While building up my single speed bike, one thing that I was missing was new grips for my handlebar. Although I could have ordered some, there’s not really a local bike shop that is close to me. Instead, I decided to cut down some blank pieces of wood and make my own.
I had blanks left over from some of my lathe projects, and chose two dried out pieces of wood cut from my back yard that were approximately 1 3/4 inch at their largest egg shaped “diameter.” I then cut both down using my lathe to 1 1/2 inches, leaving some bark, but making the grips mostly round. They were then sanded to make it smooth.
My handlebar was about 7/8 inch in diameter, so using a 7/8 inch paddle bit and the the jig featured here. I had to drill most of the way through on one side, then drill all the way through on the other. After this, one side was pounded onto the handlebar with a mallet. The same was done to the other side, but a piece of rubber had to be inserted to lock everything down correctly. I think there was some misalignment on the first grip that made it very tight without anything else.
During the rather violent installation, one of the grips cracked slightly. Hopefully it will hold together for a while.
As for the actual performance, I was able to ride this bike around my neighboorhood for maybe 3 miles without any issues. I wasn’t wearing gloves, but my hands were somewhat sore after using these grips. Although they feel smooth with a subtle “give” to them, they are definitely harder than rubber. I’ll keep using them for the time being, but will probably replace them with a mass-manufactured grip before too long. Be sure to check out my first post on stripping down the original bike into this leaner, simpler configuration.