Grips, pedals, saddles – easy contact point upgrades for cyclists

There are several easy things you can change on your bike to give you a new lease of riding life. Contact points particularly wear quickly and upgrading can really improve your ride quality. A holiday period such as Christmas is a great time to make any alterations and cope with break in periods. Many of these components are also great presents!

Here we take you through how to change these components and alterations you may need to make.

Grips

Replace your handlebar grips for aesthetic purposes or due to wear and tear. You may wish to occasionally replace your handlebar grips for aesthetic purposes or due to wear and tear. Another possible reason for completing this repair is if your grips are sliding off too easily. You’ll need a new pair of handlebar grips, WD-40 to loosen the grips, Allen key, flat screwdriver and hairspray. The hairspray acts as glue to stop the grips from sliding off.

Removing grips

If your bike has bar plugs then remove these first. Loosen the brake and shift levers using your Allen key and slide them away from the grips.

If the grip is really stuck on the bike then try sliding a flat screwdriver into the grip to loosen it. As it is easy to scratch the handlebars with a screwdriver it is best to use other thin, blunter objects if they are available.

With the grip loosened you should easily be able to twist and pull them off. Before installing new grips make sure you give the bar a wipe. Also if you are replacing the originals and have sprayed WD-40 into them then give them some time to dry out.

New grips typically don’t tend to need glue (Brompton foam grips are an exception to this), but if the instructions say to use some, make sure it is an epoxy type glue rather than a brittle one like superglue.

If not glue is required, spray some hairspray into them to act as a lube to make them easier to slide on. Spray a small amount inside the grip. Do not spray hairspray directly onto the handlebar. Then quickly slide the grip back onto the bike and leave it to dry. Finally retighten your brake and gear shifter into their original position and replace bar plugs. If the grips are clamp on, tighten the bolts.

Hairspray helps!

A full guide to installing new bar tape on drop bars can be found here.

Bar tape

Removing and Replacing Pedals

Maybe your got new pedals for Christmas? If you have been thinking about trying out spd or other clipless pedals, the holiday period is a great time to practice. Let’s go through the steps to change the stock pedals your bike came with to something lighter or more specialised.

SPD pedal

This is one of the easiest replacements you can do. You may also want to do it to install new pedals or re-grease the existing ones if they seem noisy. You’ll need grease and a pedal spanner.

Attach the spanner or pedal wrench facing down on the pedals and turn counter clockwise for the right pedal and clockwise for the left. This is because the left pedal has a reverse thread to prevent it coming off during pedalling.

Removing pedal

Before attaching new pedals first clean them to remove any dirt and then apply a thin coat of grease to the threads. This will make them easy to remove in future and ensure they don’t creak. Also check that you are installing them correctly as left and right pedals differ. This should be marked on the pedal.

Tighten the right pedal by turning the wrench clockwise. Tighten the left pedal by turning the wrench counter clockwise. You want to make sure the pedals are very tightly screwed on, as there is a lot of pressure on them during pedalling.

With clipless pedals you will also need to adjust the position and angle of the cleat on your shoe, and they tension in the pedal. For cleats, you want to have the ball of your foot on the pedal and not have your heel drop below the level of the pedal. With the tension, you need to have your foot held in the pedal but not too tight that it is hard to unclip. You probably will start out with looser tension when you are learning.

Saddles

A new saddle can bring a new lease of life to your riding. They are very easy to attach to the bike, but often take quite a bit of adjustment to get in the right place.

To remove the old saddle, undo the allen key bolts on the clam. There may be one or two, depending on the level of adjustment you have on your seat post. Before removing, it is worth measuring the length of rails compared to the new saddle. There are often guide markers on the rails to make life easier. This will ensure that you start off with the new saddle in roughly the right place.

Seat anatomy

When bolting in the new saddle, grease the screws a little to make sure that you can easily adjust the saddle position. With the new saddle, make sure that you start off with the top surface level. It may be that you alter this platform angle a little, but ideally it should be flat.

For your first few rides, carry an allen key around for on the spot alterations. If the new saddle is not immediately comfortable, do not despair! Many saddles need some break in (particularly leather ones such as Brooks), and often your rear end might need a little breaking in to it as well! Christmas is a great time to break in a new saddle as you can go on short leisure rides and take a break after each one.

What are your handy tips and tricks for changing contact point accessories? Do you have any suggestions for good upgrades? Let us know!

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8 Responses to Grips, pedals, saddles – easy contact point upgrades for cyclists

  1. MJ Ray 18/12/2015 at 9:07 am #

    If you have been thinking about trying out spd or other clipless pedals, the holiday period is a great time to avoidably sit in a hospital casualty area for a few hours without missing work?

    • Dave 18/12/2015 at 10:20 am #

      If your new to clipless pedals for the first I suggest you use multi release cleats, on the loosest setting on the pedals, to get used to getting your foot out of the pedals.

    • Alehouse Rock 19/12/2015 at 6:01 pm #

      [[[[[[ Yes…..and another good way to land in hospital (or worse) is to go cycling on the roads among the increased number of drunken drivers at Christmas…probably twice as many as usual, I believe.

  2. Vincent 18/12/2015 at 11:05 am #

    But then, does riding in the city really require clipless pedals?

    Those people don’t look like they’re racing to work:
    http://images.smh.com.au/2012/09/06/3613178/MOR-amsterdam-one-20120906113159772058-620×349.jpg

    • Bozidar Spirovski 19/12/2015 at 1:00 pm #

      Steer away from clipless on city bikes – you need to lug walking shoes in your bag and wintertime is even more funky – imagine the style choice of wearing suit pants and coat, with clipless pedals and overshoe cover on your legs.
      There are no speed or efficiency requirements in city riding – just go platform pedals

  3. Bozidar Spirovski 19/12/2015 at 12:56 pm #

    Replacing the grips or bar tape is also a good visual upgrade on the cheap. A nice bar tape will liven up the entire bike. Just make sure you choose good quality tape or grips, and have an experienced person put them on.
    For saddle, a proper saddle is crucial for comfort and good riding. It also takes time to find the saddle that best suits your posterior, and even more time to adjust it to ideal positions. I would steer away from changing the saddle on a whim.
    Pedals, for city bikes walk away from clipless – too much hassle and adjustment without any benefits in city riding. For longer rides, go clipless and go with proper adjustment and fit (cleat position and angle, pedal clip stiffness etc.).

  4. John Elliss 22/12/2015 at 5:46 am #

    This is all important tips which are every cyclist keep in mind. This blog gives focus on how to remove and fit pedals and other important think for cyclist. This blog helps to do it your self.

  5. Dave 28/12/2015 at 6:41 pm #

    I have clipless on all my bikes with good quality dress and cycling shoes

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