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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

Cabot Woodcare Contest

Second Prize in the
Cabot Woodcare Contest



    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest
    • Weaving Challenge

      Weaving Challenge
    • Pie Contest

      Pie Contest

    20 Discussions


    3 years ago on Step 4

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


    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.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies

    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'= http://www.google.co.uk/products/catalog?client=safari&rls=en&q=bamboo+grips&oe=UTF-8&redir_esc=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=12604614674084532010&sa=X&ei=4C1QUJXjBuST0QW08IHYCw&ved=0CCkQ8wIwAQ#ps-sellers

     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. :)



    6 years ago on Introduction

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

    1 reply

    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 



    6 years ago on Step 3

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

    1 reply


    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?

    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?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    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.

    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.