bamboo grips'=

 Go for it !

I Would advise not to use bamboo (i've worked in the wooden flooring business).
Except if you are planning to never use it in the rain and keep it in a very dry place.
Bamboo get's mildew very quickly and it's not possible to sand it away because it really penetrates the bamboo.
If you want to make bamboo handles anyway I advise you to first let it dry for a good time because otherwise it will just crack and afterwards finish it.
Meanwhile you can admire my hand sewn leather grips. :)

Katusha (author)2012-09-19

These are beautiful!

FriendOfHumanity (author)Katusha2012-09-20

Dear Katusha,

Thank you for your complimentary reply.

Wood Is good.

Kind regards


keremulu (author)2012-09-19

That truly is a beautiful bicycle. I'm very fond of the dropped North Road style handlebars. Looks great.

Dear Keremulu,

Thank you for your comments.

The bike is relatively modern, but it is my attempt to recreate a 1930's style path racer.

North road bars are fun to ride.

Kind regards 


afleming2 (author)2012-09-11

Instead of gluing the grips on you could try to split them and use lock-on grip clamps.


Sounds good; I even thought about how to do that but couldn't figure out how to : Also, I didn't want to split them.

Can Lock-on clamps be bought or do you have to make them?

ohthatshowitworks (author)2012-09-14

Folloing that Cool handle bar grip Instructable, I feel the need to post my Cork handle bar grips.
I'll just have to make another pair. [ oh the pain ;) ]

Any one interested?

paganwonder (author)2012-09-10

I applaud your willingness to build without the right tools (lathe, drill press)...I have "tooled up" over the years but I often feel my creativity has suffered for it. It is often the road less traveled that brings us to the finest realizations. Thank you for sharing.

Dear Paganwonder,

Thank you.

Yes you could be right ; I've never thought about creativity pertaining to a lack of tools but I know that being too mean to buy any materials certainly makes me scratch my head a lot.

if you do have a lathe though, you could certainly make some very nice grips.

FriendOfHumanity (author)2012-09-10

Hello Mga12,

When using the contact glue It was just a matter of moving the brake levers inwards to get them out of the way and then gently tapping the grips off with a mallet.

Now that I have used Epoxy resin it will be much harder I assume; it could be that the shock from a hard tap would free the epoxy from the shiny alloy bars but I am just guessing.

(I upgraded to epoxy because I worried about the grips coming off when using contact glue only)

I did not foresee any reason to change my brake levers (it's not a component that usually fails or wears out)   so I wasn't really thinking that it would be a problem; but I am willing to accept that the grips may have to be destroyed to be removed. . .  in which case I'll get another old curtain rail.

Thanks for the comments.

l8nite (author)2012-09-09

that really is a great look, thank you for sharing the idea and project

FriendOfHumanity (author)l8nite2012-09-10

Dear I8nite,
Thank you, it's a pleasure.

onrust (author)2012-09-08

A very nice look to the bike. Well done.

FriendOfHumanity (author)onrust2012-09-08

Thank you Mr. Onrust

About This Instructable




More by FriendOfHumanity:Giant Light Up Marquee LettersAnti-theft Sandwiches Bag Mould Bag and Soya Milk Hidden Safe.Vintage Webley Senior Airgun Stripdown.
Add instructable to: